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How Does Your Sleep Cycle Work

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Why Is It Important To Align Your Sleep Schedule With Your Internal Clock

What Are Sleep Cycles? – Everything You Need To Know!

When your sleep schedule does not match your internal clock, it can cause a myriad of mental and physical issues. Some like grogginess slow reaction time, lower brain functioning, and increases irritability. All of these can be felt immediately after not getting enough sleep. Other possible side effects caused by poor sleep quality may not be noticeable at first, but over time can cause more serious health problems such as diabetes, obesity, seasonal affective disorder, depression, insomnia, and other sleep disorders.

Pay Special Attention To What Food And Drinks You Consume

It may seem a bit obvious, but avoid any caffeine after midday. Caffeine may help you perk up in the morning because it is a stimulant but avoid any caffeine intake later in the day. It can prevent you from sleeping at night. This is particularly important when you are trying to shift your sleep schedule but maybe beneficial once it has been normalized, as well.

Your digestion is also tied to your circadian rhythm so make sure you eat dinner at least two to three hours before bed. This will allow your body time to digest your food before it focuses on other health regenerative tasks while your rest. If you set a regular dinner time it can also work as a subtle hint to your body that sleep is approaching within a few hours.

Neurotransmitters And Your Sleep

Some neurotransmitters help your body recharge while you sleep. They can even help you to remember things that you learned, heard, or saw while you were awake. The neurotransmitter acetylcholine is at its strongest both during REM sleep and while you are awake. It seems to help your brain keep information gathered while you are awake. It then sets that information as you sleep. So if you study or learn new information in the hours before bed, “sleeping on it” can help you remember it.

Other neurotransmitters may work against you as you sleep. Abnormalities with the neurotransmitter dopamine may trigger sleep disorders such as restless legs syndrome.

Even losing just 1 hour of sleep over a few days can have an effect. It can lead to a decrease in performance, mood, and thinking. Getting regular, adequate amounts of sleep is important. It can help you feel awake and refreshed during the day. It can also help you feel relaxed and sleepy at night. This helps make you ready for a long, restful night of sleep.

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What Is A Sleep Debt

If you havent slept well or long enough for a few days, you might create a sleep debt. Once your debt builds up, you may feel physically and mentally exhausted. Try to make sure you get enough sleep every night to avoid creating this debt. You cant necessarily make up your debt by sleeping a lot on the weekends. Its best to get enough sleep all week long.

What Are The Best Tips For Resetting Your Sleep Routine

What Happens To Your Brain When You Sleep?

There are multiple elements to a healthy sleep routine. Setting a consistent sleep schedule is a start, but other steps can help you achieve the sleep you need.

Sleep hygiene plays an essential role in making your sleep routine effective. One fundamental part of sleep hygiene is ensuring that your daily habits and sleep environment are conducive to sleep and work in your favor:

If you have significant sleeping problems, talk with your doctor about the best way to reset your sleep routine. Depending on the causes of your sleep difficulties, a doctor may recommend therapies to adjust your sleep routine such as:

  • Melatonin: This hormone is made naturally by the body when darkness falls, and it helps stabilize circadian rhythm and promote sleep. For some sleep conditions, melatonin supplements can help kickstart a new sleep pattern.
  • Light Therapy: This treatment involves sitting in front of a high-powered lamp for a short period of time, usually in the morning. The high dose of light is designed to help correct for a misaligned circadian rhythm.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia : This type of therapy works to identify and reorient negative thoughts and behaviors about sleep, while structuring a plan for a healthier sleep routine.

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How Sleep Cycle Works

Sleep is the platform on which nutrition, exercise and mindfulness reside. But these pillars for your health arent nearly as efficient if your sleeps not working. Some sleep a lot, like the endearing sloth that clocks in about 15-18 hours per day. But the mighty elephant only logs 2 hours per night. But what does a normal sleep cycle look like for humans? We end up somewhere in between, most of us needing 7 to 9 hours each night to recover and restore.

