What Is Heart Rate Variability
Heart rate variability is the measure of the time variation between your heartbeats. This variation is controlled by your autonomic nervous system . Your ANS regulates your heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, digestion, and other areas of life.
Through the ANS, your hypothalamus sends important information to different parts of your body. It sends signals to induce rest and relaxation. At night, it helps you to fall and stay asleep. However, if you are leading an unhealthy lifestyle, eating a poor diet, stressed out and not exercising enough, or if other factors are involved that may affect your sleep, then your hypothalamus and ANS will have a more difficult job helping you sleep.
Tracking your HRV is a simple, noninvasive, and a fascinating way to check ANS imbalances. When your HRV is low, it means that your body is stressed and in fight-or-flight mode, whereas, higher HRV means a more relaxed and healthier state. Low HRV may be associated with depression, anxiety, health issues, or even the risk of cardiovascular disease or death.
Tracking Sleep Through Smart Technology
Millions of people are using smartphone apps, bedside monitors, and wearable items to informally collect and analyze data about their sleep. Smart technology can record sounds and movement during sleep, journal hours slept, and monitor heart beat and respiration. Using a companion app, data from some devices can be synced to a smartphone or tablet, or uploaded to a PC. Other apps and devices make white noise, produce light that stimulates melatonin production, and use gentle vibrations to help us sleep and wake.
Can It Cure Sleep Apnea
Small studies have shown a link between marijuana use and improvements in the symptoms of this condition. It does this in two ways:
In the study cited above, the sample size was relatively small. To say for sure that weed can cure sleep apnea, larger and more complete studies need to be performed.
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Will It Work For Me
After reading up about all the good things Lions Mane can do for the body and brain, perhaps the question on everyones mind is: Will it work for me? While some report these positive effects on their sleep and overall health, some barely notice anything different. This could mean that the medicinal mushroom affects people differently. Therefore, before buying any product, make sure to consult with an expert. Seek the counsel of a medical doctor prior to taking any medicinal mushrooms, especially together with medication, to see if they can result in any unwanted side effects on the body.
The Two Types Of Sleep
– The first 4 stages of sleep are categorized based on characteristics of the body and brain during sleep. Brainwave frequencies differentiate each stage, along with other biologic rhythms.
– Stage 1 is the lightest stage of sleep falling asleep, but not quite there yet.
– Stage 2 is light sleep youre drifting off as your heart rate slows and your body temperature drops.
– Stage 3 & 4 Slow Wave Sleep occurs these are deepest levels of sleep and sometimes even noises as loud as 100 decibels will not wake a Stage 4 sleeper!
– This is when you dream!
– The body becomes relaxed and immobilized .
– Associated with intense brain activity as the brain becomes more active.
– Was almost called Jerky Eye Movement but Aserinksy was afraid that critics would scathe him by playing on the word jerk.
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Improving Your Rem Sleep
There are apps and tools on the market that are helpful in quantifying how long you sleep and how much you toss and turn during the night. By measuring things like changes in heart rate, they may be able to estimate your REM sleep as well. But its also true that by simply focusing on getting a solid night of sleep, you will likely improve your chances of getting a sufficient amount of the all-important REM stage, too.
How to make sure you get the sleep you need? Wind down gradually in the evening, without TV or computers to distract you with their sleep-inhibiting blue light. Head to bed at the same time each evening to increase your odds of developing a healthy sleep schedule. And limit caffeine and alcohol before bed to improve your overall sleep.
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Substance Use And Withdrawal
- Opioid medications
Caffeine is the stimulant found in coffee, tea, and many other beverages. Caffeine may reduce deep sleep. This effect can even happen hours after you consume it.
Benzodiazepines, the class of tranquilizer drugs that includes Valium , may also reduce deep sleep. Opioid medications can have the same effect.
Some medications may increase deep sleep. These include:
Trazodone is an older antidepressant that is often used as a sleep aid. This drug appears to interact with histamines, compounds released during allergic reactions. This seems to increase deep sleep.
Some sleep aids don’t seem to impact deep sleep one way or another. These non-benzodiazepine sleep aids include:
- Ambien, Zolpimist, Edluar
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What Does Your Body Do
Several things occur when you slip from NREM to REM sleep:
– Your heart beats faster This is due to alterations in the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems during REM sleep.
– Your body is largely inactive perhaps to keep people from acting out their dreams, the body relaxes to the point of inactivity. This is different from sleep paralysis, which is when you awaken while your body is still in this state.
– Your body temperature drops As part of the human bodys natural circadian rhythm, your temperature drops while you sleep, as warmth interrupts the neurotransmitters that help you stay asleep
Use An Eye Mask To Block Light
Similar to sound, light also has a drastic effect on the quality of sleep you get each night. If you have a partner who likes to read with the light on or if you work night shifts and catch up on your zzzs during the day, an eye mask can help. One study found that the use of eye masks on participants resulted in more REM sleep and elevated melatonin levels.
