Sunday, April 10, 2011
Understanding Sleep & Sleep Apnea.
Before anything important is written down, be sure to visit my new blog at
Now that we have that out of the way, I would like to address the issue of sleep in today's post.
On average, we spend about a third of our life asleep. In this time, our mind is at rest and our body repairs itself. Without reasonable sleep, our cognitive ability is damaged, our body is unable to heal properly, our metabolism is slowed down, and our state of overall health goes downhill. The average amount of sleep recommended used to be 8 hours, however, new research is emerging that sleeping too long is detrimental to your health, recommending 6-7 hours as the best amount of time.
- > http://health.ucsd.edu/news/2002/02_08_Kripke.html
Of course, it varies person to person, due to sleep disorders, patterns, and how much energy is spent during the day. The best way to determine how much sleep you need is through trial and error in my opinion. Only you will know how much is too much, and once you've found the magic number, it is best to stick to it.
While you are asleep, you go through 90 minute phases. Each phase is made up of 5 stages. The most notable stage is the 5th, which is referred to as REM (Rapid Eye Movement). This is when dreaming occurs and you are most likely to wake. If you find yourself often remembering your dreams in great detail, it may mean that you wake up in the middle of REM during the night, but forget it ever happened later.
(As a side-note, that has often fascinated me. I mean, if you can't remember anything, are you even aware you exist? The answer will always elude me.)
Sleep Apnea is one of the most commen and varied sleep disorders. In short, while you are asleep you run the risk of ceasing to breathe for anywhere from a few seconds to a minute. This can happen frequently throughout the night, and causes disrupted sleep and health risks. This is not to be confused with Hypopnea, which is extremely short and shallow breathing during sleep.
"The Wisconsin Sleep Cohort Study estimated in 1993 that roughly one in every 15 Americans were affected by at least moderate sleep apnea" - Wikipedia.
I am posting this here because I find it is much more common that anticipated, and it is important to discover whether or not you have it. In Brisbane, most hospitals will give you a free polysomnogram, or sleep test. Even if it's not free, I highly recommend getting one, just to be sure you don't suffer from anything else.
To the lighter side.
Sleep is an incredibly interesting function of the body. Scientists are still baffled as to why we require it to heal. Nearly every complex animal on the planet sleeps, whether it be in the day or in the night.
It is important to understand what time period is best for sleeping, how many hours you need, and any accessory things needed for a good nights sleep. Here's my personal list:
- White noise, such as a fan or rainsounds from my laptop.
- One really soft pillow, and one firm pillow. I like to have support right before I go to sleep, but then I like to change in the middle of the night.
- Socks. No matter what temperature it is.
- A glass of water. If I wake up in the night, you better believe I'm thirsty.
That's it for now, hope you have a thoroughly relaxing sleep tonight.
Take care of yourselves.