Today, I'd like to introduce you to a few concepts. We're going to be talking about sleep inertia, snoozing, napping & dreaming. Watch the following video or read the full blog for more...
GIVE ME COFFEE!
Sleep inertia is a transitional state that's between being asleep and being completely awake and mentally ready for anything. This specific time is marked by impaired performance. We're not as vigilant and we just really want to go back to sleep. The intensity or the duration of this state is based on different factors, depending on when you were awakened. It can last between a few minutes and a few hours.
For example, if you wake up at the end of stage five of your sleep cycle, you might be in sleep inertia for only a few minutes since it's the end of the cycle, and you're ready to get up. If you wake up in stage two, as you are in the light sleep stage, you might still be okay and feel fine when you awaken, but if you get woken up during stage three or four (especially during the deep sleep stage), it might take you about an hour and a half to get rid of that tiredness, that drowsiness. You may find it difficult to concentrate during that hour and a half, since all your body wants is to go back to sleep and finish its sleep cycle.
JUST A COUPLE MORE MINUTES...
I used to be a recovering snooze-aholic. Snoozing is the worst thing you can do when trying to get up.
The first thing you want to do is make sure you plan your time in bed properly. Because sometimes, sleeping too much is going to make you drowsy. You wake up, and you think: "I don't understand! Why am I so tired? I slept for eight hours!" It's because you didn't time it properly! Remember that a sleep cycle lasts for about 90 minutes. You should set your alarm for either seven and a half hours or nine hours after you fall asleep. Time it in chunks of 90 minutes.
When the alarm rings, if you press snooze, even if you fall right back asleep, you don't go back into deep sleep. You restart a cycle right at the beginning, so now you're setting yourself up for failure, because if you go back to sleep expecting to get an extra 15 minutes in bed, you just ruined the first hour and a half of your day because by snoozing, and by going back to sleep, you went back to stage one and now your body need another 90 minutes before you are done with the drowsiness.
Granted, it may take a few trial and error to figure out when exactly you wake up feeling refreshed. Document it, keep track of it. That really is going to help.
Here's what I have found out about napping. Again, I'm not a sleep specialist. I just love everything about the brain.
Napping is amazing IF you can fit a full sleep cycle inside your nap. If you can nap for 90 minutes, do it: it's ideal, because then, you get the full benefit of it, and you even have time to go into REM sleep. You'll wake up feeling refreshed.
If you cannot nap for 90 minutes, then a power nap is the next best thing: you will just slightly touch stage one and stage two. Don't sleep for too long though; make sure you don't go into deep sleep. A power nap should be between 15 and 20 minutes. If you want to go any longer than that, then it should be 90 minutes.
HEAD IN THE CLOUDS
"Does everyone dream?" A lot of people wonder.
Yes, everybody dreams from three to six times each night. We dream when we are in REM, in the fifth stage of the sleep cycle. Dreaming is normal. It's a healthy part of sleeping.
The brain is very, very active when we are in REM, and it sends a lot of images through our optic nerve to consolidate memories. Our dreams are related to the consolidation that happens in our brain during that time. It happens around our optical nerve, the area where everything is blended together. It pumps activity straight into the brain's visual cortex, causing us to see these images through our eyes again. Hence the name of this sleep cycle: Rapid Eye Movement REM.
Since we dream during stage five of our sleep cycle, the last stage before we wake up, that's why we remember our dreams. If for some reason, you don't remember your dreams, more likely it's because you don't finish your sleep cycles and you don't wake up right after the REM stage. If you wake up at any other time, there are no dreams happening in the other portions of the cycle.
Next time, we're going to be learning about four techniques to help us sleep better.
I will see you there!
DO YOU FEEL STUCK SOMETIMES?
When I work with clients, the very first thing we do together is look at the quality of their sleep. So many problems stem from bad sleeping habits, yet it often is the last thing we think of looking at.
Book a FREE virtual coffee with me so we can start the process of getting you unstuck together.
Want more? Check out the other parts in this series...
Anxiety, Weight Gain & Other Results of Sleep Deprivation
The 5 Stages of a Sleep Cycle
4 Strategies to Help You Sleep Better
Tools to Prevent Bad Sleep
5 Tools to Stop Tossing & Turning
4 Tools to Cope When you Had a Bad Night's Sleep