How The Body Regulates Sleep - Deepstash
How The Body Regulates Sleep

How The Body Regulates Sleep

The body regulates sleep with two key drivers:

  1. Sleep-wake homeostasis. The longer you’re awake, the more you feel a need to sleep. This is because of the homeostatic sleep drive, the body’s self-regulating system in which pressure to sleep builds up based on how long you’ve been awake.
  2. The circadian alerting system. Light exposure is the biggest influence on circadian rhythms, encouraging wakefulness during the day and sleepiness at night.

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Sleep Stages
  • Stage 1. Your breathing slows as well as your heartbeat, eye movement, and brain wave activity. Your muscles begin to relax.
  • Stage 2. Your breathing, heartbeat, and brain wave activity continue to slow. Eye movements stop.
  • Stage 3. You’re now in deep, restorative sleep.
  • Stage 4. The most intense dreaming takes place during REM sleep.

    The first three stages of sleep fall into the category of non-REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. The fourth stage is REM sleep.

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Why We Sleep

While even experts haven’t reached a consensus explanation for why we sleep, numerous indicators support the view that it serves an essential biological function.

In adults, a lack of sleep has been associated with a wide range of negative health consequences including cardiovascular problems, a weakened immune system, higher risk of obesity and type II diabetes, impaired thinking and memory, and mental health problems like depression and anxiety.

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Sleep quality > quantity

When thinking about getting the sleep you need, it’s normal to focus on how many hours of sleep you get. While sleep duration is undoubtedly important, it’s not the only part of the equation.

It’s also critical to think about sleep quality and whether the time spent sleeping is actually restorative. Progressing smoothly multiple times through the sleep cycle, composed of four separate sleep stages, is a vital part of getting truly high-quality rest.

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The average adult spends 36 % (or about one-third) of his or her life asleep.

Purpose of Sleep:

  • Restoration
  • Memory Consolidation
  • Metabolic Health

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Snoring isn’t harmful

Although snoring may be harmless for most people, it can be a symptom of a life-threatening sleep disorder called sleep apnea, especially if it is accompanied by severe daytime sleepiness. 

Sleep apnea can be treated; men and women who snore loudly, especially if pauses in the snoring are noted, should consult a physician.

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