When interesting things happen.
We seem to need to sleep.
It is a terrible waste of time, but without this recharge, we become dysfunctional.
What happens if you stay up to party, quite late. Of course I know nothing of this.
How long does it take to recover from this?
Everyone seems to need different amounts of sleep but not that different.
now this is going to get interesting.. so wiggle your mouse and click on.
Sleep is when we renew. Everything shuts down and magic things happen so we can function the next day.
hmmmm, well no. but yes too.
While the body rests the brain doesn’t, not completely. Obviously it continues to maintain our body activities. It doesn’t stop their though. But on to that soon.
How much sleep do you need? As adults we should have 7.5 to 9 hours. Children need more, as we know. There are however, certain genes that some have, that enable them to function with as little as 6 hours a night with no ill effects.
Loss of sleep begins to have telling effects on us. The first may be headaches / migraines. Moody or irritable behavior.
It becomes more serious though, fatigue as per expected from a lack of sleep. Decision making becomes impaired. Health problems can begin, infections are harder to fight, heart conditions, diabetes risks increase. Weight gain is common.
The trouble is. Sometimes. We can’t sleep. As much as we would like to.
A chronic case of sleeplessness can become quite troublesome. It can mimic mental disorders. Hallucination can occur. People skills become strained. Moods swing. Psychotic episodes may occur. People may receive a diagnosis that is incorrect.. and hence medications that are not only not needed, but that will disrupt them.
Mental disorders, depression too, and insomnia often partner. Complicating symptoms and hence diagnosis. I am throwing this out to show that the stigma to Mental Health goes both ways. To show that you often, seldom, maybe never, will visit a mental health professional and receive a diagnosis immediately. Tis why my blood boils when watching a TV show and a “psychiatrist” is called in to provide a diagnosis for some case with just a few symptoms given. Or when someone goes on a rampage and the “news” stations do the same thing. It is just too complicated.
Oh there are a host of reasons that can impair our sleep. I am not going into all of them, some of you may doze off. Some may wish they could.
Lets get a quick understanding of sleep. Most of you will know bits and pieces of what happens when you close your eyes, and wake up anew on a new day.
Chemicals. The body produces quite a few of them. All day long adenosine is produced. As levels rise, sleep becomes more desired. Adenosine is broken down as we sleep. The cycle begins again the next day. This is known as our 24 hour circadian rhythm. When it becomes dark a hormone is released. Melatonin. Melatonin is found in some sleep aid medications, it makes you feel drowsy. Light sources may inhibit the release of Melatonin, bright lights, televisions, computer screens, even that digital alarm clock display. When the sun rises cortisol is released to help you wake up. Glutamate is produced, this chemical is associated with long term memory storage. During sleep the brain processes the memories of the day, tying them together, sorting them out with past memories. Skills learned during the day are refreshed whilst sleeping. Thoughts being sorted out lend to creativity, the expression “lets sleep on it” is based on fact. Some creativity occurs while sleeping. Ideas form.
There are five stages of sleep. When someone mentions they had a good sleep, it is not just a saying. A quality sleep means we spend time in each stage. Waking up often will disrupt this. We may sleep all night, but not receive a “good sleep”
- Stage one – The lightest sleep. When we drift off, but can be easily awakened. Brain waves go from ALPHA to THETA, we begin to lose awareness It is a short stage. Perhaps ten or less minutes.
- Stage two – Still a light stage of sleep, brain activity slows. Heart rate drops, as does body temperature. Breathing slows and you enter a relaxed state. This is a short stage as well, maybe twenty minutes. Beta waves, short rhythmical bursts.
- Stage three – Deep sleep starts to emerge. Delta brain waves begin. The transitional stage between light sleep, the relaxing phase and deep sleep. Awakening in this stage will result in a very groggy person. This stage may last five to fifteen minutes.
- Stage four – Deep sleep is here, this is the deepest stage of sleep. For about thirty to sixty minutes this delta stage lasts. This is when you renew. Difficult to wake up. This would be the stage when sleep walking or bed wetting may occur, toward the end of the stage. This is the stage when Night Terrors happen.
