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Tag Archives: stages of sleep
Few things will snap you out of a glorious slumber than the feeling of tiny fingers prying your eyelids open and a small voice uttering “Mommy are you awake?” It’s a moment where your heart melts and you want to commit a crime at the same time. Little does this tiny human know that despite the fact that you are in fact awake (now), that you have already been awake several times throughout the night. Was that a cough? Better go check. What was that sound? Better go check. Is she too hot? Too cold? Better go check? Did I finish my wine? Better go check.
In order to be a mom, or a functioning person for that matter, getting good sleep is totally necessary. And I don’t mean good sleep as in “I got a full 40 minutes, Buddy-the-Elf” style of sleep, I’m talking 8 hours of sleep, the type where you actually haven’t had caffeine since 4 pm, didn’t drink too much wine, and you got off of your screen at a reasonable time before you went to bed. Will the stars ever align for those things to actually happen? Not while Netflix keeps putting out new releases. However, one thing that actual experts agree on is that sleep is crucial to holistic health and for some insane reason, sleep seems to be the one thing we all compromise on, because one more episode won’t hurt, will it?
On my search for this mystical thing called sleep, I wanted to reach out to my friends and co-workers and see if they feel like they are getting the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep (I had to look up how many hours of sleep we actually need to get) and it is no shock that 99% of them agreed that they sacrifice their sleep because of their addiction to Netflix, video games, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and cat videos on YouTube. Okay, that last one is me. Here’s what the staff of pillows.com (you know, the “experts”) had to say about their own personal quests for quality sleep.
Question: How many hours of sleep per night do you average?
Jordan: “On average, I sleep 6 hours a night.”
Chelsea: “I try my best to get 8-9 hours. I always make sure that I turn off the lights by 10:30 pm AT THE LATEST!”
Q: What is your ideal sleep environment?
Faydra: “Dark and quiet, squishy supportive pillow for my head and two body pillows for optimal pillow nesting.”
Toni: “Next to the ocean, listening to the waves.”
Q: Would you say you need more sleep?
Omar: “I think I need uninterrupted sleep more than more hours of sleep. I’ve tested it and 6-7 hours seems to be a good number for my body. But, unintentionally, I always seem to drink a lot of water before bed so I sometimes get up multiple times during the night.”
Chelsea: “I think I could invest more time for sleeps on the weekends. I tend to let go of my strict sleep schedule on Saturday nights. However, during the work week’s I’m very good at getting enough sleep.”
Q: Do you think technology gets in the way of your sleep?
Chris: “I do think that technology can get in the way of a normal sleep routine if you are trying to go to sleep at a decent time. Having a phone or laptop near the bed might lead to staying up much later than needed. Although I do have insomnia and sometimes staring at a screen watching a video or reading can make my eyes heavy enough that I am forced to close them long enough to doze off.”
Toni: “Yes! I sleep with the phone by my side and any text or noise letting me know I have a new email wakes me up.”
Q: Do you need white noise to sleep?
Chelsea: “I love white noise and absolutely need it. Sometimes when I can’t go to sleep, I’ll put on a show like “The Office” and fall asleep to the sound of Michael Scott whispering in my ear.”
Q: If you could give yourself one sleep goal to achieve this year what would it be?
Chris: “My one sleep goal for this year is to start meditating again when trying to sleep. Meditation relaxes my very active mind and can sometimes calm it enough to allow me to get some sleep. I used to meditate often before bed, but I have not done it in a while. It has helped before and I am sure that it will help again.”
Dana: “Spend time reading more before bed rather than being on my phone wasting time.”
Q: Do you have bad habits that interfere with your sleep?
Faydra: “Other than video games and my Instagram addiction, I would say no.”
Jordan: “The only bad habits I’d say I have are staying up to catch the last seconds of a TV show/movie and not going to bed at a more reasonable time.”
Can any of you relate to our staff? We all want more sleep but also want to finish that last episode or beat one more level. So, where do we go from here to make sleep a priority in 2018? Of course, my first spot to find all the answers would be Pinterest! Here is a list of 21 tips for better sleep but I have to warn you that I’m pretty sure that #2 is contestable.
We at pillows.com are going to commit to sleeping better together! Wait! You know what I mean! We’re going to hold each other accountable to getting quality sleep. In our own beds, separately. Oh man, I need more sleep.
Regular sleep for some is hard to come by. I find myself lying in bed, sometimes for hours, before I finally fall asleep. Before I can even enjoy some quality Z’s the alarm goes off and it’s time to get the day started again. Until recently, I had no idea that there were different stages of sleep, and each stage puts your body and mind through different actions. You will not receive a good night’s rest unless you understand how sleep works, and the benefits from the different stages of sleep.
