Basic Health Habit No.1: Sleep Part One

Renew Your Relationship With Sleep 
The Sleep Cycle and Obstacles to a Good Night's Rest

Dedicate yourself to establishing a dependable sleep routine. Adult sleep habits are an accumulation of decades of neglected basic health habits, with effects compounded by unhealthy habits. Get outside for a walk and breath deeply in nature. Then you will sleep well. Calibrations of your basic health habits will help to make it easy and enjoyable.

Being knowledgeable about the obstacles and aids to a restful and restorative sleep, identifying your issues, and discovering what will help you, are the key factors. Ask yourself: Do you wake refreshed? Do you have a clear picture of your sleep habits? Do you value your sleep? If you have answered no to these questions, it is time to renew your relationship to sleep and to establish new habits. The formula varies for each of us.

All of our body's growth and repair takes place during sleep. The brain is more active when we are asleep; immune and nervous systems; metabolism, and hormones have important jobs to do when we sleep that are essential to our health. Muscles are built in your sleep.

The first symptoms of a lack of sleep are tighter muscles and an increase in pain. Flu-like symptoms come next. Our ability to learn, remember, and for creative problem solving depend on a restful sleep.

Emotional difficulties are largely affected by a lack of sleep. Weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, digestive disorders, cancer and infertility are some of the conditions that are linked to sleep deprivation. Your body works hard to eliminate oxygen free radicals that cause premature aging and if you are sleep deprived,  unhealthy aging is accelerated. 

The Sleep Cycle

There are 5 sleep stages:

1. Interim between consciousness and sleep, Beta brainwaves, 5- 15 minutes, 5% of sleep

2. Heart rate slows, Theta brainwaves, 35-45% of sleep                                                                
 Stages 1-2 are non REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, 40-50% of sleep
3. Delta brain waves; deep dreamless sleep, tissue repair, 12% of sleep

4. Body temperature, blood pressure decrease, blood flow is redirected to muscles restoring physical energy, immune system and hormones are active, Delta brainwaves, 90 minutes, 12% of sleep                  
Stages 3-4 are deep non REM sleep

5. REM sleep: Increase in eye movement, heart rate, breathing, body temperature and blood pressure. The mind is active; dreams are vivid. Alpha brainwaves, 25% of sleep

Normally we should have 3-5 cycles of stages 1-5 during our sleep every night. You must have NREM and REM stages for a restful sleep. All stages are vital to good health.

Obstacles to a Good Night's Rest
  • Poor sleep habits as a child
  • An adulthood history of poor sleep habits
  • Poor state of health
  • Chronic Dehydration (water + electrolyte imbalance) - melatonin production (the sleep hormone) requires hydration 
  • Stimulants: immoderate use of coffee, sugar, alcohol
  • Medications and surgery
  • Drugs
  • Smoking 
  • Immoderate use of sleep medication changes the quality of sleep and REM stage
  • A large meal before bed that contains protein which takes the longest to digest and requires more energy, taking away from the important cleansing, rejuvenating and healing processes that happen during sleep 
  • Processed foods
  • Too much liquid before bed
  • Spicy food before bed 
  • Poor quality of habits 2-7 (nutrition, physical activity, hydration, positive mental attitude, fresh air and deep breathing, sweating)
  • Poor sleep hygiene
  • Lack of understanding of the value of sleep
  • Research findings indicate that the signals from mobile phones affect deep non REM sleep and that it takes longer to reach stage 3 and that the amount of stage 4 is reduced
  • Disease
  • Television or computer in bedroom
  • Abnormal amounts of stress and poor coping skills
  • Lack of love for oneself and value of health
  • Living in an hostile, aggressive environment
  • Living in a society that does not understand the value of sleep
  • Unhealthy aging
  • Unhealthy menopause
  • Sleep disorders such as Sleep Apnea, Restless leg syndrome, Insomnia, Bruxism: grinding of teeth, Narcolepsy, Hypopnea: abnormally shallow breathing, Sleep walking, or Somniphobia: a dread of sleep 

Part Two: A Sleep Hygiene Questionnaire

1 comment:

  1. Great Blog Val,

    Sleep is an important topic for health. We all need to sleep better. It took me 6 months to get off of my sleeping pills, but was well worth the effort. I set a sleeping time and quit working and reading in bed, my bedroom is for sleeping and i found that going to bed at the same time every nite and setting my atmosphere. helped alot.

    Now i generally have no trouble sleeping.

    thanks Val,



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