a lot of us, our lives are chaotic and jam-packed. Our work, taking care
of the kids, the endless errands, exercise, social events, and the daily
stresses of life can invade our days so much that the last thing we think about
is this: am I getting enough sleep, and is it the right kind of sleep I need?
astonishing that 40% of adults do not get the sleep they need to function
to their optimum potential. A lack of sleep is vital to our well-being
and can have serious repercussions if neglected.
What I'd like
to do today is do a "fly-by" into the sleep world: You'll find out
what it is, how it works, why we need it, and the amount we need to be
healthy. So, off we go into the mysterious world of sleep.
What is it?
Sleep can be
defined as a state of unconsciousness. During sleep, the brain is more
responsive to internal stimuli rather than external stimuli.
How Do We
human sleep have discovered five defined stages of sleep using EEG recordings
and polysomnography. Their findings are as follows:
Occupies 75-80% of total sleep time
This stage is sometimes referred to as "drowsy sleep". It
appears at the onset of sleep and acts as a transition stage into
This stage can be associated with hypnagogic hallucinations (dreamlike images,
sounds or sometimes smells before falling asleep or waking up), a loss of
muscle tone, and a conscious awareness of the external environment.
This stage can be thought of as a gateway between wake and sleep, also be
defined as "sleep spindles". Conscious awareness of the
environment disappears. This occupies 45-55% of your total sleep.
This stage is primarily a transition into stage four. This stage occupies
3-8% of total sleep time.
This stage is true delta sleep. It predominates the first third of the
night, occupying 10-15% of total sleep time. This is the deepest stage of
sleep, and is difficult to wake up a person while they are in Stage 4.
Night terrors and sleepwalking occur in this stage.
movement (REM) sleep
This stage is associated with dreaming, including strange visual and random
dreams. Rem sleep is largely found in the final third of sleep,
linking it to our circadian rhythm (aids in coordinating the timing of our
internal bodily functions, including sleep, as well as our interactions with
the external world) and body temperature. In an EEG, his period is
active in the mind and appears similar to that of Stage 1.
Why Do We Need Sleep?
Sleep plays a vital role in our daily regimen. As we sleep, our body is
able to recharge and rejuvenate tired body organs and tissues while restoring
the body to an alert state. This is also when your brain commits new
information to memory through a process called memory
Chronic sleep deprivation may cause weight gain by affecting the way your body
processes and stores carbohydrates and by altering levels of hormones that
you do not get enough sleep, you are more likely to feel sleepy during the day.
This sleepiness increases your risk of falls and mistakes such as traffic
accidents and work errors.
A lack of sleep can result in irritability, impatience, problems with
concentration, and moodiness. Sleep loss can also make you too tired to
do activities you enjoy.
healthy heart. Research has found a link between serious sleep disorders and
hypertension, increased stress hormone levels, and irregular heartbeat.
A lack of sleep weakens your immune system.
Sleep is Needed?
The amount of
sleep an individual requires varies from person to person due to lifestyle and
health issues. But as a basic rule of thumb, most adults
require an average of eight hours of sleep. Children and teenagers,
because they are still growing and developing, require approximately nine to
ten hours of sleep.
So as you can
see, sleep is essential to our health and well-being. Make sleeping
important to you and schedule it if necessary. You will notice that with
enough sleep, you will be happier, more at peace, and have a sharper mind to
make it through your sometimes chaotic day.
I wish you a
wonderful slumber and many happy dreams!
this site is a recommendation as to how to treat any particular disease or
health-related condition. You should not use this site as a substitute for
professional medical advice. For serious ailments, or if symptoms persist, you
must see a medical professional. You should not stop taking prescribed
medication without consulting your doctor.