In this blog we will explain to you how you can fall asleep better and faster, the consequences of not sleeping enough, we will also explain to you what sleeping is and what it does to your mind and body in the hope that after reading this blog you will have a structurally better night's sleep.
More than 2 million people in the Netherlands suffer from a sleeping problem. People often don't get into their sleep and when they finally fall asleep, they often don't get enough sleep. In this blog I will explain to you how you can fall asleep better and faster, the consequences of not sleeping enough, I will also explain what sleeping is and what it does to your mind and body. I am convinced that after reading this blog you will have a structurally better night's sleep or else you will have more knowledge about the wonderful world of dreams.
What is sleep?
Sleeping is contrary to what many people think, not the resting and charging of the brain. It is almost the opposite of resting for your brain. During your sleep, your brain can process all sorts of things that happened in the time before you went to sleep, and it also regulates how the body continues to work. During your sleep, your muscles can relax, grow and heal again after the effort they have put in. During sleep, your eyes are generally closed and you are less sensitive to stimulus . The fact that your consciousness has diminished does not mean that you are completely unconscious as the brain contains a survival mechanism. During sleep, for example, you will wake up when your alarm goes off. The survival mechanism in the brain receives a stimulus when there is a loud sound, so that the body and the brain are immediately activated to take action. It also often happens that you wake up just before your alarm clock. This is because your brain finds the alarm clock so unpleasant that your biological clock starts to produce cholesterol so that you wake up to the alarm clock by yourself and no longer wake up to the sound of your alarm clock. 
We've had this survival instinct in the brain for thousands of years. When you sleep in a place where you don't normally sleep every day and that this place does not feel like it is your own, this survival instinct in the brain also occurs. If you sleep in a hotel room, for example, you may feel that you don't sleep as well as you do at home, you often wake up a few times during your sleep and you don't feel rested when you wake up. This is because your brain is developed in such a way that when you sleep in an unknown or unfamiliar environment, your brain won't be in the same state as that they would be in your home. One of the two brain halfs will be more active than usual. Because the brain doesn't know its surroundings, it sees it as a dangerous area where you have to be able to react immediately if something happens. Because one half of the brain then activates its monitoring system, this brain half will be very active while sleeping and when you wake up it can feel as if you are tired and not as rested as you normally are in your own bed.
The brain has known this monitoring system since prehistoric times. In those days, people travelled a lot through forests and did not sleep in a fixed place. In the night it had to be ensured that no one could be attacked by wild animals. To this end, a monitoring system in the brain has been created by means of evolution. This is one of the many functions that our brain performs during the time we sleep.
Phases of sleep
Sleeping consists of a cycle that is completely repeated every time you go to sleep. This cycle consists of four different phases. These phases are the slumber phase, light sleep, deep sleep and dream sleep.  Every night these four phases are performed constructively. An average person has 4 to 5 sleep cycles per night and a sleep cycle lasts approximately 90 to 120 minutes.  The sleep cycle is also divided into Non-REM and REM sleep. The slumber phase, light sleep, deep sleep fall under the Non-Rem and dream sleep falls under the REM sleep. REM sleep is often associated with very vivid dreams due to increased brain activity. 
The first phase of the sleep cycle is the slumber phase. During this phase there is a transition period from waking up to falling asleep. During this period, a dream can suddenly arise. You slowly fade away and fall asleep quietly, but you are still aware of your surroundings and you can easily wake up again. All this takes 1 to 4 minutes.
After the slumber phase, the brain will make sure that the body temperature starts to drop and the heartbeat will also calm down. You are now in light sleep. In this phase you begin to fall asleep. Light sleep is the longest phase of the cycle and lasts about 50 minutes. Do you ever wake up and feel like you haven't slept at all? Then this is the phase that you wake up during your sleep cycle.
Now sleep is really starting to work. You have arrived at the deep sleep. Your heart rate and body temperature drop to their lowest point. In this phase your muscles recover from the effort they have made. In this phase it is difficult to wake up and when you wake up you will be a bit disoriented. People who do sleepwalking do this during this phase. Deep sleep will last around 20 minutes.
Dream sleep, also called REM sleep, is the last phase of the cycle. At the moment your eyes are moving a lot, your brain is doing activities that cost energy and your muscles are relaxed. You are dreaming right now. You are dreaming to process the experiences you have gained. This is crucial because your brain can't continue to store and develop new experiences and thoughts if you can't process the experiences you've had before. Rem Sleep lasts about 20 minutes and owes its name to the fast movements the eye makes when the eyelids are closed. REM stands for Rapid Eye Movement.
