People spend a third of their lives asleep. Research shows that sleep is an involuntary process without which your body can’t function optimally. Sleep is as essential to your body as eating, drinking, and breathing, allowing you to maintain your physical and mental health. Proper sleep cycles help repair and restore your brain.
In addition, proper sleep cycles allow you to sleep adequately. It helps your brain process information, consolidate memories, and performs numerous maintenance processes that help you function during the daytime. It is essential to get enough and quality sleep. There is no set amount of appropriate sleep for everyone because some people need more rest.
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The Importance of Sleep Cycles
During the evening, your brain proceeds through different sleep stages. That’s why your body needs a suitable environment: a dark, cool, calm room with deep, restful breathing. Proper breathing controls your autonomic nervous system and guides your brain to relax and enter deeper states, leading to rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.
Bear in mind that REM is not the deepest stage of a sleep cycle. During the sleep cycle, different waves in your brain guide the states of sleep consciousness. Research highlights that a person experiences lucid dreaming during the REM stages. Health professionals recommend at least 7-8 hours of sleep at night.
One sleep cycle is equal to 90 minutes, and during this period, your central nervous system goes through different stages of sleep. So, your brain goes through many sleep cycles during an entire night of sleep.
The first four stages are known as non-rapid eye movement (NREM). Deep sleep arrives after two stages of light sleep, allowing your body to drift and transition into dormancy. The fifth stage of your sleep cycle is called REM, in which your body experiences bursts of eye movement, allowing your brain waves to change and wake you up. Here is how sleep cycles are essential to your health.
Prevent Insomniac Episodes
Insomnia is a sleep disorder characterized by troubled sleeping or difficulty staying asleep. It also causes you to wake up early in the morning. There are numerous causes of insomnia, such as medication, alcohol, caffeine, chronic pain, stress, anxiety, and blue light from artificial sources, such as smartphones, computer screens, and LED lights. When you have adequate sleep cycles at night, you can prevent insomniac episodes.
Promote a Good Night’s Sleep
Many things, including health problems, can cause frequent lack of sleep or restricted sleep. Restless leg syndrome, work patterns, night shifts, and even the need to urinate between sleep cycles can disturb your sleep.
Bright-lit electronic technology and digital devices can also over-stimulate your brain. You can improve your sleep cycles and promote your sleep by focusing on essential things like limiting electronic device usage or wearing blue light glasses.
Better sleep cycles can result in stress reduction. As you wind down at nighttime and get ready for bed, your brain releases stress-reducing hormones like serotonin and dopamine. At the same time, your brain secretes melatonin that promotes sleep.
Having these stress calming hormones in your system improves your mental health and suppress biochemical like cortisol and adrenaline, giving your body a break from stress and anxiety. So, better sleep cycles let your body and mind relax and restore as levels of these hormones balance out.
Your immune system is a natural defense mechanism against external pathogens, such as viruses and bacteria, that cause a wide range of health conditions. A healthy immune system depends on proper sleep cycles.
While your body’s other systems rest, your immune system continues to function against external pathogens to fight off illnesses, reduce inflammation, and repair cells. That’s why sleep cycles are essential to your overall health.
Your brain is always at work, even when your body rests. The brain performs vital functions when you are asleep. However, when you have better sleep cycles, your brain processes new information and experiences.
It also creates connections between different neuronal networks to store memories. Make sure you limit digital device usage before bed or wear blue light glasses to prevent blue light from entering your eyes and disrupting your brain’s memory processing functions.
When people feel fatigued, they become more irritable and experience behavioral problems. Remember, better sleep cycles at night give your brain a chance to regulate hormones and chemicals that impact your emotional wellbeing.
Many people lose emotional balance and patience without enough sleep cycles. As a result, they have difficulty coping with the stresses of day-to-day life. Research shows that nothing is more harmful than blue light to a person’s emotional health.
Electronic devices are common sources of blue light, and removing them from your bedroom is not an optimal solution because they have become an integral part of your daily life.
The activities associated with digital devices, the blue light they emit, and the stimulus they provide make tablets, computers, TVs, smartphones, and other items significant contributors to sleep hindrances. We recommend wearing blue light glasses even if you use electronic devices before bedtime.
Having good sleep patterns and cycles at night can keep your weight steady. Lack of sleep or insomnia can throw off hormones to trigger hunger episodes. People with sleep deprivation eat more because their brain creates higher levels of hunger signals.
Exercise is an excellent way to relieve stress and promote a good night’s sleep. You should exercise for at least 30-60 minutes and 3-5 times a week to achieve better quality sleep cycles, deeper sleep, and improve your overall health.
Exercise also fights obesity, a risk factor in lack of sleep, insomnia, sleep apnea, and daytime sleepiness. At the same time, exercise gives you more energy by triggering metabolic activities at cellular levels. Make sure you perform exercise a few hours before going to bed.
Adequate and enough sleep cycles at nighttime positively contribute to your overall physical and mental health. There are numerous ways to ensure healthy sleep cycles. These include a balanced diet, exercise, a healthy daytime routine, and blue light glasses to avoid melatonin suppression.