SCIENCE OF SLEEP - Sleep Better By Knowing How Sleep Works, also tips and medicine for you to sleep better
Hey folks, wish you all always healthy and happy. Last time I write a blog about tricks on how to wake up early, if you feel the need to improve your wake-up time, please visit the blog here.
I feel sharing how to become early riser isn’t complete without share about how the science of sleep itself. I will share the following topics in this blog:
What is sleep
How to improve sleep quality
If you are reading this to find some sleep pills that safe for you, please go to the end of the blog and you may find something that suitable for you. However, if you are reading this blog without skipping any section, may find out that your sleep problem didn’t need any medication, who knows.
Many of you, if not all, is sleeping every day, usually at night. But when asked “what is sleep, actually?” many of you will have hard time to define sleep, I know I do.
According to merriam-webster dictionary, “Sleep is the natural, easily reversible periodic state of many living things that is marked by the absence of wakefulness and by the loss of consciousness of one's surroundings, is accompanied by a typical body posture (such as lying down with the eyes closed), the occurrence of dreaming, and changes in brain activity and physiological functioning, is made up of cycles of non-REM sleep and REM sleep, and is usually considered essential to the restoration and recovery of vital bodily and mental functions.” sounds familiar?
So, what happened when you go to sleep?
To summarize, 5 major thing that you experience (well, not consciously though) is
Your muscle paralyse
Your stress hormone level is lower
Your brain shorts today information
Hormones produced by your brain to control your sleep
Your nervous system loosen up
Your Muscle Paralyse
There is stages or cycle in your sleep routine, more on that later. During rapid eye movement (REM) cycle, your muscle are paralysed, since in REM cycle the dream is most vivid, scientist conclude that it is prevent you from act out physically during sleep.
Ever woken up from your sleep due to, let’s say big thunder and you feel a little paralysed? It might be due to you wake up in the middle of REM cycle.
Your Stress Hormone is Lower
Stress hormone or scientifically called cortisol, it has a very important role in determine how you respond to stress also control your mood, motivation and fear.
Your cortisol level is decrease when you start sleeping and will rise to peak after you wake up, it helps you feel fresh and increase your appetite in the morning.
Your brain sort today information
Sleep helps you hold on to something during the day, strengthen some memory, and let the rest to be forgotten.
It is not accurate to assume that when you fall asleep, your brain is shut off too. The brain is active processing memories that you experience recently and merging with the old ones during that time. Lack of sleep will have significant effect on the hippocampus (hippocampus is part of the brain, not something else. You have some wild imagination my friend), an area on the brain that function as spatial memory, navigation, memory creation and consolidation.
Hormones produced by your brain to control your sleep
It is due to hormone produced by your brain that keep you paralyse at night to keep you from acting out during dream session.
Other hormones that your brain released are (1) Melatonin, to control your sleep pattern. This hormone is responsible for you to feel asleep during the night, “as melatonin levels rise in the evening it puts you into state of quite wakefulness, that helps promote sleep” explains sleep expert Luis Fernando Buenaver, Ph.D. The second hormone that released in the brain during sleep is human growth hormone (often abbreviated HGH) the function in HGH is as an addition to promoting growth for child and help to maintain bodily tissue even during adulthood. However, HGH production is decrease as you getting older. Other than by sleeping, HGH can be produced by workout.
Your Nervous System Loosen Up
when you sleep, your sympathetic nervous system (SNS) or what is often termed the fight or flight response have a chance to rest, at some point SNS is responsible for providing some regulation in almost every organ systems, an this very important for you since
Sleep deprivation can cause increase sympathetic nervous system activity and acutely increase blood pressure.
STAGES OF SLEEP
Based on how deep you sleep and the state of your brain activity, usually you pass through of four stages of sleep, stages 1,2,3 (non-REM Stages) and REM Sleep
What is REM Sleep
REM is abbreviation from Rapid Eye Movement, it is called like that because sleepers’ eyes move rapidly during sleep, while non-REM sleep is, as you can guess, no rapid eye movement from sleepers. more on REM Sleep Later.
