What is Sleep?
An average of one-third of our time is spent sleeping. Despite the rapid advances in sleep research, there are still many things we don’t understand about this important part of our lives.
Two Kinds of Sleep
1. Rapid Eye Movement (REM) Sleep:
- Dreaming occurs
- One-fourth of your sleeping hours
2. Non-REM Sleep:
- Light and deep stages
- Slow Wave or Delta Sleep (Deep)
- Deep stages occur predominantly within the first 3 hours
According to research, slow-wave or non-REM sleep might be related to our physical functions. REM sleep might be associated with our psychological processes, relationships or with our intellect and memory.
How Much is Enough Sleep?
The amount of sleep you need can be measured by the amount that makes you feel well. Ask yourself:
- Does too much sleep make me tired, sleepy, bleary or dazed?
- Does too little sleep make me irritable or touchy?
Not everyone needs the standard 8 hours of sleep as once was thought. You might need 10 hours; or you might need 4 hours. It just depends entirely on your need for sleep. Here are some guidelines:
- Very young need between 10 and 12 hours so their bodies can properly develop;
- Teens need a certain amount to handle the various changes going on in their bodies; and
- Fully-matured adults can survive on as little as 4 hours of sleep; however, this is not a good practice over an extended period of time because it may cause the nervous system to start breaking down.
Some Tips to Develop Good Sleep Habits
- Sleep as much as you personally need; too much sleep is not good
- Sleep enough to feel refreshed
- Make your bedroom quiet and as dark as possible
- Exercise in late afternoon rather than late at night; otherwise your body will get too stimulated to sleep
- Stop rehashing the day-to-day problems when you go to bed; you cannot solve the problem until you’ve had a good night of sleep
- If you cannot fall asleep, get up and do something like read a book
- Eat a healthy, light snack before you go to bed; going to bed hungry will not help you sleep
- To help you establish a sleep cycle, get up about the same time every day; it doesn’t matter what time you went to bed the night before
- Set room temperature at night about 65 degrees Fahrenheit; crack a bedroom window open to let in some fresh air — not recommended in freezing temperatures
- Read something, when you don’t feel tired at your normal bedtime
What Habits to Avoid
Avoid taking a nap during the day so you will sleep better at night. Avoid the use of stimulants such as caffeine, diet pills, amphetamines, anti-depressants, and other chemicals because they will block or disturb your sleep. Drinking alcohol will not give you the quality of sleep that your body needs. Your body needs enough oxygen to get a good night sleep, so it is best if you smoke, to stop! Smoking uses up the oxygen in your blood.
Do You Have a Sleep or Wake Disorder?
- Do You Have Trouble Sleeping, Staying Awake, or Suffer From Early Morning Headaches?
- Does Your Spouse or Family Complain About Your Loud Snoring at Night?
- Do You Often Get to Work Late?
- Do You Fall Asleep at Work or School?
- Do You Have Difficulty Concentrating or Doze Off Behind the Wheel?
- Do You Often Get a Crawling or Other Strange Sensation in Your Legs?
- Are you Often Depressed Because You Don’t Have Enough Energy to Complete Everyday Routines?
“There is effective treatment for people who suffer from many types of ‘Fatigue Syndromes’. . . . It is important to recognize that [these] syndromes can be caused and aggravated by . . . triggers.” ~Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D.
Studies have shown that a mix of many different processes can be triggered by many causes.
Physical and Emotional Trauma:
- Viral infections
- Sustained injuries caused by car accidents
- Hormone deficiencies (despite normal blood tests)
- Chronic stress
- Nutritional deficiencies caused from lack of proper diet
- Side-effects from antibiotic use
- Vaccinations because of the insult to the central nervous system
- Other miscellaneous causes
If these illnesses are severe enough, they could cause suppression of the major control center to your brain, called the hypothalamus. This is the center that controls sleep, hormone balance, temperature, blood flow and blood pressure. When you lack deep sleep, your immune system stops working properly and you may feel pain.
If you are having trouble getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night rather than grabbing your medications, give Healthy Life Institute a call at 801-893-1190; or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
It is important to note that hypothalamic function is critical to deep sleep. The most common medications for sleep actually aggravate your sleep problems by decreasing the amount of time you spend in deep sleep.
If you want further information or have questions, please give us a call. WE CAN HELP!
Teitelbaum, Jacob, M.D., From Fatigued to Fantastic, Penguin Group (USA) Inc., New York, New York, 2007.