We all know how sleep affects are general health.
Not only physically, but it also helps maintain a better sense of your emotional and mental well-being.
Think about it, a third of our lives is spent under the sheets. It only proves how vital it is to in our lives and how it impact our overall state.
Ironically, even though, we all know its importance, but sleeping eight to ten hours a day seem to be an impossible feat. Especially with adults. With all the social obligations, work, and other responsibilities, one of the first things to get neglected is sleep.
Additionally, with the current technological advances and lifestyle changes, it gets harder to fall asleep. Stimulants like energy drinks and coffee can disrupt your sleep. Also, the use of electronic devices before hitting the sack can lead to interference with the natural sleeping and waking up cycle or circadian rhythm.
Sleep needs depend on numerous factors. To know just how much sleep you really need, you need to assess where all these factors affect your stand on the spectrum. Stuff like stress and work schedules make huge impacts on the quality and quantity of your sleep.
But anyway, here is the most basic reference you might need to know wether not enough deep sleep is being experienced.
How Much Sleep Is Needed Based On Age
What Are The Factors That Affect Sleep Requirements?
Of course, it is understandable that a child needs more sleep than adults. Aside from age, here are other things that might attribute to your need for sleep:
During pregnancy, a lot of changes occur in the woman’s body. This requires an increased sleeping time.
- Sleep Deprivation
Obviously, if you feel like you are under sleep debt, you need to sleep some more.
- Sleep Quality
Interrupted sleep is just the same as being sleep deprived, you need to catch up on more zzz’s.
Women tend to need more time sleeping beofre their period. However, women also have more tolerance for being sleep deprived than men.
This depends on the Larks and Owls theory. Some people are larks who are programmed for early rising, while owls tend to rise la little later than the norm. This affects the energy levels of these individuals in a day. Larks are a lot more energetic in the morning, but if they are up past their bedtime, things will not be pretty. The opposite can be said for the owls. They are not morning people, but their energy is unbelievable at night.
What Are The Different Sleep Stages And Sleep Cycles?
Our sleep quality differs from one night to another. Even people who have no problems sleeping might have difficulty falling asleep sometimes. Sleep requirements differ in terms of current life situation and stress.
The various sleep cycles repeat at night. Every cycle lasts from 90 to 110 minutes. In one night, there are about 4 to 5 cycles. This includes the following:
- Dozing, the initial phase. In this stage, there is a lower brain performance, but you remain aware of the stuff happening around you.
- Light sleep is when both the muscles and the metabolism are in equilibrium.
- Deep sleep is when you are practically like an old log. The breathing pattern becomes heavy and the heart beat starts slowing down. It is when we usually start feeling well-rested because energy is being replenished.
Circadian timers, or the timing of the sleep cycles, is a big factor for your sleep. The jetlag from traveling through different time zones occurs because the timer gets disrupted. Most people have more sensitivity to these timers compared to others.
To be honest, much of adult sleep is just light sleep. Most of us only experience deep sleep in the first 4 to five hours. In total, deep sleep only make up the minority, about 25% of the total sleep. In the first few hours of deep sleep, the dreams start occuring.
Even those with normal sleeping habits stay awake approximately 22 minutes in every night. There is nothing wrong with waking up a few times at night so long as you return to dreamland in less than 10 minutes.
Most of the middle aged people do not get enough sleep. When we are older, sleep during the night is reduced, but becomes frequent all day (hello, nap!)
There are four stages of non rapid eye movement (REM) and REM sleep in a 90 minute sleep cycle:
- Light sleep (prepping for deep sleep)
Stage 1: This phase lasts from a few seconds up to a few minutes. As the name implies, sleep is very light. It seems superficial at first like you are just resting your eyes.
Stage 2: This last up to 20 minutes. The muscles start to relax and you get light dreams.
- Deep Sleep (peaceful sleep)
Stage 3: This takes around 10 minutes. This is when the heartbeat, blood pressure, and body starts slowing down.
Stage 4: All the bodily functions become more relaxed. You are almost motionless and your dreams are impossible to recall.
- REM sleep
This deep sleep lasts around 15 minutes. For narcoleptic patients, this phase automatically starts as soon as they fall asleep.
At night, these stages flows alternatingly. But, the stage 4 becomes more shallow through the night, meaning the deepest of the deep sleep is usually at the early part of the night.
