SLEEP DYNAMICSks_wsid = 0;
We are becoming a nation of wandering zombies. Your bedroom should be your refuge, -- restful and pleasurable. The quality of your sleep is more important than the quantity of your sleep. Are you like over half of Americans and have trouble getting enough sleep or falling asleep? It is estimated that over 100 million Americans have sleep disorders. Our changing lifestyles, our increased work hours, financial pressures, and our stressed-out senior citizens causes this.
It costs our health care system currently $16 billion in treatment for current sleep disorders. 3 million people suffer from sleep apnea, and 95% of these are untreated and undiagnosed.
THE DYNAMICS OF SLEEPING
As you sleep, changes occur in your brain waves and your muscular activity, body temperature, respiration, heart rate, and hormonal secretions. The sleeping brain is often more active than the awake brain, and must regulate immune functions and re-energize your body, and reorganize and eventually retrieve information that is already in your brain.
The sleeping brain has low frequency and high amplitude brain waves. As you awake, your beta waves increase. Once you are ready for sleep and shut your eyes, your brain waves become slow, and frequently higher in voltage and more regular. Your breathing slows, your heart rate drops, and your breathing becomes shallow and irregular.
It takes you about 10 to 20 minutes when you start falling asleep to become insensitive to outside stimulation, and the blood supply to your muscles also increases.
After 30 minutes, your brain produces delta brain waves and you are in stage III sleep. Once you get the deep sleep, stage IV, muscle relaxation is complete and your blood pressure drops. It is difficult for you to be aroused from this delta wave sleep.
About an hour and a half after you fall asleep, you fall back into a twilight sleep. Your brain blood flow increases, your body temperature rises, you may have an erection, and your closed eyes begin to role back and forth.
Despite not being awake, you fall into REM SLEEP ( rapid eye movements). This stage of sleep lasts about 10 minutes.
During this REM sleep, you may have vivid and emotional dreams. If your sleep becomes disrupted, your brain has difficulty transferring short-term memory into long-term memory. During sleep, you cannot learn new things.
However, in REM sleep, your brain files important memories of the previous day into long-term storage. At this stage, you often solve problems and during this stage of sleep, and may have your most creative thinking. At this time, there is easy access to memory and emotions, and novel ideas and solutions wander through your head.
During this sleep cycle male sexual function is improved, with men typically develop penile erections with blood sent back into your penis and helps maintain your. Incidentally, if you have REM erections, you can rule out the physiological causes for possible impotence
This REM sleep cycle repeats nightly every 90 minutes until you wake up. If you sleep eight hours, you usually have five cycles through the night.
HOW MUCH SLEEP DO YOU NEED?
It normally takes a well-rested person 20 minutes to fall asleep. Half of us Americans have sleep deprivation.
If you fall asleep instantly, you too may have a serious sign of sleep deprivation. Since most of us do not value sleep, we need at least one more hour of sleep every night; some of us may need of much as 10 hours of sleep.
If you require an alarm clock to wake up, struggle to get out of bed, feel tired when you wake up, fall asleep while watching TV or after eating a heavy meal, and fall asleep within five minutes of hitting the bed, you have sleep deprivation.
Physically, you have dark circles around your eyes, feel you need a nap during the day, on weekend sleep extra hours, and are drowsy when you’re driving in the afternoon,
GETTING MORE SLEEP
Start developing a regular bedtime schedule, and avoid long naps. Admit your life is full of stress, and realize that the only stress free state is death.
Smoking disturbs your ability to sleep and stay asleep. It stimulates brain wave activity and increases your blood pressure and heart rate. It is a stronger stimulant than coffee, and withdrawal starts to three hours after your last smoke. Alcohol within three hours of bedtime will also ruin your sleep.
Leave the all nighters and late time partying to others.
Make it quiet, dark, and cool. Set your temperature for sleeping down to 65°, and turn up the relative humidity between 60 and 70%. Put some pastoral scene paintings, or photographs from vacations, in your bedroom to create a peaceful ambience. Sleep on your side or on your back.
