Sleep

by bhthanks

Can't sleep? Sleeping too much? Always tired? Importance of sleep, how to go to sleep & sleep training for lack of sleep, sleep deprivation symptoms or insomnia...

A person's life could definitely be improved by changing when or how long he sleeps each day. Adjusting one's lifestyle to have more waking hours each day would give a person more time to accomplish various tasks, including studying, working, socializing, relaxing, running errands and performing various activities. Such changes may also have negative effects on the person. In early adulthood, it is important to have 6-9 hours of sleep each night, and to sleep at normal times. It is important to stay on a steady cycle of sleeping. Caffeine messes up sleeping patterns. It's important to regulate sleeping hours and one's daily routine. Know when you study or work best, when you need to be awake and at you're most alert. Figure out when you need to be up and when you need to be sleeping, and arrange your schedule accordingly for your study time and work time.
Sleep deprivation symptoms: Lack of sleep can cause many negative side effects, such as drowsiness, lethargy, irritability, mood swings, slow memory, and poor performance at work and school.

How much sleep do people need?

People tend to believe that everybody needs 8 hours of sleep per night; and they point out that every time they stay up late to study or to work, they feel lousy the next day. However, everyone is unique. There is a window: 95% of people need between 6-9 hours of sleep per night. When these people change their sleep pattern temporarily, they're tired. But, if they would make a permanent change, they would gradually adjust to it and sleep better. When a person doesn't have enough sleep, the brain doesn't have enough time to process and store data. When sleeping, the brain organizes, codes, and stores the information gathered that day.  This happens during the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) part of the sleep cycle. Babies need much more sleep, and older people tend to sleep less. There is an individuality about it.

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Learning about sleep research has changed my views about sleep. I used to think that most healthy people need about 8 hours of sleep a night, and more if they are babies. However:

a) According to my studies, a person can greatly reduce the amount of hours of sleep that they need per night, assuming they design a plan to adjust to it and stick to it.

b) Exercise affects the way you sleep since it suppresses appetite, burns calories, makes one tired and then relaxed.

c) In general, if a person has less than six hours of sleep, then they feel the effects of sleep deprivation, and more than nine hours of sleep is also not good. People that sleep too little or too much are less happy and tend to live shorter lives.

d) Adequate nutrition is also very important in the formation of healthy sleeping and waking patterns.

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A sleep-reduction program consistent with the research literature on circadian cycles and sleep deprivation

how to go to sleep

Some people like to stay up late, some people like to get up early, others like to do both, and still others like to do neither. I will attempt to design a sleep-reduction program that is tailored to my own preferences and lifestyle and that is consistent with the research literature on circadian cycles and sleep deprivation. The program will hopefully produce the greatest benefits for me with the least discomfort.

I would attempt to fall asleep between 11 PM and 12 mid night, and have a solid night of sleep, waking up between 7 and 8 AM. Upon arising, I would brush my teeth, have a drink, pray, do some refreshing yoga or stretch exercises, eat breakfast, take a shower, and then start my work day at about 9 AM. I would work for about 3 hours with a snack in middle, then break half an hour for lunch, work another 4 hours, taking a break to pray and have a snack at about 2:30. Then, at about 4:30, I would relax by reading a light book or listening to classical music until 5:00. I would check if I have any household errands to run, shopping to do, or schoolwork, and do some of that at this point. I would prepare for supper and eat supper at about 6 PM. After supper, I would try to set up times to socialize with family and friends. On school nights, I would prepare for and go to school. On other nights I would alternate between running errands, doing schoolwork, or I would do some more work on the computer for a few hours. At this point I would also check if there are any pressing matters to attend to the next day and put together my schedule for the next day. At about 10 PM, I would do nighttime relaxing yoga exercises, take a bath and shower, listen to some classical music and go to sleep.

I would drink coffee very rarely, thereby reducing my intake of caffeine. I would drink green tea, and have healthy snacks of fruits, vegetables, pretzels, and the occasional junk food. At suppertime, I would avoid acidic foods and noise which would disturb sleep. A fan could be used to drown out background noise. A person needs fiber in order to sleep well, and a lack of fiber could cause cramps, therefore I would attempt to eat high-fiber fruits, vegetables, and grains and have a balanced diet. I would take dietary supplements of vitamins and minerals at the times directed on the boxes.

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Sleep Wiki

Sleep is a naturally recurring state characterized by reduced or absent consciousness, relatively suspended sensory activity, and inactivity of nearly all voluntary muscles. It is distinguished from quiet wakefulness by a decreased ...
Updated: 03/27/2012, bhthanks
 
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buttonhead on 03/27/2012

I'd be interested to hear more about the effects of sleeping TOO much. Sometimes I wonder if I fall into that category. I sleep 8-9 hours per night and sometimes even take a 1/2 hour mid-day nap, and somehow I always still feel tired! Great article. Thanks for the info!

bhthanks on 12/30/2011

Thank you, Anna!

Sabeen on 12/30/2011

Very Informative article about sleep and related health issues.

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