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Sleep and You

Too much, too little, too light, too deep, there are too many to mention when it comes to sleep. So much relies on us getting just the right amount of sleep and the right type of sleep, that I almost lose sleep over how I sleep.

What is sleep?

Sleep is a complex, variable state, that provides our bodies a necessary way to restore and recuperate itself. Cycles dominate the process and although it normally happens at night, it can happen at any time. The key is the two different types of sleep; REM and non-REM sleep. REM stands for Rapid eye Movement and of course the other is Non – Rapid eye movement.

Both have dreams but the non-REM dreams have brief, fragmentary impressions and aren't as likely to be remembered. It would be compared to thinking about something briefly and cursorily as opposed to spending time and really dwelling on a theme or thought. Non-REM last from 4 to 6 hours, REM last only about two hours a night. The body needs both types of sleep.

The cycles are divided into stages of sleep and are as follows:

Stage one

We go through Alpha and Theta brain waves when we prepare to drift off. A very restful place that lasts on average of 5-10 minutes. This is the average time it takes for most people to fall asleep.

Stage two

This stage lasts on average 20 minutes. We begin to have rapid, rhythmic brain waves known as Sleep Spindles. Your body temperature drops and heart rate slows down.

Stage three

Delta Waves dominate this phase which is the transition period between light sleep and very deep sleep.

Stage four

Here we have a very deep sleep that last for about 30 minutes. This is often referred to as the Delta phase

Stage five: rem

REM sleep is where we dream and have heightened eye movement, increased respiration and increased brain activity. Your muscles relax more and often the involuntary muscles become paralyzed.

Throughout the night we go through these stages several times. Usually each stage of REM sleep increases in length. It is going through all of these stages that we heal and stay healthy.

When we don't get enough sleep we become more irritable, less creative, less effective, make more mistakes, feel tired, and will ultimately die. As to how much we need, that differs between people. The rule of thumb is generally, if when we have no daytime sleepiness or dysfunction we are getting enough sleep. The average adult needs between 7-9 hours of sleep. Children, teens, and older people generally need more because their bodies are going through much more changes and healing.

What happens to our brain and bodies when we sleep? One of the things that occurs is that our memories are consolidated. Short-term memory is converted into long-term memory and overall "network reorganization".  Not only does the brain reorganize it needs to send out the trash. This process needs calcium, so make sure you are getting enough calcium into your system.

Physically, we have a chance to repair muscles, cells, and tissue. Many of the chemicals and hormones the we need are created and replaced during sleep. Different neurotransmitter and neuromodulators flip together between waking and sleeping. Also, there is new signs that the lymphatic system cleanses the brain and surrounding tissue while you are sleeping.

Why should you get as much sleep as you need? It…

1.       makes you feel better.

2.       defends you from heart disease and diabetes

3.       burns calories

4.       boosts your immune system

5.       improves brain function

6.       makes you look better

7.       improves your mood

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