Dream of finer sleep? Read on…
In a normal sleep cycle, EEGs show the brain slows down progressively over a thirty minute period. After that point, the brain shifts into a trance-like sleep known as REM, or rapid eye movement state. Without enough deep sleep, or REM, people are prone to workplace disasters caused by sleep deprivation.
The Bhapol explosion on December 2, 1984, for instance, shot poisonous gas that killed over 6000 people. Then, two years later, on April 26th, the Chernobyl explosion exposed millions to radioactivity 100 more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb. Sadly, on March 24th, 1989, 12 million gallons of crude oil gushed from Exxon Valdez and wiped out sea life across Prince William Sound.
Sleep problems as well as related accidents are more common than most people realize, and so it’s no surprise that sleep-deprived people also succumb more to sickness. Research shows 51% of the American workforce feels exhausted at work.
Sleep disorders hurt both groups and individuals. Organizations pay more than $100 billion in lost productivity we are told. People pay in personal problems such as depression, anxiety, or human failure.
Does sleep work well for you? If so, you likely benefit from all three 30 minute cycles, as they play out and replay several times throughout a good night’s rest. Think of ideal sleep in 90 minute segments, that replay consistently for about 7 to 8 hours. When it functions well, the process rewires your brain’s dendrite brain cells in unique ways.
In the first 30 minutes you’ll sleep rather lightly, which is why 20 minute power naps work especially well during the day.
In the second 30 minute segment, REM takes over and allows your brain to restore levels of oxygen to the cornea, while you dream. Avoid waking in REM, unless you’re prepared to feel like a Mack truck rammed into you, and then left you groggy for much of the day.
In the third 30 minute phase, your brain shifts backs into lighter sleep, and if awakened in this phase, you’ll like feel frisky and ready to take on a new day.
Successful sleepers learn to increase their sleep benefits in several ways. Simply plan to sleep in 90 minute chunks, for instance, and you’ll avoid waking in any REM phase throughout the sleep cycle. darken the room and your brain releases more melatonin for better sleep. Avoid too much food or drink close to bedtime and be careful what medications you take late at night. Then, enhance your sleep by planning to awaken in the lighter cycle that either precedes or follows REM sleep.
Did you also know that you tend to sleep about the same time each night, and your brain no longer needs an alarm clock when you retire about the same time nightly. That’s because the human brain comes equipped with its own alarm once it learns your patterns.
Luckily, new research shows how sleep debts can be repaid! To ward off negative effects of snooze loss, experts tell us to simply repay any outstanding slumber debts, once life quietens down a bit. If you stay up too late during the week, sleep in a bit more on weekends. If last week saw you moonlighting on a few occasions, crawl under the covers early a few nights this week.
For those who need help with more serious sleep dysfunctions, new research and supports come in frequently at the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. For instance, it was discovered quite recently that sleep deprivation can also raise the risk of cardiovascular problems.
At Sleepeducation, you’ll find many more solutions than I could pack into one brief blog. It’s all about answers to keep you in sweeter dreams at night, and peak performances during your workday.