Your complete guide to getting enough sleep everyday
Oh sleep, how much we love it and need it. There are such things however as sleeping too little or too much and a couple sleep conditions you need to be aware of so you're fully energized every morning.
Sleep is a necessity of life, that's a given, but how do you know how much sleep you actually need at night?
Dr. Gerald Ferencz, Sleep Medicine Physician at Community Medical Sleep Center says it varies from person to person.
"The majority of people do need between six and eight hours but there are groups of people who really get away with three or four hours of sleep and there are others who need ten or twelve hours," Ferencz said.
His advice for a good nights sleep, develop a routine of going to bed at the same time every night, waking up at the same time every morning and avoiding any sugary or caffeinated drinks or snacks or engaging in anything that can be distracting at least an hour before bedtime and avoid any heavy exercise four hours before bedtime.
He says keeping the room dark and quiet and putting away electronic devices can help you get a good nights sleep as well.
A good indicator you got enough sleep the night before is a simple test.
"If you're comfortable and during the day you can function and if you're in a really boring situation and you're sitting there looking at your fingers, counting stars or doing anything else but getting drowsy, then you've had enough sleep," Ferencz said. "If you're in a boring situation and you're drowsy, you're sleep deprived."
He says making up for lost sleep isn't easy.
"For every hour of sleep you miss, you have to make up two-hours," Ferencz said.
Who could use a nap?
While they give us a charge of the batteries, sleeping too long can throw you off for going to bed at night.
Dr. Ferencz says 10-20 minute power naps are good but try not to sleep more than 40-minutes during the day.
"An hour of sleep may actually get you into a deeper sleep, stage-3, and that's the kind of sleep that we've all had...we take a nap, you wake up and feel worse after the sleep because you're just not getting alert again," Ferencz.
He says any sleep you get during the day counts toward your nightly sleep.
So if you do end up napping for an hour or so during the day, subtract an hour from nighttime sleep.
Have you ever heard of R.E.M.? No, not the rock band, (although I'm a big fan of their music).
What we're talking about something to do with how you sleep at night.
It stands for Rapid Eye Movement.
Dr. Ferencz says REM sleep or Dream Sleep is divided into four stages of sleep that accounts for 25-percent of your sleep activity while your heading off to dreamland.
"As someone sinks from light sleep to a regular deep sleep, the brain rhythms slow down dramatically but when they pop into REM sleep, the brain speeds up again and there's a lot of eye movements," Ferencz said.
He says REM sleep is a must for everyone, disordered thinking and memory problems could start to occur without the proper rest.
Ferencz does add that sometimes REM dreams tend be a very active or bizarre dream where you're running from a flood or being chased.
Although many people, he says, are able to recount their dreams from a REM stage.
Sleep is a wonderful thing, (just ask any teenager), but there is actually one kind of sleep condition that can be pretty scary.
You go to sleep exhausted and dire need of rest.
When you wake you can hear everything, the music playing in your room, someone on the phone, the birds chirping outside, the TV blasting, the lawn mower going outside, etc. but, you can't move or speak.
It's called sleep paralysis, "where the brain becomes awake or your conscious is awake but you have not yet connected back to your motor system."
Dr. Ferencz says as your waking up your brain is alert but your body is paralyzed.
"It takes some movement or sound to just jump you into getting that connection made," Ferencz said.
It's usually a result of being very sleep deprived and is fairly normal but if it happens frequently, he says, it may be narcolepsy.
If you're ever in this state, my advice from experience is to relax and don't panic but focus on what you can control at that moment...your're brain...it's like learning to move all over again. So slowly take a deep breath in and blow out and leap up at the same time. It doesn't always work on the first try but be patient and you''ll be okay.
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