Ever wonder what your body is doing while you are fast asleep? Well your body goes through six phases when you are peacefully resting. During the night, you drift in and out of sleep which is considered stage one. The muscles in your body are beginning to slow down and your eyes start to move slowly. In stage two, the brain waves slow down with burst of brain activity. For stages three and four, your body is in a deep sleep. The last two stages are known as Rapid Eye Movement (REM). This is when your muscles stop moving completely. The brain shows signs of sorting and organizing your memories. So say you wake up the next morning and remember images from your dreams, well it happens in the REM stage.
How much is enough?
So when you stay up late to watch your favorite movie or studying for a big test, you are doing more harm to yourself than what you think. By not getting enough sleep, you are effecting your thinking and learning capabilities. Lack of sleep impairs attention, alertness, concentration, reasoning, and problem solving skills. Most people believe that by staying up and studying more, you are retaining more information. Well that is not true. While you are sleeping, it is your brains time to consolidate all of the activities to your memory. So next time, do not procrastinate and study early so you can get a good night’s sleep.
Need help with getting a better night’s rest? Well check out these tips:
Set the mood:
Create a sleep-conducive environment that is dark, quiet, comfortable and cool. Design your sleep environment to establish the conditions you need for sleep – cool, quiet, dark, comfortable and free of interruptions. Also make your bedroom reflective of the value you place on sleep. Check your room for noise or other distractions, including a bed partner’s sleep disruptions such as snoring, light, and a dry or hot environment. Consider using blackout curtains, eye shades, ear plugs, “white noise,” humidifiers, fans and other devices.
Regulate your sleep and wake schedule:
Maintain a regular bed and wake time schedule including weekends. Our sleep-wake cycle is regulated by a “circadian clock” in our brain and the body’s need to balance both sleep time and wake time. A regular waking time in the morning strengthens the circadian function and can help with sleep onset at night. That is also why it is important to keep a regular bedtime and wake-time, even on the weekends when there is the temptation to sleep in.
Bed for Sleep Only:
Use your bedroom only for sleep. It is best to take work materials, computers and televisions out of the sleeping environment. Use your bed only for sleep to strengthen the association between bed and sleep. If you associate a particular activity or item with anxiety about sleeping, omit it from your bedtime routine. For example, if looking at a bedroom clock makes you anxious about how much time you have before you must get up, move the clock out of sight. Do not engage in activities that cause you anxiety and prevent you from sleeping