Stages 1 of Sleep
It is the earliest stage of sleep and the lightest, it often can be identified by low eye movement, at this stage the sleepers can be easily disrupted and causing awakenings. Muscle throughout body relaxes and brain activity begins to slow compared to awake state. I believe during your sleep, you often experience muscle jerk or feeling sensation of falling while drifting in sleep, it indication that you are in stage 1
Stage 2 of Sleep
In this sleep, you will not easily be awakened as you are in level 1 and slow eye movement is stop. Brain waves is slower also. Your body temperature begins to decrease, and heart rate begin to slow down.
Stage 3 of Sleep
This is the most restorative stages of sleep, at this stage you also would be difficult to be awaken. Parasomnia or undesirable behaviors that occur during transition between sleep stages including nightmares, sleepwalking, somniloquy even bedwetting.
REM Sleep Stages
Is most commonly known as the dreaming stage. You are awakened more easily during REM Sleep and being woken in REM period can leave you feeling groggy or sleepy. During REM sleep, your body and brain go to several changes, including:
Fast and irregular breathing
Increased heart rate, near to heart rate when waking
Change in body temperature
Increase blood pressure
Brain activity like that seen while awake
Twitching of the face and limbs.
As what you’ve read earlier that during sleep, your brain short today information, during REM Sleep that activity is occurred.
Lacking of REM Sleep has been linked to reduced of coping skill mechanism and defensive response in threating situations, Migraines and Overweight.
Sleep deprivation occurs when you get less sleep than you need to feel awake and alert, this is common problem in modern society, and affecting many individuals at least at one point in their lives.
There is no standard on determining how much or little sleep needed by some individuals to be considered as sleep deprived. Some people, usually older adults seem to be more resistant to the effect of sleep deprivation, while others especially children and young adults are more vulnerable.
Occasional sleep interruption will cause no harm to your health, but it is potential hazard since that occasional hazard is more likely to build up into something more serious, and before you know it you are unable to feel awake and alert during the day.
Some symptoms of sleep deprivation are easy to spot. People who are yawning, who are having trouble staying awake in classes or in meetings, or who are always particularly moody or emotionally touchy are, quite possibly, sleep deprived. However, there are other symptoms that can be associated with sleep deprivation, too. Sleep deprived people can be clumsy, can have trouble making decisions or consistently make poor decisions, and they may always be hungry. They may be accident prone, in their vehicles or otherwise, and they may get sick easily or have trouble getting better when they do fall ill. All of this happens because the human body needs sleep. We are made to sleep and, when we don’t, it has consequences for how (and how well) the body functions
General Knowledge on sleep deprivation.
Here is some general knowledge on sleep deprivation:
Sleep loss hinder your ability to focus and obtain normal function of attention, also disrupts your sensory input.
Lack of sleep has been implicated as playing a significant role in large number of accidents such as car, airplane accidents etc.
Sleep deprivation can be a symptom of an untreated sleep disorder or other medical condition.
When you fail to get your required amount of sufficient sleep, you start to accumulate a sleep debt.
HOW TO IMPROVE SLEEP QUALITY
Use the bedroom only for sleep. Don't make your bedroom a multi-purpose room. TV and laptop can hinder you from going to sleep, its an unnecessary distraction when comes to sleep. Your sleep ritual must be simple, when you go to the bedroom, you are going to sleep.
Exercise. There is way too many benefit for your body when it comes to exercise, including improve sleep quality. When it comes to sleep, exercise will make it easier for your brain and body to power down at night. Furthermore, obesity can wreak havoc on your sleep patterns. The role of exercise only becomes more important with age. Fit middle-aged adults sleep significantly better than their overweight peers. One caveat: avoid exercising two to three hours before bedtime as the mental and physical stimulation can leave your nervous system feeling wired and make it difficult to calm down at night.
Sound. A quiet space is key for good sleep. If peace and quiet is hard to come by, try controlling the bedroom noise by creating “white noise” with a fan. Or, ear plugs is very good tools to help you sleep.
Avoid caffeine. If you're having trouble falling asleep, eliminating caffeine from your diet is a quick win. If you can't go without your morning cup of coffee, then a good rule of thumb to keep in mind is “No coffee after noon.” This gives caffeine enough time to wear off before bed time.
If you already done the above tips for sleeping better, you can always try Melatonin from Puritan or Nyquill to help you sleep.