Deeper sleep for better rest, repair & renewal
We all know we feel better after a 'good' nights sleep, but what constitutes a good night sleep and why do we sometimes wake up still feeling tired?
Our sleep cycles are between 90-110 minutes and we typically have 4-6 a night, oscillating between light, deep and processing sleep. Sleep is categorised as REM and Non REM sleep, REM - Rapid Eye Movement - is different to all the other stages of sleep in that the brain is very active but the body is still. NREM has three stages N1, N2 and N3 which are all slow brain wave states. Each stage should last 10-20 minutes.
N1 - Falling asleep - brain waves are slowing down, you are between awake and asleep, you can easily be woken in this part of your sleep.
N2 - Light Sleep - heart rate and breathing slows down in preparation for deeper sleep, brain does less complicated tasks.
N3 - Deeper Sleep - Physical rest and repair, you would feel disorientated if woken now
N3 - Deep Restorative Sleep - the most important part of your sleep for your immune system. The mind focuses on physical repair, cell regeneration is optimum, surge of growth hormones. Body and blood pressure are low. Difficult to be woken from this stage. Night terrors and sleep walking can occur in this stage.
Stage 5 -REM sleep - The extensive research of psychologist Joe shows that dreaming is a crucial part of our sleep cycle, it allows us to process all the ‘data’ that we have taken in during the day and relieve our nervous system of the load by expressing unfulfilled emotional arousal through metaphor in dreams.
During this stage of sleep, the brain is active and the body is still. Our REM time increases towards the morning which is why you often feel like you have been dreaming all night when you wake up.
When you stressed, anxious, depressed the REM portion of your sleep can be overloaded with the amount it needs to relinquish and this REM time will eat into deep restorative sleep time. Meaning that you can move between light sleep and REM sleep (processing) and subsequently wake up feeling physically exhausted from lack of deep restorative sleep and mentally exhausted from the brain activity of over dreaming.
More on this in the next post...
Recipe for Optimum Sleep
Daytime routine + Nightime routine + day time processing time
= Recipe for Optimum Sleep
Sleeping well requires a routine in both the day and the night as well as time in the day when there is quiet for your brain - to process, mull, and complete loops.
daydreaming / mindfulness / journalling / meditation / walking in nature / exercise / hypnosis / just being /
These are some of the things you can do to allow that natural process, meaning that your brain is not exceeding its usual time in REM.