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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.

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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.

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Stage Four Sleep

We can remain in stage 4 - similar to a coma or brain death - for only about 30 minutes before the brain wakes up and falls back to sleep again. 

Even healthy sleepers wake several times a night, but might not be aware of it.

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The lifestyle imbalance

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. 

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Stage Three Sleep

Some scientists consider stage 3 and 4 to be one stage.  Your body rests during these stages to help cells recover. Your cells produce the most growth hormone here to mend your bones and muscles.

While all this is happening, your muscles are fully relaxed. Mental activity is limited, includ...

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Stage Two Sleep

We spend about half our sleeping time in stage 2. It can last up to 50 minutes during the first 90-minute sleep cycle, and less during subsequent cycles. 

During this time the brain consolidates the information that has been collected during the waking hours. It makes connections yo...

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REM

REM

Rapid Eye Movement or REM follows after the four stages of NREM (non-REM) sleep and occupies about one-fifth of total rest time in adults.

During REM, all vivid dreaming takes place. Our internal temperature is at its lowest. Our heart rate increases and our breathing is irregular. Gen...

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Effects of too little sleep

  • The prefrontal cortex, the place in the brain that controls decision-making and problem-solving, is the first to suffer from not enough sleep.  It causes you to be more irritable, moody and irrational.
  • Sleeping less than six hours a night increases the risk of depression, psychosis, ...

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Sleep more essential than food

Sleep is essential for maintaining a healthy immune system, body temperature and blood pressure. The lack of sleep prevents us from regulating our moods well or recovering promptly from injuries.

Sleep reduces the risk of developing dementia. Our neurons deflate by 60 percent while we sleep, wid...

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Sleep deprivation facts

  • More than 80 million American adults suffer from chronic sleep deprivation.
  • Fatigue contributes to more than a million auto accidents each year.
  • About one-third of us will suffer from some form of sleep disorder.
  • People with Kleine-Levin syndrome will sleep nearly non...

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"Happiness is the highest form of health." Dalai Lama

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Body Clocks and Cycles

Everything that we check in our bodies like blood pressure and heart rate, has a circadian rhythm.

Our round-the-clock lifestyle, when light, food, and life is available and thriving 24 hours a day, leads to circadian disruption, resulting in many ailments like heart disease and diabetes.

Our sleep and wake patterns

On its own, the circadian rhythm takes almost 24 hours. Our bodies rely on the Sun to reset this cycle and keep it at 24 hours, the length of our days. Light and the dark are important signals for the cycle.

During the night, body temperature drops, metabolism slows, and the hormone melato...

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Not getting enough high-quality sleep

Sleep is extremely important for good health.

Sleeping fewer hours than you need may increase your risk of a number of illnesses, including heart disease, diabetes, and depression.

Several studies note that inadequate sleep may also lower your metabolic rate and i...

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