Sleep Cycle helps you to better health through better sleep. At its heart, it tracks your sleep cycles by listening to your sounds. It analyses those sounds by help of ever-evolving machine learning algorithms, and presents the results to you and helps you understand your sleep with unique data analysis and graphs. The habits that influence it and what you can do to improve your rest and recovery.

How To Use Light To Reboot Your Circadian Rhythm

The sleep-wake cycle is regulated by the bodys internal 24-hour clock the circadian rhythm. But spending too much time indoors may be disrupting it.

Light is the strongest mechanism we have for synchronizing our internal body clocks with the world around us. But our everyday lives, which are often spent indoors in dim artificial light, easily throw our natural circadian rhythm out of sync.

And that isnt only affecting our sleep. Researchers have shown as many as 73 traits from alertness to strength wax and wane depending on the time of day. Our mood also seems to be affected by the amount of light we are exposed to. Recent research shows that our ipRGCs the cells that help regulate our internal sleep cycle also connect to the thalamus, an area of the brain related to our mood.

While a one-off disruption to our sleep-wake cycle may typically leave us feeling less alert or sleepy during the day, a long-term breakdown of the circadian rhythm can lead to more serious health consequences. In all, dozens of diseases from cardiovascular dysfunction, to immune dysregulation and reproductive problems are all linked either directly or indirectly to circadian disruption.

So how can you reset your internal body clock? Here are two of the best ways you can adjust the light in your life to help bring your natural sleep cycle back into sync:

  • Spend a bit more time outdoors or close to a source of natural sunlight.
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    How Can You Have A Healthier Sleep Cycle

    While you dont have full control of your sleep cycle, you can take steps to improve your chances of having a healthy progression through each sleep stage.

    A key step is to focus on improving your sleep hygiene, which refers to your sleep environment and sleep-related habits. Achieving a more consistent sleep schedule, getting natural daylight exposure, avoiding alcohol before bedtime, and eliminating noise and light disruptions can help you get uninterrupted sleep and promote proper alignment of your circadian rhythm.

    If you find that you have excessive daytime sleepiness or otherwise suspect that you might have a sleep disorder like sleep apnea, its important to talk with a doctor who can most appropriately guide your care. Addressing underlying issues may pave the way for more complete and restorative sleep cycles.

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    How Much Sleep Do You Need

    How to Break Eat, Work and Sleep Cycle?

    Your need for sleep and your sleep patterns change as you age, but this varies significantly across individuals of the same age. There is no magic number of sleep hours that works for everybody of the same age. Babies initially sleep as much as 16 to 18 hours per day, which may boost growth and development . School-age children and teens on average need about 9.5 hours of sleep per night. Most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep a night, but after age 60, nighttime sleep tends to be shorter, lighter, and interrupted by multiple awakenings. Elderly people are also more likely to take medications that interfere with sleep.

    In general, people are getting less sleep than they need due to longer work hours and the availability of round-the-clock entertainment and other activities.

    Many people feel they can “catch up” on missed sleep during the weekend but, depending on how sleep-deprived they are, sleeping longer on the weekends may not be adequate.

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    Make Your Morning Bright And Full Of Light

    For the same reasons listed above, exposing yourself to light in the morning will help to reset your internal sleep clock. Manipulating your light exposure can send a signal to your brain that it is time to restart the sleep-wake cycle. Expose yourself to bright, natural light, if possible during the hours you wish to start your morning and gradually lessen your light exposure as the day progresses. This will mimic a normal day for you and causing your sleep schedule to shift in the right direction.

    What Are Good Sleep Habits

    Good sleep habits, also called good sleep hygiene, are practices to help you get enough quality sleep.

