Have you ever woken up after a full night’s sleep and felt more exhausted than when you went to bed? Of course, you have. But what makes the difference between good sleep and poor sleep? The difference is in the quality of our sleep cycle and most importantly the amount REM our brain is able to experience during this time.
The Important Aspect of the REM Cycle
While we sleep we cycle between REM and non-REM with four stages of NREM sleep preceding one stage of REM. NREM sleep is the stage at which our body repairs itself, energy is replenished, and our immune system is boosted. A complete cycle of sleep takes between 90 and 110 minutes in total, with approximately a quarter of that time spent in REM sleep. REM is the second stage of sleep in which dreaming almost always takes place. Scientists are still trying to discover the extent to which REM sleep affects our health and mental well-being, but they do know that REM sleep is vital for the development of creativity and problem-solving ability, how we learn to adapt to our world, and most importantly the cycle of time that our body needs to feel well rested.
What Happened To Our Good Sleep?/h3>
Between work, school, family, and recreation time, it seems that sleep has taken a back seat in priority to all of our other responsibilities and activities. Due to these constraints, nearly one-third of adults are unable to achieve the recommended amount of six quality hours of sleep.
A recent study completed by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic reported that several of our bodies systems are negatively affected by inadequate sleep including the heart, lungs, and kidneys. Reports also included disturbances in appetite, metabolism, weight control, immune function, disease resistance, sensitivity to pain, reaction time, mood, and brain function.
So with so much at risk, why not get the recommended time required to sleep every night? For some people, that isn’t an option.
What Can I Do?
With limited sleep time, it is important to maximize the sleep that you do get. Make sure that you follow some important guidelines before going to bed:
- Turn off electronic devices 30 minutes before going to sleep.
- Exercise regularly, but don’t exercise too close to when you go to bed.
- Avoid foods that are difficult to digest including foods high in fat before going to bed.
- Invest in a mattress that will allow you to sleep as soundly as possible.
The right mattress will, in theory, give your back the support and alignment needed to keep your spine straight, but at the same time, provide enough cushioning to the hips and the shoulders for you to sleep comfortably without having to turn all night. If we can get our body comfortable, we can get into the deep REM sleep that our body requires to heal and rejuvenate itself faster, which will help us maximize the limited amount of sleep we can get.
Are you suffering from poor quality of sleep? Do you feel worse when you get out of bed due to pain? Is it the pain in your back, neck, or hip?
If you said yes to those questions, let our expert healthcare team ensure that your spine is in a better state to allow you to rest more comfortably to allow the proper cycles of sleep to occur leaving you charged and ready for the day!
For Your Health,
Dr. Scott Van Dam