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How To Use It For A Good Nights Rest
How you choose to ingest marijuana to promote rest is a matter of personal preference. Some people prefer to smoke it as a joint or in a bong or pipe. Others prefer not to inhale the smoke and choose to vape or use a tincture, which is a mixture that you place under your tongue.
Dosing can be a bit tricky and may require experimentation. If youre a beginner, avoid the temptation to try an edible. While they tend to have a longer-last effect, they take longer to kick in, and dosing can be a guessing game.
Start conservatively. The worst case scenario is that you wake up in the middle of the night and need to take another dose. We do caution against doing another dose within four hours of when you need to wake up. Otherwise, you risk excessive grogginess in the morning.
Better Than Cbd For Sleep
YouTube vlogger Katie Type A conducted her own two-week experiment on Lions Mane tincture vs. CBD oil, a Cannabidiol extract from the cannabis plant, and their effects on sleep. The results showed that Lions Mane had more effects in her REM sleep than deep sleep while taking CBD had increased effects in her deep sleep than REM sleep.
Perhaps the most crucial finding in her experiment is that with the REM sleep improved through Lions Mane, as research dictates, the brains ability to learn and form new memories is, as well, refined.
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The Science Of Sleep: Understanding What Happens When You Sleep
Sleep accounts for one-quarter to one-third of the human lifespan. But whatexactly happens when you sleep?
Before the 1950s, most people believed sleep was a passive activity during which the body and brain were dormant. But it turns out that sleep is a period during which the brain is engaged in a number of activities necessary to lifewhich are closely linked to quality of life, says Johns Hopkins sleep expert and neurologist Researchers like Wu are spending many of their waking hours trying to learn more about these processes and how they affect mental and physical health. Here is a glimpse into the powerful findings of sleep researchersand what theyre still trying to discover about the science of sleep.
For People Who Who Want To Lower Risks Of Certain Conditions
Lowering the risks for certain conditions such as Alzheimers disease, heart diseases, diabetes, and stroke, is one of the many benefits of deep sleep. As the blood circulation in your body is increased during deep sleep, it can help you avoid these conditions along with the right diet and exercise.
Lack of deep sleep causes the accumulation of beta-amyloid plaques that causes memory impairment that may lead to Alzheimers disease. With enough sleep, the risk for this condition will be lowered.
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Change Behaviors And Environment
More research on the effects of behavior and the environment on deep sleep is needed. Exercise and daytime physical activity may help. Unfortunately, we’re less certain about details like the timing of physical activity.
It may also help to take a warm bath or shower about 90 minutes before you go to bed. A cooler bedroom could also improve deep sleep. Light, noise, and warmer temperatures may have the opposite effect.
Devices that emit electrical patterns, vibrations, sounds, or light may help enhance deep sleep. There is also a headband on the market that claims to improve deep sleep by changing your brain waves, but its effectiveness is unproven.
How Do Your Sleep Stages Stack Up
When you click on the sleep tile from your Fitbit dashboard and then choose Today, youll be able to see how much time you spent in each sleep stage and what percent of your total nights sleep that stage constituted.
On average, light sleep will take up about 50 to 60 percent or more of your night. Whether you get more or less light sleep isnt really going to affect how you feel too much, because its just whatever time is left thats not spent in deep sleep or REM, says Grandner. Its sort of the remainder.
Deep sleep, on the other hand is likely to take up 10 to 25 percent of your sleep. Theres no real way to get too much deep sleep, says Grandner. Your body has its own natural drive for it, so once you meet that, the need will dissipate and youll just start going into REM and light sleep.
Too little, on the other hand, and sleep becomes unrefreshing. The two main things that can lead to less deep sleep is agepeople naturally get less as they get olderand anything that interferes with your sleep, like pain, illness, medical problems, sleep apnea, and other sleep disorders, says Grandner. They can keep you out of deep sleep artificially, which makes your sleep a little more shallow. Also, shift work. Your body wants to get into deep sleep at night, and it wants to avoid deep sleep during the day, says Grandner. So you have a natural delay of how long it will take you to get into it.
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What Is Total Sleep
Total Sleep Time refers to your total sleep episode minus awake time. In other words, total sleep is the number of hours you spend actually sleeping. Awake time includes the time it takes to fall asleep as well as those tosses and turns you make after a bad dream.
Total sleep influences your daytime sleepiness, physical performance, and mental acuity. Very short and very long total sleep times are associated with poorer working memory and verbal fluency, especially among adolescents. While you cant judge sleep quality on length of sleep alone, its an indicator of sleep health.
