Sleep takes up a third of our lives. If you live 90 years, you will sleep 30 of them. A lot, right? This condition is the subject of research by many scientists around the world (neurologists, psychologists, anthropologists, sociologists). Anyone wondering how much sleep they need? How does sleep affect productivity? What if you cannot sleep?
What is sleep?
Sleep is a special state of consciousness, as well as a natural physiological process, characterized by a reduced response to the outside world and specific brain activity.
The structure of human sleep includes two phases: slow sleep (Non-REM) and fast sleep (REM, or REM - "rapid eye movement").
Comes immediately after falling asleep. Consists of four stages. The total duration of the Non-REM phase is about 90 minutes. Breathing is calm, even, the pressure decreases, the eyes first make slow movements, and then they are motionless, the brain is inactive, the body is relaxed. You are resting, restoring physical strength.
Follows slow sleep and lasts 10 to 20 minutes. The temperature and pressure rise, the heart beats faster. The body is immobilized, except for the muscles responsible for heartbeat and breathing. Under the closed eyelids, the eyeballs make rapid movements (hence the name - BDG). The brain is actively working. You are dreaming.
The Non-REM and REM phases alternate with each other. First, you fall into slow sleep and go through all its stages. This takes about 90 minutes. Then comes the REM sleep phase. The first time it is short, no more than 5 minutes. This circle is called the sleep cycle. The cycles are repeated. At the same time, the proportion of slow sleep decreases and the duration of fast sleep increases (up to 1 hour). A healthy person usually goes through five sleep cycles at a time.
REM sleep is referred to as the fifth stage of sleep. Currently, the state of the sleeper is maximally active. But, despite this, his muscles are paralyzed, and the person is in one position. The subconscious mind works well enough that all dreams can be memorized.
If you wake up the sleeping person during the fast phase, then he will be able to tell all dreams in the most colorful and vivid details.
In the fourth stage, waking up on your own is hard enough. If you try to wake the sleeping person, you will need more effort. Some experts point out that a sharp transition from such a period to wakefulness can negatively affect the psyche. REM sleep takes about 60 minutes.
Most importantly, sleep is a guarantee of health. During sleep, several important hormones are produced, tissue regeneration takes place, and physical strength is replenished. The brain is also not idle: some of its areas become even more active than during wakefulness.
Have you noticed that when you want to sleep, some tasks seem too difficult, but once you get enough sleep, the solution comes by itself? The fact is that during sleep, selective, that is, selective, memory erasure occurs. The brain analyzes the information received during the day: the unnecessary is sent to the "basket", and the important is "archived" from short-term memory into long-term memory. This is how our memories are formed. Perception, concentration and learning ability are improved.
Lack of sleep impairs the functioning of certain areas of the brain. For example, inhibition of neural processes in the parietal lobe is observed, which can cause problems with the speed of the reaction. And when the work of the prefrontal cortex slows down, it is difficult for a person to formulate thoughts, there may be vision problems. Fatigue of the brain turns into a whole bunch of negative consequences.
The consequences of lack of sleep
Sleep and circadian rhythms
In ancient times, people lived according to the laws of nature - everything depended on the change of time of day. After all, there were only two "lamps": during the day - the sun, at night - the moon. This has shaped the human circadian rhythms.
This is the body's internal clock that determines the intensity of various biological processes (thermoregulation, digestion, hormone production, and so on).
The circadian frequency of sleep and wakefulness is dependent on light. The visual receptors respond to the level of light and send a signal to the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the brain. This kicks off the production of two important hormones responsible for sleep and awakening: melatonin and cortisol.
Melatonin is a sleep hormone. Produced in the pineal gland when it gets dark. It lowers blood pressure and temperature, calms the body, and gives it the command "Time to sleep!" Melatonin synthesis stops in the morning. The lighter, the more cortisol is released into the blood. This hormone wakes us up, gives vigor and energy for the accomplishment of a new day.
This determines the 24-hour circadian rhythm of sleep and wakefulness: it gets dark - melatonin gives us the opportunity to rest, the sun rises - cortisol wakes us up. But how long does it take to sleep to be healthy and positive? After all, for example, in summer the nights are shorter than in winter, and artificial lighting allows you to adjust the natural schedule.
Insomnia is a sleep disorder that results in insufficient sleep duration and / or poor-quality sleep. It is found in people of all ages. Insomnia can be chronic (lasting a month or more) and acute (several nights in a row).
In addition, insomnia can be a companion of somatic and neurological diseases. Here you need to see a doctor. But in most cases, you can get rid of insomnia on your own. One of the best ways to fight isomnia - to play some special videos from @asleepmusic YouTube Channel with Rain Sounds, Lullabies and Music for Stress Relief
How to fall asleep easy
Most often, our own thoughts prevent us from falling asleep. Not always pleasant.
There are various techniques for stopping the round dance in the head. For example, visualization. Imagine yourself dozing on the beach with the waves lapping. The more detailed the picture, the faster you will find yourself in the kingdom of Morpheus. Another technique is auto-training: "My eyelids get heavy, I fall asleep ...". You can also run the events of the passing day in reverse order or fantasize and tell yourself a bedtime story.
Try focusing on your own breathing as well: inhaling deeply through your nose for 4 seconds, holding your breath for 7 seconds, and exhaling slowly through your mouth for 8 seconds. Thanks to this exercise, you will calm down, and while counting the seconds, you will have no time to think about something else.
Say thanks to the passing day. To whom or what are you grateful to today? In terms of positive psychology, expressing gratitude strengthens interpersonal relationships and is highly motivating. Falling asleep with good thoughts, you set yourself up to continue the chain of goodness tomorrow.
Sometimes we cannot sleep because of some trifle such as an uncomfortable position or a "chemical" smell from the bed linen. But in the science of sleep there are no trifles. Pay attention to the body position in which you usually wake up. Lie down like this the next time you cannot sleep. Use special candles or an essential oil lamp to infuse your bedroom with the soothing scent of lavender.
But most importantly, develop and observe evening rituals that tune the body to sleep.
Correct evening rituals
The golden rules for good sleep
How to wake up early
Wake up at 6 o'clock in the morning! Sounds like a sentence. Can you imagine how difficult it will be to take your head off the pillow and how bad it will be during the day? But this will only be so if the duration of sleep is disturbed. Waking up early doesn't mean sleeping less. Waking up early means sticking to a regimen. For example, if the rise is scheduled for 7:00, then you need to go to bed no later than 22:00.
Why do you want to get up early? Find your motivation. The word "must" does not work. Just by forcing yourself, you will inevitably break the regime. Perhaps you dream of losing weight and improving your health? Start jogging in the morning or join the pool. Many of them open early so people can swim before work. Not enough time for self-development? Early morning is perfect for this. Everyone is still asleep, no one will bother you to write a note to your blog, read your favorite book, draw, or, say, lie in the bath for a longer time.
Correct morning rituals
Now take a shower, exercise, meditate, and have breakfast. In any order. Physical activity and a contrast shower will increase your adrenaline levels, a nutritious breakfast will finally awaken your metabolism, and meditation will help you tune in to the new day.
A few more life hacks that will help make your morning good: