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Understanding Sleep: Deep Sleep, REM Sleep, Cycles, Stages, and

Understanding Sleep: Deep Sleep, REM Sleep, Cycles, Stages, and
The power of sleep Many of us try to sleep as little as possible. There are so many things that seem more interesting or important than getting a few more hours of sleep, but just as exercise and nutrition are essential for optimal health and happiness, so is sleep. The quality of your sleep directly affects the quality of your waking life, including your mental sharpness, productivity, emotional balance, creativity, physical vitality, and even your weight. No other activity delivers so many benefits with so little effort! Understanding sleep Sleep isn’t exactly a time when your body and brain shut off. The good news is that you don't have to choose between health and productivity. Myths and Facts about Sleep Myth 1: Getting just one hour less sleep per night won’t affect your daytime functioning. Myth 2: Your body adjusts quickly to different sleep schedules. Myth 3: Extra sleep at night can cure you of problems with excessive daytime fatigue. How many hours of sleep do you need? REM sleep Related:  Sleep Research

Stages of Sleep Usually sleepers pass through five stages: 1, 2, 3, 4 and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. These stages progress cyclically from 1 through REM then begin again with stage 1. A complete sleep cycle takes an average of 90 to 110 minutes. Stage 1 is light sleep where you drift in and out of sleep and can be awakened easily. In stage 2, eye movement stops and brain waves become slower with only an occasional burst of rapid brain waves. Slow wave sleep comes mostly in the first half of the night, REM in the second half. In the REM period, breathing becomes more rapid, irregular and shallow, eyes jerk rapidly and limb muscles are temporarily paralyzed. Infants spend almost 50% of their time in REM sleep. As sleep research is still a relatively young field, scientists did not discover REM sleep until 1953 when new machines were developed to monitor brain activity. The brain waveform during REM has low amplitudes and high frequencies, just like the waking state. Circadian Cycles and Sleep

Best of Healthy Eats: Top Posts of 2010 We wrote about everything from apples to zucchini bread this year, with lots of healthy tips and ideas in between. Here are your favorite posts of the year. #1: 50 Slimmed Down Comfort FoodsFrom macaroni and cheese to oven-fried chicken, you couldn’t get enough of these healthier comfort food favorites. #2: 14 Foods Experts Won’t Eat We polled food and nutrition experts (including guru Marion Nestle) to find out which foods they steer clear of. #3: 8 Healthiest Breakfast Items Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day — make it count with these uber-healthy morning meal options. #4: 5 Food Additives to Avoid You were also concerned with things you shouldn’t be eating, like these top 5 food additives to keep off your grocery list. #5: A Month of Healthy Apple Recipes Apples are among your favorite healthy foods, and we gave you 31 ways to get your apple a day. #7: 10 Foods For Stress Relief Stressed? Here’s to another year of deliciously healthy recipes and smart tips!

Alternate Sleep Cycles Most people only think that there is one way to sleep: Go to sleep at night for 6-8 hours, wake up in the morning, stay awake for 16-18 hours and then repeat. Actually, that is called a monophasic sleep cycle, which is only 1 of 5 major sleep cycles that have been used successfully throughout history. The other 4 are considered polyphasic sleep cycles due to the multiple number of naps they require each day. How is this possible? Well the most important of every sleep cycle is the Stage 4 REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, which has been shown to provide the benefits of sleep to the brain above all other stages of sleep. This way, you still get the benefits of 8 hours of sleep without wasting all of the time it takes to get to REM cycles, resulting in a much more efficient sleep cycle. Uberman Cycle: 20 to 30 minute naps every 4 hours, resulting in 6 naps each day. Everyman Cycle: One longer “core” nap that is supplemented with several 20-30 minute naps. Dymaxion Cycle: Biphasic/Siesta Cycle:

Sleep: The secret to a sound sleep lies inside the brain, researchers find - latimes.com I am frequently amazed by my husband's ability to sleep through all kinds of noises that cause me to wake in a flash -- car alarms, smoke detectors that are running low on batteries, and especially kids who have lost track of their favorite blankie in the middle of the night. Thanks to a new study being published in Tuesday's edition of the journal Current Biology, I now know that his brain probably produces more sleep spindles than mine. You see, while we're sleeping, the thalamus -- the part of the brain that receives sensory input like sounds -- tries to relay information to the cortex, where the sounds are actually perceived. Sleep experts can see these transmissions on an electroencephalography test, or EEG. But, scientists believe, sometimes the brain throws up roadblocks to prevent the cortex from being disturbed during crucial periods of sleep when memories are consolidated. The report is online here. -- Karen Kaplan