Get a good pillow to support your head and make sure it lets you float rather than squishing you into a unique sleeping position. Your pillow should fit like a shoe. Once a pillow loses his fluffiness get rid of it. A mattress is only good for 8 to 10 years.
Your bed should be 6 inches longer than your height. As you sleep, you move around 50 times a night. If you have a sleeping partner, don’t settle for anything less than a queen size bed; everyone needs room to move around freely without awakening their partner.
The only exercise before bedtime is sexual orgasm. This should help promote a deep and restful sleep. Endorphins are released during sexual stimulation, and enhance the peaceful nature of sleep.
Watch out for over-the-counter nonprescription sleeping pills since they are primarily anti-histamines and will make you tired and groggy.
DANGER SIGNALS OF DROWSINESS
We all become drowsy before we fall asleep. Your eyes may start feeling heavy and strain, they keep closing, and lose focus. You start yawning, and have trouble keeping your head up.
If your car keeps jerking back in and out of your lane and hits off to the shoulder, you must stop at a safe place and take your 20-minute power nap. After the nap, get some coffee or a Coke, and go for a brisk walk in the rest area.
If you are sleep deprived, you become drowsy during the day, moody, and have a difficult time coping under stress and anxiety. You lack interest in socializing with others, feel lethargic and are un-productive, start putting on weight, and have a reduced immunity to disease.
Often between the hours of two and 4 PM, you find it difficult to concentrate, remember, analyze new information, make decision-making skills, and have reduced motor skills and perceptual skills, and lack creativity.
The entire world takes naps between 1 and 4 PM, and most accidents occur between 2 and 4 PM. Naps are certainly healthy, if you are sleep deprived. A brief nap is as legitimate as a coffee break, and can make you more alert, productive, and less prone to accidents. Lie down with your eyes closed and meditate. This can be very beneficial to restore energy.
The best time to take a nap is about eight hours after you wake up. You should only nap for 15 to 30 minutes. If you sleep longer than that, the nap puts your body into a deep sleep, which is difficult to wake from. You will find yourself groggy, difficult to wake up, and not fully alert until at least an hour after you wake up from a prolonged nap. It is unhealthy to nap late in the afternoon.
Our sleep patterns are biphasic, with a drop in your alertness and body temperature at night; there is a similar but very small drop in the middle of the afternoon. This occurs about 12 hours after the middle of your night’s sleep.
Over 25% of Americans now are shift workers, and find it difficult to coordinate their free time. You may find it hard to fulfill your sexual role with your spouse, and you leave evening social events early to get to work on time, you find yourself needing more sick days, and are prone to heart attacks, and mood disorders. Staying up late at night, results in decreased activity of your natural killer cells that fight viral infections. It’s wise to take a nap two hours before your shift, to help you make up for sleep loss. Avoid coffee the last half-hour of your ship so you can fall asleep when you get home. Wear dark sunglasses as you drive home, so your biological clock will not be reset, delaying your sleep cycle.
QUALITY OF SLEEP IS BETTER THAN QUANTITY
The quality of your sleep is more important than the quantity of your sleep. Many sleep disturbances; result in the release of histamines and inflammatory cytokines. These are released whenever infections and allergic reactions are present. Calcium deposits in your coronaries become more likely with poor sleep quality.
When you sleep well, your immune system is bolstered. While sleeping, if you are awake 8% or more of the time you are in bed, you are five times more likely to develop a cold then if you lay awake less than 2% of the time.
Over the last few decades, we Americans have been sleeping less and less, and are getting fatter. Everyone needs at least eight hours sleep. If you sleep less than five hours, you have a high chance of having a heart attack. Skimping on sleep, results in hardening of your arteries. If you snore when you sleep, you also have an increased chance of high blood pressure and heart attacks.
Restful sleep gives long-range benefits, heals weary bones, makes you healthy and wise, and is better than any facelift. Sleeping cost you nothing, and comes without side effects. Perhaps tonight would be a good time to go to bed earlier.