    • Have a sleep schedule: Go to sleep and wake up around the same time every day, even on weekends and vacations.
    • Clear your mind before bed: Make a to-do list early in the evening, so you wont stay awake in bed and worry about the next day.
    • Create a good sleep environment: Make sure your bed and pillows are comfortable. Turn down the lights and avoid loud sounds. Keep the room at a comfortable temperature.
    • Exercise every day: Stay active but try to avoid exercising during the few hours right before bed.
    • Relax: Before bed, take a warm bath, read or do another relaxing activity.
    • See your healthcare provider: If youve been having trouble sleeping or feel extra drowsy during the day, talk to your provider. There are many treatments available for sleep disorders.

    Dont:

    A note from Cleveland Clinic

    Far from being a state of doing nothing, sleep is an essential part of our lives. It helps our body rest, recharge and repair. There are four sleep stages three in the non-REM phase plus REM sleep. Many factors can affect sleep quality, including the food and drink you consume before bed and room temperature. Many people experience trouble sleeping now and then. But if you think you may have a sleep disorder, talk to your healthcare provider. Common sleep disorders include insomnia and sleep apnea . Your provider can help you get the diagnosis and treatment you need.

    References

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    Filter Out Natural And Artificial Light As Your Ideal Bedtime Approaches

    Your internal clock receives light information from your retinas in your eyes and uses this information to signal other parts of your brain, including the gland that releases melatonin. As we discussed above, the release of melatonin alerts your body that it is time for sleep.

    Therefore, exposure to light suppresses the production and release of melatonin, making it harder to fall asleep. For this reason, minimizing your light exposure from electronics and dimming household lighting when you are approaching the time for bed can help you fall asleep faster and easier.

    It may seem hard to follow this tip considering how much we tend to use electronics. Still, this is our topmost advice on how to change your sleep schedule, so dont ignore its potential benefits. When bedtime approaches, turn off your TV, tablet, computer, and phone. Most phones have a function that allows you to set personal limits on your screen time and we highly encourage this if you have difficulty putting down your phone at night.

    What Are Sleep Disorders

    How to Break the Stress

    According to the American Sleep Association, at least 40 million Americans experience sleep disorders each year. Another 20 million have occasional sleep issues. These disorders cause sleep deprivation, leading to problems with work, school, driving and social activities.

    There are more than 70 sleep disorders. A few, known as disruptive sleep disorders, lead to moving around or making sounds. Other sleep disorders involve food. And some sleep disorders overlap with psychiatric conditions. If you have problems with sleep or feel very tired, talk to your healthcare provider about a possible sleep disorder.

    Some of the most common sleep disorders include:

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    Why Do The Sleep Stages Matter

    Sleep stages are important because they allow the brain and body to recuperate and develop. Failure to obtain enough of both deep sleep and REM sleep may explain some of the profound consequences of insufficient sleep on thinking, emotions, and physical health.

    Sleepers who are frequently awoken during earlier stages, such as people with sleep apnea, may struggle to properly cycle into these deeper sleep stages. People with insomnia may not get enough total sleep to accumulate the needed time in each stage.

    The Method Behind The Madness

    When we sleep, we go through something called a sleep cycle , which means not all sleep is equal. Without getting too technical, we drift through various stages of light and deep sleep as our body and our brains rest. We go through multiple sleep cycles a night, and on average one sleep cycle takes about one or two hours to complete.

    Now when you set a regular alarm clock to ring at a particular time, it will go off at that set time and wake you up regardless of where you are in your sleep cycle. This can rip you out of a very deep sleep very abruptly, and that’s why someday you wake up feeling groggy and tired. This is where Sleep Cycle comes in and saves the day.

    Sleep Cycle aims to wake you up when you are are in the very light stage of your sleep cycle which means you aren’t being ripped out of a deep sleep. This leads to waking up feeling more refreshed and less tired.