The first stage of sleep (where I find myself most of the night) is the lightest stage of sleep. You aren’t really asleep yet, and you can easily be awoken. This transitional phase from light sleep to heavy sleep usually lasts 5-10 minutes. Your whole night’s rest can be affected on how you transition from stage to stage, so the quicker you can fall asleep the higher quality rest you will ultimately receive. If you’re mostly a stage 1 sleeper, or are one of those habitual snooze button pushers, you will always wake up feeling zombie like. Some people experience random muscle contractions in stage 1, so if you keep getting kicked by your significant other just hang in there, it will be over shortly.
Side note–If you have trouble falling asleep quickly, here are a few tips:
1: Go to sleep and wake up at a set hour everyday.
2: Avoid using your ipad or phone before you sleep. The bright screens from computers, gadgets, and TVs can reduce your natural production of Melatonin, the hormone that regulates your sleep pattern.
3: STAY AWAY FROM CAFFIENE…at night (it’s ok coffee drinkers, breathe). If it’s absolutely necessary to start your day off with a coffee make sure it’s before noon so your body has time to wear off the caffeine before you go to sleep.
4: Keep your room at a cool temperature. Most people get the best sleep when the room temperature is around 65 degrees. Too hot or too cold of a room will affect the quality of sleep you get.
5: Avoid eating late at night. Your body will work to digest and absorb the nutrients so it can take longer to fall asleep.
Your brain begins to produce rapid, rhythmic brain waves called sleep spindles in stage 2. These waves stop your eye movement, body temperature decreases and your heart rate begins to slow. This is a comforting stage of sleep; where you won’t wake up from the slightest of noise, but also it won’t take a bullhorn to get you out of bed either. Those (weird) friends of yours who claim to never have dreams most likely sleep in stage 2 most of the night. Stage 2 transitionally lasts about 20 minutes; however you drift between stages throughout the night so some get caught in different stages longer than others.
Stage 3 Welcome to everyone’s favorite stage, the “sleeping like a log” stage. Stage 3 is when the brain completely turns your body into a rest machine by using deep, slow waves (delta waves). You become less responsive in this stage to noises or feeling, so someone could be hitting you with a pillow and you wouldn’t respond until the beat down is near completion. Babies and kids drift blissfully into stage 3, while it takes much longer for adults to be completely lights out. The very embarrassing bed-wetting or the freaky sleepwalking actions are most likely to occur at the end of this stage. Deep sleep is extremely important to your health. While you are in Stage 3 deep sleep, your body is working hard to repair/restore muscles and tissues with hormones that stimulate growth. It’s also believed that your immune system is repaired while you sleep. If you’re not getting the correct amount of sleep, not only will you feel groggy during the day, but you may be more susceptible to illness as well.
Exercise is extremely beneficial to a healthy lifestyle, and it is also a factor in how quickly you fall asleep. Many people believe that a good workout right before bed will put them to sleep right away. SPOILER ALERT: it actually has the opposite effect. When you work out your body temperature rises a couple degrees, however, when you are asleep your body temperature decreases. If you work out right before bed, your body has to work a little harder to bring the core temp down to a comfortable degree where it can relax and get to sleep. The best time to exercise is in the afternoon or early evening. After you get your workout in, your body has 3-5 hours to drop in temp (which is natural after working out). Once you are ready for bed, your body has decreased in temp and you will drift into some good sleep much quicker. Cardio is the preferred workout to do (to help you sleep faster) because it gets the heart pumping. Whether it’s walking the dog, going for a swim or running, make sure it’s routine so it help regulate sleeping patterns.
Stage 4 is the last stage of sleep, and it’s called REM sleep. REM stands for “rapid eye movement. This stage is where all the dreaming goes on. Your brain begins to work on hyper drive while your muscles become temporarily “paralyzed”. In the same way your body repairs and recovers in stage 3, your brain acts similarly in stage 4. All of your memories and experiences from the previous 24 hours are connected with past experiences, and the irrelevant info (ex. What you saw an old lady wearing) is forgotten. After REM sleep, your sleep cycle resets to stage 2, and progresses many more times throughout the night. REM sleep is brief the first time around, and gradually gets longer and longer after each cycle. Your last dream of the night is usually the longest, and can last up to an hour long! Overall, sleep is much more complex than you think. Each stage differs from one another, and you ultimately cycle through all 4 stages at least once a night. Everybody is different from one another, so we all can’t fall asleep to perfect patterns. There are little tricks here and there to ensure better sleep, but the biggest point is this: SLEEP IS ESSENTIAL!! As we age, we sleep less and receive fewer benefits from quality rest. Humans sleep for about 1/3 of their entire lives, so make sure you’re getting everything you can out of it. Sleep well folks.