What Your Sleep Says About Your Health I

Description: Interrupted or disrupted sleep tells you something related to your health issues. So how do you know there is some issue with your sleep? Here’s all about what your sleep says about your health!

 

Did you know humans are sleeping for about one third of an average human lifespan? What happens in our sleep is very important for our body’s metabolic processes and the quality of our sleep has an effect on our mental and physical health. We are going to present Sleep and Health in two parts.

 First off, what is sleep? What happens to our body when we are asleep?

Our sleep is broken up into different types known as REM (rapid eye movement) and non-REM sleep. Non-REM sleep has stages and these stages are comprised of the moments where you’re falling asleep and waking up, light sleep, and deep sleep and each of these stages is linked to specific brain waves and neuronal activity. These stages rotate within a sleep cycle. 

Stage 1 

The first stage of non-REM sleep is the process of going to sleep. This short period of time is light sleep. This stage is when your heartbeat, breathing, eye movements and muscles relax while brain waves are slowing down from wakefulness patterns. 

Stage 2

The second stage of non-REM sleep is a period of lighter that is transitioning to a deeper sleep. Muscles continue to relax and brain activity slows down even further however there are bursts of electrical activity. More time is spent in this stage.

Stage 3

This stage of non-REM sleep is considered deep sleep. It is the stage required for the body to feel energized in the morning. It is usually the stage that you are in when it is difficult to wake you up due to the relaxed muscles and slow brain waves.

REM Sleep

REM sleep usually occurs after 90 minutes of falling asleep. This is when the eyes are rapidly moving from side to side behind the eyelids. This is usually where dreaming occurs. The body is temporarily in a paralyzed state and this is why we cannot act out our dreams. 

The sleep cycle repeats itself through the night. With each cycle, you spend less time in deep sleep and more time in REM sleep.

Circadian rhythms and sleep drive work together to regulate sleep. Circadian rhythms are changes within the body that follow a daily cycle or biological clock. Our body’s response to light and darkness is an example of a circadian rhythm, which is why darkness is our body’s cue for us to go to sleep.

Sleep drive is how your body needs sleep. Similar to hunger, there are certain times where the body needs to sleep and unlike eating that you can choose not to do when you’re hungry, sleep is something that the body will automatically do if it needs it. This is why you see people doze off while watching television or even driving! 

How to know if you’re having sleep problems?

With all the advancements in technology, a comfortable mattress and pillow have been the main component in improving the sleep quality. So if you’re having trouble sleeping, you must invest in a good quality mattress and get a good sleep. But what if you can’t tell whether your sleep is proper or not? Following are the signs that tell you that there is some problem with your sleeping habits:

  • If you take very long to sleep, you might be suffering from insomnia. Insomnia often improves with some changes in sleep hygiene and lifestyle. 
  • If you’re still exhausted when you wake up, you aren’t getting enough sleep or quality sleep. Try and improve your diet; having a fibre-rich diet that has low amounts of sugar and fats is helpful in this regard. 
  • You keep on changing sides and switch positions so that they could sleep. However, experts say that this isn’t a good idea, instead get off the bed and do something that can make you tired enough to fall asleep. 
  • You wake up a lot in the middle of the sleep. This is because you have a reduced amount of REM sleep. To get rid of this issue, avoid consuming alcohol at least 2 hours before sleep. 

 

So this information is great, but why do we need adequate sleep?

 

Check out our next blog post to read more!

 

Circadian rhythms and sleep drive work together to regulate sleep. Circadian rhythms are changes within the body that follow a daily cycle or biological clock. Our body’s response to light and darkness is an example of a circadian rhythm, which is why darkness is our body’s cue for us to go to sleep. Sleep drive is how your body needs sleep. Similar to hunger, there are certain times where the body needs to sleep and unlike eating that you can choose not to do when you’re hungry, sleep is something that the body will automatically do if it needs it. This is why you see people doze off while watching television or even driving! 

So this information is great, but why do we need adequate sleep? Stay tuned for a continuation on this topic!