- Stage five – REM sleep. The sleep you probably have heard of, rapid eye movement. This is when we dream and have nightmares. Brain waves return to the THETA stage but often increase to a very high active wave. If you wake up during this stage and go back to sleep you will return to it. The body wakes a bit as well, blood flow and breathing increase. The brain is almost as active as when awake. Muscles become somewhat paralyzed, to protect us from becoming too immersed in our dreams and nightmares. That feeling you have during a nightmare, where you can’t escape… It is because you can’t move, your heart and breathing will continue, but not movement of voluntary muscles. You may wake and panic a bit, because your muscles don’t respond to your requests.
So have you done the math? Does this add up to eight hours of sleep? nope.
We cycle between these stages. The first stage of REM sleep may occur within ninety minutes of falling asleep. The first stage of REM may last ten minutes, each stage after will last longer each time. Up to an hour. The cycles may repeat four or five times for adults. With each cycle the REM stage increases in length and DELTA decreases. Stage one does not occur in the cycles.
We have all probably had both night terrors and nightmares. But they are not the same thing at all. Night terrors often accompany sleep walking, though not at the same time. They don’t last long, seconds to mere minutes. But this is enough to disturb our sleep cycle.
Waking in a panic, usually with no recollection of what woke you. Screaming, heart pounding, violent, confused. Snakes, spiders, the feeling of impending harm, are common themes. the next day often remembering nothing. Anxiety and stress may trigger night terrors.
Night terrors are not panic attacks. Yes you can also have panic attacks during sleep. The difference is you will most likely remember the details of the panic attack. There are no memorable triggers. Awaking with a dislocated feeling, like you are not in your body. Fearing another attack will often bring one on. To the point where sleep becomes something the person does not want to do.
Nightmares can be vivid. This is something you are more likely to remember. Disorders such as P.T.S.D. can cause vivid nightmares where you relive the event, they can be quite frequent. Bits and pieces of the “event” could be a part of the nightmare, replayed over and over each night.
So why do we dream? hmmm. This is where I should tent my fingers and give you the wise look… oh yes it is a course, you don’t think we just happen on it do you, lol. So why do we dream… I don’t know. Actually no one knows, there are a lot of theories of course. Some as simple as the brain is responding to external stimuli while sleeping, noises outside, perhaps the radio going off, the house creaking, these sounds are incorporated in your dreams often.
The brain is sorting out memories, the happenings of the day, or events in the past, filing things away, removing clutter.
Often dreams allow you to explore things that are safer done in a dream. From a sexual encounter to flight.. with out a plane even.
We dream in the REM state. The brain is very active in this state, almost as much so as when awake. It becomes busy.
Why do we have nightmares? Stress and anxiety will bring on nightmares, it could be as simple too as the room is too warm. Nightmares with the same theme are calling attention to something for you to deal with. If you are having a themed nightmare, that is consistent, it may be wise to seek some therapy. Many times things we block out and hide from ourselves, will come out in a nightmare. Again this is a large part of P.T.S.D. Therapy can help you sort this out, and eliminate it.
help me I am falling…. Have you had that sense of falling whilst sleeping? In the early stage of sleep, the brain sends messages to the muscles to relax. The falling sensation is called hypnic jerks. The muscles misinterpret the relax message sometimes and they contract, you may also have a burst of sensory light or flash. This is normal but if you have them often you may want to mention it to your Doctor.
Nightmares, Night Terrors and Nocturnal Panic Attacks, or the fear of them, can cause us to change our need or ability to sleep. That monster in our mind that will visit again can cause terrible insomnia.
Sleepwalking, this can be quite complex. We are capable of appearing to be awake, function complex tasks, even drive a car. It is a myth that you shouldn’t wake a sleepwalker, though they will be disorientated and confused when you do. Many injuries will occur whilst sleep walking, tripping bumping into things, or more serious injuries from driving or using sharp implements. Anxiety is a large cause for sleepwalking which is paired often with night terrors.
There are may sleep disorders, from sleep apnea to restless leg syndrome. All can cause insomnia.
There, you can run this all through your minds tonight whilst sleeping, sort it all out… or you can read it before bed and doze off. 🙂
Sleep well please, if not, please seek some assistance.