What normal sleep looks like - Deepstash

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Does hitting the snooze button really help you feel better?

What normal sleep looks like

Our natural body clock regulates functions through what's known as circadian rhythms: physical, mental and behavioral changes that follow a daily cycle.

Most adults require approximately 7,5-8 hours of good sleep per night. This enables us to spend adequate time in the stages of sleep known as nonrapid eye movement sleep (NREM) and rapid eye movement sleep (REM).

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Our sleep-wake pattern

Our molecular clock inside our cells aims to keep us in sync with the sun

When we disregard this circadian rhythm, we are at a greater risk for illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, and dementia.

The lifestyle imbalance

Thomas Edison said that sleep is "a bad habit." Like Edison, we seem to think of sleep as an adversary and try to fight it at every turn. The average American sleeps less than the recommended seven hours per night, mostly due to electric lights, television, computers, and smartphones. 

However, we are ignoring the intricate journey we're designed to take when we sleep.

Stage One Sleep

When we fall asleep, the nearly 86 billion neurons in our brain starts to fire evenly and rhythmically. Our sensory receptors become muffled at the same time.

The first stage of shallow sleep lasts for about 5 minutes.

How alcohol affects sleep

A lot of the symptoms associated with a hangover are a product of sleep deprivation.

Alcohol affects our ability to get into what is known as rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, the bulk of which occurs in the last two-thirds of the night. As a rule of thumb, it takes about an hour to metabolize one unit of alcohol, so if you have a 250ml glass of wine at 7 pm it will mostly be out of your system by 10.30pm.

Eating before bed

It is important to leave at least a couple of hours between eating and sleeping. 

There is a whole raft of so-called sleepy foods – anything containing tryptophan, serotonin, melatonin, magnesium, calcium, potassium – often eaten in the hope they will aid sleep. 

If you do want to eat these foods, do it because it’s a nice ritual, not because you need it to sleep.

A cure for sleepwalking

There isn’t a cure. 

People who sleepwalk usually are advised to keep their room safe by locking windows and doors, and to maintain what’s called good sleep hygiene: keep to a regular sleep routine, turn mobile phones off, avoid stimulants, and so on. Sleepwalking can often occur as a result of poor or disrupted sleep.

Eat Meals Earlier 

Don't eat any heavy foods within two hours of bed time. 

If you get too hungry as bedtime creeps around, there are a few foods that are okay to eat before bed, and can even help you sleep—like bananas, oatmeal, and whole wheat bread, to name a few.

Do Something After You Eat

After you eat, get up and do something a bit more active—even if it's just washing dishes or taking out the trash. It'll avoid that post-meal drowsiness, and it's a great time to have a 10-minute cleaning burst to keep your house looking nice.

Avoid Napping

Napping can make it more difficult to fall asleep at night:

If, after you've thoroughly tested your evening routine and gotten better sleep, you still feel drowsy, you can try adding a power nap to your day, preferably during the early afternoon.