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    How To Use Sleep Cycles To Wake Up With More Energy

    If youve reached the point where you hit snooze five times before begrudgingly falling out of bed, youre not alone. Lots of us dont get adequate sleep at night, despite an overload of information about its benefits. Sometimes, we hit the hay with the best intentions, but somehow still wake up hazy after what we thought was an early night. Whats going on here?

    The problem is weve moved away from natural sleep cycles and into structured, scheduled lifestyles. Everything controls our time – from smartphones to our screaming children and bosses. While you cant control a tantrum, you can schedule your sleep and wake times to align with your cycles. Use your sleep cycles to wake up with more energy rather than swimming upstream.

    Sleep Cycles

    While sleep might pass in the blink of an eye, your body is quite active during the long night. Sleepers will experience four distinct cycles, including REM sleep, during which activity shifts in the brain.

    Stage One:

    This is the stage where youre just falling asleep. Sometimes you can still hear whats going on in the room, but youre also too groggy to interact. Your brain produces alpha and theta waves here for a brief 5-7 minute period. Its light sleep, as an introduction to whats coming for the rest of the night.

    Stage Two:

    Stages Three/Four:

    REM Sleep:

    The Trick to Sleeping Better – Multiples of 90 min

    Tricks to Falling Asleep

    Melatonin

    Carbs before bed

    Ear Plugs, White Noise, Music, or a Sleep Podcast

    Kimber Rozier, CSCS

    What Should I Know About Fitbit Sleep Stages

    Understanding our sleep cycle: REM and non-REM sleep

    If you use a Fitbit device with heart-rate tracking to track your sleep, you can see a record of the sleep stages you cycle through at night. This article answers frequently asked questions about sleep stages.

    While youre asleep each night, your body typically goes through several sleep cycles that last on average 90 minutes. In each cycle you alternate between two types of sleep:

    Light Sleep and Deep SleepWith less brain activity than REM sleep, non-rapid eye movement includes the stages of light sleep and deep sleep. Periods of deep sleep are typically longer early in the night.

    Rapid Eye Movement SleepThe stage associated with vivid dreams, REM sleep periods are typically longer as the night goes on .

    During a sleep cycle, its most common to go from light sleep to deep sleep, back to light sleep, and then into REM sleep. Then the cycle generally repeats, but sleep patterns vary naturally.

    Sleep stages are traditionally measured in a lab using an electroencephalogram to detect brain activity along with other systems to monitor eye and muscle activity. While this method is the gold standard for measuring sleep stages , your device can estimate your sleep stages in a more comfortable, convenient way.

    Fitbits sleep researchers and the National Sleep Foundation describe the following sleep stages. The names of the stages are what weve chosen to use in your Fitbit sleep log.

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    How Does Fitbit Track Sleep And What Is The Fitbit Sleep Score

    With all the changes in routine and activity levels, sleep patterns for you and your employees may be fluctuating more than normal. Sleep is an essential component of health, and its timing, duration, and quality are critical determinants of a persons overall health, playing a role in metabolic and emotional regulation, performance, and memory.

    The best way to know if you are getting enough zzzs is not to guess, but to track it. Your employees can easily track their nightly sleep with a Fitbit device. Doing so can help you look for patterns and recognize when you need to get more rest and recharge.

    Sleep Stages and the Fitbit Sleep Score

    Fitbits sleep feature estimates sleep stages using a combination of movement and heart-rate patterns. When you havent moved for about an hour, your tracker or smartwatch assumes that youre asleep. Additional data, such as the length of time of movements that are indicative of sleep behavior , can also help confirm that youre asleep.

    While youre sleeping, your device tracks the beat-to-beat changes in your heart rate, known as heart rate variability . These numbers fluctuate as you transition between light sleep, deep sleep, and REM sleep stages. When you sync your device in the morning, Fitbit uses movement and heart rate patterns to estimate sleep cycles from the previous night.

    Most Fitbit users get a sleep score between 72 and 83. Typical sleep score ranges are:

    • Excellent: 90-100
    • Poor: Less than 60

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