If you have gone through all these phases, you will often wake up unconsciously for a short time and then the whole sleep cycle will repeat itself again.
Are dreams actually a deception or do they really mean something? Dreams try to process something that has happened in the past. Everything that happens in your dreams has happened in the past. You already know the faces, objects and places because you have seen them once in the "real" world and the story is already known. Yet it is often the case that the combination of stories you have seen on the news and the characters you know yourself creates a fairly special experience that your brain creates for you as a dream. Sleeping well and ending up in the REM sleep is important so that not only your muscles recover, but also the brain can process what has happened and thus start to process new experiences.
Alcohol and drugs
There is a good chance that you have experienced that you sleep differently after a night of going out, drinking alcohol or taking drugs such as marijuana. The effects of this may vary from person to person and you may wake up in the middle of the night because you can't complete the sleep cycle.
You can't complete the sleep cycle because marijuana and alcohol cause the REM sleep to be blocked. You can't get into the dream phase and often wake up shortly after each sleep cycle because you can't complete the cycle. If in a short period of time, such as a month, you have taken more alcohol and/or drugs than you normally do, this can indeed seriously disturb your night's sleep. If you decide to stop taking drugs or alcohol now, this can lead that the next nights without the use of alcohol and drugs will often be full of intense dreams that can last a long time. This is because your brain stores all the information it normally wants to process during REM sleep. As soon as your brain is given the time and space to start processing it, this may be very intense, but at the same time you will often sleep very unpleasantly for a short period, after which everything will be all right again.
If you take a lot of alcohol and/or drugs for a long time, worse and more serious things can happen in the brain. The body can suffer from Delirium Tremens.  This is a phenomenon that occurs because the brain has stopped too long to get into dream sleep. With Delirium Tremens, dreams come when you are awake instead of when you are asleep. This can possibly lead to a memory disorder, consciousness disorder, aggression and even to illusions and hallucinations that can frighten you.
In 1959 science, charity and publicity came together in a special stunt by radio DJ Peter Tripp. During the experiment the goal was to stay awake for 200 hours. 
He sat down in a glass box where everyone could look inside and scientists and doctors could keep a close eye on him. The whole world could listen in and to stay awake he was going to make a radio broadcast during the 200 hours.
Amazingly, Tripp was able to do most of his show pretty well. After having been awake for about a hundred hours, Tripp was no longer able to solve simple arithmetic problems and to mention the alphabet. After 120 hours he started to hallucinate. He walked into a nearby hotel room to shower and change clothes, and when he opened a drawers in the closet for his clothes, he saw flames shooting out of the open drawer. At first he thought that the scientists had set the fire, in an attempt to fool him or stop him from doing the experiment. Then he began to believe that the scientists were in a conspiracy against him and wanted to make him confess for a crime he did not commit. When a scientist came to calm him down, Tripp believed the man was an undertaker who came to bury him, and Tripp ran away from the hotel.
During long periods of sleep deprivation, the brain begins to enter the REM phase while the person is still awake. During the REM cycles you then start dreaming while you are still conscious. Tripp is the perfect example. Over time, the confusion caused by sleep deprivation took over his mind. He started staring at a clock in the belief that he could see a friend's face in it. Tripp stayed awake for 200 hours after which the experiment was successful. It only makes you wonder if you want to live in your own dreams.
Consequences of insufficient sleep
An adult person is advised to sleep an average of 7/8 hours per night. It may sound harmless if you sleep a little less, but it can have serious consequences. For a man, 5/6 hours of sleep in an evening means that you produce as much testosterone that day as you would when you were 10 years older. This leads to less muscle building, less hair growth and a lower sex drive. Now you may think that you need less sleep than all other people and this can be true since there does exist a gene that some people have that they have to sleep less, but less than 0.5% of the Dutch population contains the gene that ensures that they only need 5 hours of sleep per night, so the chance that you will have this gene is very small.
Sleeping well is very important and not sleeping well enough can lead to disastrous consequences. For example, you may suffer from heart disease, heart failure and diabetes. Depression and a lower Libido are also common problems of sleep deprivation.  Unfortunately, there are many more risks associated with insufficient sleep, according to research that there is a possible connection between sleep deprivation and cancer of the coma, prostate and breasts. 
How can you sleep better?
We want to prevent all the consequences of not sleeping enough and not dreaming, To make sure we can prevent this we have the best tips for you to make sure that you will sleep (even) better in the future than you have ever done before.
