No More Counting Sheep (Part 2)

Part 2 of 2 – Two-Part Article: No More Counting Sheep!

How Much Sleep Do You Really Need?

The true purpose of sleep is unknown. We do know bad things happen when we don’t get enough sleep. Although research has not pinpointed the exact amount of sleep needed at different ages, this new chart, which features minimum and maximum ranges for health, as well as “recommended” windows, identifies the “rule-of-thumb” amounts experts agree upon.

Nevertheless, individual sleep needs may vary; therefore assessing how you feel on different amounts of sleep is also recommended. Research has found for some that require less sleep there may be a genetic link that requires less sleep for these individuals. Sleep deprivation can be contributed to stress, an illness or even bad habits.

Addressing these issues can lead to resolve and may take seeking the advice from a holistic health professional like myself as your first line of action. If the problem is more severe, you may want to consult a sleep specialist. One is listed at the end of the article. Next month’s issue will address sleep disorders.

General Information

Circadian rhythm is a natural, internal system designed to regulate feelings of sleepiness and wakefulness over a 24-hour period. An area in the brain that responds to light controls this system. Bright lights in the evening can confuse the brain thinking it is daytime and may impact the cycle or quality of sleep. If you have a problem falling asleep, or getting good sleep, limiting evening electronics such as phone, laptops and iPads should be avoided a few hours before bedtime.

The 5 Sleep Stages

There are 4 non-rem (rapid eye movement) and rem. Each sleep cycle starts at stage one and ending at REM. Each complete cycle takes 90 – 110 minutes. Below are the five stages of sleep.

Non-Rem State – (4 Stages)

1) Stage 1 sleep is dozing off/light sleep state. Your eye movements and body functions slow down. In this state, you may feel a falling sensation or jerky movements. This is because motor areas of the brain are being spontaneously stimulated and is a normal occurrence.

2) Stage 2 is a light sleep state – This is the stage where about 50% of your time is spent sleeping. In this stage your eye movement and brain waves slow down.

3) Stage 3 is the first stage of the deep sleep state – It is represented by the slowest of brain wave activity called delta waves. This is the stage that is very hard to wake someone up from and when you do they are usually groggy and disoriented for several minutes.

4) Stage 4 is the second stage of deep sleep. Here, the brain is making the delta waves exclusively and therefore very difficult to waken. Both stages of deep of sleep are vital for feeling refreshed and if cut short the feeling of “well rested” will not be satisfied.

5) REM sleep is the sleep stage in which dreaming occurs. When you enter REM sleep, your heart rate, blood pressure and breathing increase, and your eyes will move rapidly back and forth while the muscles become immobile. In adults, REM sleep accounts for 20% of the sleep cycle. This stage is where consolidation and processing of the days information takes place. REM sleep is important for the creation of long-term memories. If the REM cycle is interrupted, the next sleep cycle will start with REM until made up and then will follow normal stage 1-5 cycle. If one gets up before the REM sleep cycle is finished, the next night sleep cycle will start with REM until the previous night’s lost REM sleep cycle is made up.

Source: National Sleep Foundation

Some Sleep Myths Debunked

  1. The older you are the less sleep you need. False.

  2. When sleeping, the brain is completely inactive. False.

  3. Sleep deficits have no impact on medical and mental health. False. It can have negative side effects such as depression, heart disease and weight gain. With sleep deprivation, just like with stress, there is an automatic increase in Ghrelin and decrease in Leptin. Ghrelin that tells you to eat, and Leptin dictates when to stop eating.

  4. Sleeping pills are harmless. False. Studies have shown users of common sleeping pills have higher risk of death and cancer.

  5. Everyone needs 8 hours of sleep. False. There may be a genetic link why some people need less. How you feel and function is the indicator.

There are many natural supplements available that help with inducing sleep. To name a few, melatonin, 5HTP, Valerian root, Reishi and homeopathic blends such as Calms Forte. Exercise and stress management are also a natural and healthy approach to getting a good night sleep. You can always consult your holistic health specialist, or me for an individual evaluation on what your triggers are and what supplement and/or regime is best suited for you.

Jody Danese D.C.,Lac.                                                                            Sleep Specialist: Brian Licuanan, PHD, MS

1303 Avocado Ave, Ste 120                                   Or                              714-469-1418

Newport Beach 949-637-2727                                                                 brianlicuanan@hotmail.com

                                                                                                                        Newport, Tustin, Laguna Niguel