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What is Sleep Disturbance?

27 February 2018/ Sleep Related Issues

“Sleep is the only medicine that gives ease...”

Sophocles (Philoctetes)

Dysomnias and Parasomnias

When people think of Sleep Disturbance they usually think of Insomnia. However, the truth is, there are many kinds of ways your sleep can be disturbed.

Broadly speaking, sleep specialists divide the disturbances into two categories: Dysomnias and Parasomnias.

Dysomnias are conditions – like insomnia – which block sleep directly. By contrast parasomnias are the conditions which reduce the value of your sleep, like say snoring or apnea.

So the first thing it's important to understand is, “why?” Why do you want to get a good night's sleep?  And then, what does a good night's sleep really consist of? It's not just lying horizontally for 8 hours.

Why do you want a good night's sleep?

1. Because it's regenerative or life giving ...and anti-aging

2. Because of the danger of fatigue – fatigue kills a lot of people due to loss of attention – especially on our roads. The overwhelming majority of fatal accidents are fatigue related.

3. Because the long-term lack of it is also is a major causal factor – if not the major causal factor – for practically all chronic disease

What is Sleep?

Sleep is a dynamic process.

That means the body is always changing during the process. What exactly is it about the body that is changing? 

The electrophysiologic activity of the body changes periodically over the course of sleep, cycling through different states and depths of sleep, associated with short-term variations in hormonal (and neuro-transmitter) levels.

There are 5 stages of sleep:

1. Light Sleep – where muscle activity reduces to occasional twitching.  The brain/CNS resonant frequency is usually in the lower Alpha region (8-10 Hz) with some theta waves.

2. Medium Sleep – with slower heart rate and breathing, and the brain producing theta waves (5-8 Hz)

3. Deep Sleep – when we start to get low amplitude Delta waves (3-4 Hz anywhere from 20-50% of the resonant activity).  It's also when blood pressure drops.

4. (True) Slow Wave Deep Sleep – The good stuff: when the brain begins to resonate with high-amplitude Delta waves (1.5-3 Hz) for the majority of its resonant activity.  Growth hormones are released and the immune/healing response becomes powerfully active.

5. Dreaming Sleep – Rapid Eye Movement; relaxed muscles; rapid brain activity, heart-rate, breathing; brain resonant activity can be in the high alpha (10-13 Hz), beta or even gamma region – i.e. above 40 Hz.

Stages 3, 4 and 5 are the most important parts of sleep – especially stage 4.

That's because it's in stage 4 – high amplitude slow-wave sleep (SWS) – that you regain most of your bodily energy.  Hormones are rebalanced and healing best occurs in SWS.

Stage 5 – REM sleep provides the most energy to the brain for the next day.

Therefore, you need dreaming sleep for your cognitive faculties to be restored each day. It should take up a just under a quarter of all sleep.

Non-REM sleep should be just about three quarters of your total sleep with SWS making up at least a third of it.

The 1% left over should be what is called “transitory waking,”  between sleep cycles.

Good sleep

Good sleep provides anabolic hormonal modulation, which combined with HGH, melatonin, testosterone and the reduction of cortisol even allows you to burn fat, especially during the dreaming periods.

Are you getting a good night's sleep?

To find out ask yourself this question: Are you refreshed in the morning?

Good sleep will leave you regenerated and recharged, revitalised and ready to go!

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