To live powerfully it’s important to rest powerfully… have you heard of power naps? Did you know that they could be hazardous to your health? True! Napping in the afternoon or long naps in the early afternoon can interfere with nighttime sleep and sleep deprivation can trigger many short term and long term health risks.
What are the stages of sleep, and why are they important? Are there natural solutions we can use to help us get a good night sleep? This writing will cover both of these questions. Be sure to check out my articles covering other aspects of rest.
There are two types of sleep necessary to keep our body and brain in optimum condition: NREM (non rapid eye movement or “quiet” sleep) and REM (rapid eye movement or “dream” sleep) let’s look at what both do to help in the renewing process of the brain and body.
· *Restores the physical body
· *Occurs in first 90 minutes of sleep
· *Releases growth hormone encouraging tissue growth/repair
· *Blood focuses on muscles not brain
· *Stimulates immune system to defend against infections
· *Restores the brain
· *Occurs after NREM sleep
· *Clears out brain “junk-mail”
· *Captures memories which allow learning to take place
According to the Cooper Institute in Dallas, Texas, healthy sleep occurs when NREM and REM cycle through stages of sleep throughout the night. There are 4 stages to NREM sleep that need to occur before REM sleep begins. (The following stages are found in the Quick Series Guide to Healthy Sleep)
STAGE 1: Light sleep, lasts about 10 minutes. During this time, you feel calm and experience sudden arm and leg movement. Your heart rate lowers and the eyes open without awareness. If you are awakened you feel in a state of “half-sleep”.
STAGE 2: Begins a sleep that lasts about 30 – 45 minutes. During this time there is lack of movement, you become oblivious to your surroundings. If you wake up during this time, you do not remember your dreams.
STAGE 3: Brief time before Stage 4. While you are in this stage, your heart rate and breathing slows down and you display active brain waves every few minutes.
STAGE 4: Deepest sleep takes place. It is in this sleep stage that complete relaxation occurs. Blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration lowers; this is sometimes referred to as “human hibernation.” If you’ve heard, “you only grow when you’re sleeping”, this is the time, 80% of all human growth hormone is released in this stage to grow and repair tissue. You will feel groggy for up to an hour is awakened in this stage.
REM occurs 90 minutes into sleep. This is when the eyes dart back and forth and the body temperature and blood pressure rise. The pulse and respiration rates go up as the brain begins racing.
You need to sleep eight to 10 hours continuously to cycle through these stages three to four times. Every time you cycle the length of the REM sleep increases while the deep NREM decreases until you have a good 30 minutes in dream sleep without any deep sleep occurring, that is considered healthy sleep.
WHAT CAN YOU DO NATURALLY … to get a good night sleep? Here are some tips from my friend, Jean Dukes, a Certified Natural Health Professional and a Certified Aromatherapist. She has practiced nursing for 20 years and now does natural health counseling through her Ten Days Health Ministry. Here are her thoughts on fighting sleep deprivation using aromatherapy.
“ Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.” Ezekiel 47:12 NIV
With 70 million people suffering with sleep problems, I felt the urge to bring this information to you. I pray it brought you to the great place of “Aha!” Many of us need to visit there often to keep the cobwebs from making a home in our grey matter… myself included.
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