S is for Sleep

Categories: Uncategorised.

In today’s fast-paced world, the importance of a good night’s rest has fallen dramatically. Think late nights working and Netflix binges. Sound familiar? But sleep is one of the most essential factors to good health. To highlight this, we have gathered some sleep time information together for you:

Schedule

Studies have demonstrated that stable bedtimes and rise times –even on weekends – are associated with better sleep quality in young, middle-aged adults and seniors. It maintains the body’s internal clock’s timing and helps you fall asleep and wake up more easily. Regular sleepers have a better mood, psychomotor performance, and academic achievement.

Even if life sometimes gets in the way of this, there are some minor changes that you can make to improve your sleep dramatically.

>Avoid caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and other chemicals that interfere with sleep
>Make your bedroom a comfortable sleep environment
>Establish a calming pre-sleep routine
>Go to sleep when you are truly tired

Sleepwalking

Also known as somnambulism, sleepwalking involves getting up and walking around while in a state of sleep. More common in children than adults, sleepwalking is usually outgrown by the teen years. Isolated incidents of sleepwalking often do not signal any serious problems or require treatment. Often, sleepwalking is a random, harmless event. Sleepwalking is far more common in kids than in adults. It may run in families, so if you or your partner are or were sleepwalkers, your child may be too. Treatment may be required if it occurs often or causes injury. Medication and hypnosis may help.

Snoring

We often laugh about snoring, but it has potentially serious effects. Snoring is the hoarse or harsh sound that occurs when air flows past relaxed tissues in your throat, causing the tissues to vibrate as you breathe. Nearly everyone snores now and then, but for some people, it can be a chronic problem. Sometimes it may also indicate a severe health condition. Besides, snoring can be a nuisance to your partner.

Snoring is often associated with a sleep disorder called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Not all snorers have OSA, but if any of the following symptoms accompany snoring, it may be an indication to see a doctor for further evaluation for OSA:

>Witnessed breathing pauses during sleep
>Excessive daytime sleepiness
>Gasping or choking at night
>High blood pressure
>Chest pain at night

Stages

There are two basic types of sleep:  rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-REM sleep (which has three different stages).

Stage 1 non-REM sleep is the changeover from wakefulness to sleep.
Stage 2 non-REM sleep is a period of light sleep before you enter deeper sleep.
Stage 3 non-REM sleep is the period of deep sleep that you need to feel refreshed in the morning.
REM sleep first occurs about 90 minutes after falling asleep.  Your eyes move rapidly from side to side behind closed eyelids.  Mixed frequency brain wave activity becomes closer to that seen in wakefulness.

Seconds to snooze

Many people have trouble falling or staying asleep. For falling asleep, there are many methods to help you. One is the military method:

> Relax your entire face, including the muscles inside your mouth
> Drop your shoulders to release the tension and let your hands drop to the side of your body.
> Exhale, relaxing your chest.
>Relax your legs, thighs, and calves.
> Clear your mind for 10 seconds by imagining a relaxing scene.
> If this does not work, try saying the words “do not think” over and over for 10 seconds.
> Within 10 seconds, you should fall asleep!

If this does not work for you, you may need to work on the military method’s foundations: breathing and muscle relaxation, which have some scientific evidence that they work.