Inhibits Rem Sleep And Dreaming
Even though marijuana has been shown to increase the amount of time spent in deep sleep stages, it comes at a price. The increase in those stages equates to less time in REM . The REM stage is where dreams occur.
For people suffering from PTSD, they may be relieved to get a respite from nightmares. However, scientists caution against the long-term effects of fiddling with the brains balance. REM is believed to help with the formation of memories and maintaining a healthy chemical equilibrium in the brain.
If youre a long-term cannabis user and suddenly stop consuming, youre likely to experience a dramatic increase in REM sleep. This is referred to as a REM rebound and signifies that the body is always seeking balance.
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Sleep & Brain Detoxification
Sleep is not only important for rest and relaxation but also for brain detoxification and brain health. It may be surprising, but sleeping may literally help to clear your mind.
A 2013 study funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and published in Science has found that the space between your brain cells increase while you are sleeping . This space increase allows your brain to release toxin buildup from your wakeful times. As a result, sleep changes your brains cellular structure.
How does this happen? With the help of your glymphatic system, which is your bodys plumbing system. The term glymphatic refers to your glial cells, which support, nourish, protect, and isolate your neurons and play an essential role in your immune and glymphatic system. Your glymphatic system allows the efficient removal of soluble proteins and metabolites from your CNS with the help of a system of perivascular tunnels.
Your glymphatic system also helps the brain-wide allocation of glucose, amino acids, lipids, neuromodulators, and growth factors. Since your glymphatic system mainly functions during your sleep and is mostly withdrawn during hours of wakefulness.
The study suggests that while you are sleeping, your glymphatic system opens up allowing better fluid flow through the brain. The glymphatic system also plays a role in controlling the flow of cerebrospinal fluid around your brain and spinal cord.
Are All Sleep Cycles The Same
It is normal for sleep cycles to change as you progress through your nightly sleep. The first sleep cycle is often the shortest, ranging from 70-100 minutes, while later cycles tend to fall between 90 and 120 minutes. In addition, the composition of each cycle how much time is spent in each sleep stage changes as the night goes along.
Sleep cycles can vary from person to person and from night to night based on a wide range of factors such as age, recent sleep patterns, and alcohol consumption.
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How To Get More Deep Sleep
The most important thing that you can do to increase your amount of deep sleep is to allow yourself adequate total sleep time. Often, individuals will deprive themselves of adequate total sleep. In addition to reducing deep sleep, REM sleep is also shortened.
There is some data to suggest that vigorous exercise can increase or consolidate deep sleep. Some sleep specialists recommend aerobic activities like jogging, running, and swimming. For those who are prone to insomnia, it is best to exercise earlier in the day and not before bedtime.
How The Glymphatic System Works
A 2015 study published in Neurochemical Research has also found that the glymphatic system is a waste collector that picks up toxins and waste in your brain and nervous system . Your glymphatic system works best during less active periods, especially during sleep, making sleep the perfect time for brain detoxification.
The way this works is rather complicated, but to better understand it, we can break it down into three steps. First, cerebrospinal fluid fills off your glymphatic system. This fluid serves as a garbage collector of toxins, proteins, and other waste products flowing in the system. Since keeping garbage in your system is not a good idea, your brain releases this waste at different drainage sites where it can leave your body along with other types of waste products.
One of the most important waste products that your glymphatic system helps to remove the beta-amyloid proteins. According to the Alzheimers Association, beta amyloid proteins plays a role in the development of Alzheimers disease .
Supporting the glymphatic system and getting good sleep, therefore, is very important in reducing your risk of Alzheimers by detoxifying beta-amyloid proteins. You can learn more about the glymphatic system and its brain health benefits by reading this article.
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What Are The Health Benefits Of Rem Sleep
Several studies in recent years have suggested that REM sleep can affect how accurately people can read emotions and process external stimuli. Walkers research, for example, has demonstrated that people who achieved REM sleep during a nap were better able to judge facial expressions afterward than those whod napped without reaching REM.
Walker and his colleagues have also found that people who view emotional images before getting a good nights sleep are less likely to have strong reactions to the same images the next day, compared to those who didnt sleep well. I think of dreaming as overnight therapy, Walker says. It provides a nocturnal soothing balm that takes the short edges off of our emotional experiences so we feel better the next day.
Adding to that research, the most recent study from researchers at Rutgers University suggests that the quality of a persons sleep before a traumatic event can play a role in how the brain reacts to a scary situation. The more REM, the weaker the fear-related effect, the authors write in their paper.
Researchers arent certain why this happens. But the part of the brain that secretes norepinephrine during wakefulness and non-REM sleep takes a break during REM sleep. Norepinephrine is associated with stress, and it affects the degree to which the amygdala the fear center of the brain is sensitive to stimuli, says Itamar Lerner, co-author of the new paper and a postdoctoral sleep researcher at Rutgers University.