If you are wondering if you are getting too less or too much deep sleep, here is a table of just how much of each sleep stage you should be having:
When stage 4 is done, the body returns not to stage 1, but rather to stage 2.
If you feel that you are not getting enough rest, maybe you need to check your sleeping habits. You might not be getting enough deep sleep.
If you need to improve them, you are in luck! Here are some tips how to increase deep sleep at night.
How To Get Enough Sleep At Night
There are several keys to getting enough sleep every night.
You need to form habits that will enable you to sleep faster, such as:
- Exercise regularly. Exercising at noon time seems to improve sleep quality. Both morning an afternoon exercise also enables someone to fall asleep faster.
- Use a gentle alarm clock. Avoid blaring and annoying noises to wake you up. A gentle and more soothing or a wake-up light can help you be more accomodating to your waking up moments.
- Kiss your vices goodbye. Or at least, cut back on them. Lessen the alcohol, coffee, and cigarettes. While alcohol and cigarettes may help you get to sleep on one particular night, it can damage your sleep patterns for long term. Meanwhile, caffeine can prolong stage 2, while shortening stages 3 and 4.
- Avoid using electronic devices before bedtime. Do not use your gadgets at least an hour before going to bed. So many studies have shown that these lights can trick your mind into thinking it is daytime when it is not.
- Do meditation. Before going to bed, relax your mind through this method. You can even do this if you suddenly find yourself awake in the middle of the night. Initially, meditation can be a source of frustration. Especially, if you are continuously worried that you are not doing the right. You can try visualizing things you want your dream to be about, for starters.
- Begin a healthy evening ritual. Be mindful of how you eat at night because it has a huge impact to your sleep quality. Also, using the bathroom for headed to bed will prevent the urge to do so in the middle of your sleep.
Next, you need to set your environment. You can do this by:
- Investing on a good set of pillows, mattress, and sheets. The comfort level of your bed will surely have you all wrapped up and snug, making it easier to catch some sleep.
- Find the right temperature. For adults, it has been stated that the right sleeping temperature lies somewhere in the middle of 60 to 68 degrees F. Of course, you do not have to be totally OC on this. If a fan breezing all over your body lulls you to sleep, then it’s all good.
- Lessen the light. As stated previously, electronic devices damage your sleep cycle with their LED and other types of light. Covering up stuff that radiate similar lights in your bedroom will ensure a more quiet and comfortable sleeping time.
- Stay away from distractions. If you want a 4.5 hour deep sleep, then lessening your distractions is a big first step. Set your phone in silent mode, utilize quiet hours, or invest on a generator for white noise (if you live in a noisy part of the neighborhood). Listening to soothing music may help improve your resting time, as well.
Last, be mindful of proper timing. The length of your sleep is important. However, for you to be able to optimize your sleep, you should set a pattern. Going to bed at the same time as the previous night and waking up the same time daily will help eliminate the whole “sleep debt” idea.
What Are Some Negative Impressions Or Myths About Sleep?
Our body shuts down during sleep.
A lot of activities happen to the body when we sleep. In fact, the brain happens to be more active as you doze off.
The older you are, the less sleep you need.
Since exhaustion and activity are lessened, it is assumed that sleeping requirement for old people is a lot less. However, with all the health problems, they may need to rest more.
You can pay for sleep depts.
Most people think that it is okay to pay off your sleep depts during weekdays on weekends. Hate to break it to you, but it may help during weekends to sleep in, your performance (mental, physical, and emotional state) during weekdays remains compromised. Plus, sleeping in during weekends may ruin your sleep pattern for the coming week.
Daytime naps is a major no-no.
A quick afternoon nap will not really ruin your sleep at night. In fact, it can make you more productive during daytime. Cognitive functions are improved and you feel more energetic. However, avoid going overboard.
There are many factors involved in determining just how much sleep you need every night. Age is the number one consideration, but health conditions affect this, as well. For adults, things seem to be a bit more complex. There is a need to consider about stress, eating habits, social vices, and so much more.
If you are worried that you are not getting enough rest there are number of things you can do to maintain healthy sleeping habits. You just have to make slight and fairly easy adjustments to ensure that you are getting enough sleep. I guarantee you this will empower your overall well-being the following day.