There are a lot of tricks to make sure that you produce more melatonin (sleep hormone). You can always use these tips to make sure you get a better night's sleep. I myself also use a supplement or CBD oil every now and then, later on I will explain you what I use and make sure that you know what it does to me and possibly you.
Regularity in your sleeping pattern is the most important thing. Try to go to bed daily at the same time and wake up at the same time. You will notice that after a while your body produces melatonin itself at the right times so that you fall asleep at the desired moment and that you are also awakened by your biological clock.
Before going to bed, meditation can be very pleasant in order to be able to fall asleep more quickly. This often only has to take 10 minutes and it can make a real difference during your night's sleep. While meditating you try to let your thoughts go quietly to make sure that your mind comes to rest.
Supplements may also help to get to sleep. The right combination may cause your biological clock to adjust or more sleep hormone to be produced. By using plant ingredients that are known to promote sleep, you can easily influence your sleep.
Screens is also an evildoer. The screen of your computer, telephone and television contain the so-called blue light. After much research it is now known that blue light affects our biological clock, and therefore can disturb sleep.  If you make sure that you don't get any more blue light before going to sleep, this can improve your sleep. Most new phones now have a night mode for this. For laptop or desktop you can use applications such as F.lux.
Sporting ensures that you create extra dopamine. This makes you sleep badly and it is therefore advisable to perform your last sporting activity at least 2 hours before you go to sleep. Going to the toilet in the dark is also recommended so that your brain continues to make melatonin and your eyes are not manipulated by bright light.
Well blinded curtains are very important. This is because the brain can see when it's light and then think it's day so there's no melatonin production. You could also install a special lamp in the bedroom to ensure that your biological clock is manipulated as little as possible by the lamps in your home. For example, Philips has its own lamp system that allows you to install all the lamps in your home after a certain period of time to give off a special colour of light that will make you tired automatically.
Many smartphones have a "night switch" function that ensures that the blue light is filtered out of your screen. This function is nicely built in but it is not very useful because you are still looking at a light source that is often brighter than your surroundings. It is therefore advisable to stop using your smartphone at least 2 hours before going to bed.
Joe Rogan spoke to sleep specialist Matthew Walker in his podcast:
Supplements for sleeping
While optimizing to get to sleep faster myself and improve the quality of my sleep, I benefited from the following products. New Mood from Onnit, epsom salts, melatonin spray and CBD oil of which CBD oil from all the products I have tried is my favorite.
New mood is a supplement from Onnit which is designed to make you relax and feel chilled. This supplement contains several four herbs that are characteristic for a relaxed feeling. Because this supplement allows you to relax, you can take this as a support for your sleep. Take it an hour before you go to sleep and immediately notice that you get very relaxed and a little tired so you can go to sleep.
Click here for New Mood
A bath with epsom salt allows your muscles to relax, so that you can also relax and have a better night's sleep. Epsom salt consists of magnesium and is a very important mineral. Before you go to sleep, a bath is always good so that the muscles can relax because of the warm water and if there is also epsom in it, this will give you an even more pleasant feeling to relax and then go to sleep.
Click here for high quality Epsom Salt
Melatonin spray is a spray that contains a liquid containing melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that makes you sleepy when it's dark. Normally, melatonin is made by the pineal gland in the brain when it becomes to dusk and gets dark.  If you suffer from falling asleep, this is a good way to make you sleepy by taking an extra dose of a hormone that you can make yourself. Melatonin is also known among people who travel a lot and suffer from jet lag. During jet lag, the biological clock is changed and one can experience that melatonin is produced at the wrong time. By taking melatonin yourself, the biological clock is helped to adjust itself and you can therefore suffer less from jet lag.
Cannabidiol is also known as CBD oil. CBD is a concentrated liquid from the marijuana plant. This product is quite new and there is still little research into the benefits done but the internet is full of positive experiences of users and also I am one of the many enthusiastic users. One of the applications is therefore the use before bed. . The CBD can be absorbed into your body quickly because large parts of this atomic chain are produced by the human body itself. For this reason your body can absorb the CBD oil very quickly and break it down safely without further complications. In the body there is another sleep hormone next to melatonin which causes sleep called endocannabinoids. The CBD ensures that this is supplemented so that you can fall asleep more easily, sleep longer and improve the quality of your sleep. 15] CBD oil is highly recommended to try because it has many advantages and is easy to use.
Click here for CBD oil
What are your experiences with sleep-hacking and what do you do to make sure you get a good night's sleep? Share them in the comments below!
Want to know even more? Watch this powerful TED by Matt Walker