Polyphasic Sleep A couple days ago, I saw a post about polyphasic sleep on LifeHack.org. Since then I’ve been emailed about this topic as well, probably because I’ve written previously about becoming an early riser. Polyphasic sleep involves taking multiple short sleep periods throughout the day instead of getting all your sleep in one long chunk. Under this sleep schedule, your sleep times might be at 2am, 6am, 10am, 2pm, 6pm, and 10pm. How can this sleep schedule work? It requires some discipline to successfully transition to this cycle, as well as a flexible schedule that allows it. It was interesting to read some of the posts from people who’ve tried this sleep cycle. The downside to this sleep schedule is that it can be inflexible. Plus it’s just plain weird. Since I work from home and have control over my schedule, I’ve decided to test polyphasic sleep to see what it’s like. I’m starting this polyphasic sleep schedule today, so last night was my last night of “normal” sleep for a while.

How to Become an Early Riser It is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth, and wisdom. – Aristotle Are morning people born or made? In my case it was definitely made. In my early 20s, I rarely went to bed before midnight, and I’d almost always sleep in late. I usually didn’t start hitting my stride each day until late afternoon. But after a while I couldn’t ignore the high correlation between success and rising early, even in my own life. … and the next morning, I got up just before noon. Hmmm… I tried again many more times, each time not getting very far with it. It’s hard to become an early riser using the wrong strategy. The most common wrong strategy is this: You assume that if you’re going to get up earlier, you’d better go to bed earlier. It seems there are two main schools of thought about sleep patterns. The second school says you should listen to your body’s needs and go to bed when you’re tired and get up when you naturally wake up.

2 Simple Keys to Long Term Exercise Motivation post written by: Marc Chernoff Email I’ve been working out at least 4 days a week since I was a freshman in high school. While I don’t doubt the legitimacy in some of the suggested methods I’ve read, I don’t really think that they hold the key to long term exercise motivation and commitment. So, what’s the key to long term exercise motivation? Music – Music makes us think, it gets us going, and it sets our stream of consciousness on a positive course. If you enjoyed this article, check out our new best-selling book. And get inspiring life tips and quotes in your inbox (it's free)...

About | Dymaxion Duo From reading others' experiences, it takes 1-2 weeks for your body to adjust to the new schedule. The first few days, you basically deprive yourself of sleep; you still lay down for your naps, but more than likely won't sleep very well. After a while, your body starts forcing itself to get REM sleep when you take naps. The tough part here is to lay down when you are supposed to, and get up when you are supposed to. After the body transition phase, the next couple weeks are a mental transition. Good sleep, good learning, good life Foreword It is everyone's dream to wake up fresh, happy, and ready for action on a daily basis. Sadly, in the modern world, only a small minority lives that dream. a bit of knowledge, and a readiness to make some lifestyle sacrifice. I hope that this article compiles all the basic ingredients of knowledge that are helpful in accomplishing refreshing sleep. This article was originally written a decade ago. This article is a compilation of the most important and the most interesting things about the biology of sleep. Since writing the original Good sleep, good learning, good life, tremendous progress has been made in the science of sleep. As the article grew to be insanely long, you may wish to begin with the summary at the bottom of the article. Notes Incremental writing: Due to the size of the material, this article was written using a technique called incremental writing. Importance of sleep Why understanding sleep is important? Too few people realize how important sleep is! For more see:

Polyphasic Sleep: Facts and Myths Contents The law of accelerating returns We live in the times of accelerating acceleration. The Moore's Law makes the world smaller, faster, more connected and more efficient. We are now able to touch and feel Kurzweil's generalization: the law of accelerating returns . At the same time, the myth-making power of the human mind is now grotesquely amplified by the all-mighty Internet. Around the year 2000, a new meme cropped up in several blogs on the net: The Uberman's Sleep Schedule. The Uberman's Sleep Schedule The idea behind the Uberman's Sleep Schedule is to gain waking hours by sleeping the total of just 3 hours in 6 portions distributed equally throughout the day. The Uberman's Sleep Schedule was proposed in this blog at Everything2. Polyphasic sleep More and more frequently, Uberman's Sleep Schedule was being referred to as polyphasic sleep (the term popularized by research and book by an Italian chronobiologist Dr. Polyphasic sleep is quite widespread in animal kingdom.

Related:  Schlafen12/11/2 - 12/11/7Sleep