Table Of Contents
Chapter 1: What’s So Good about Sleep Anyway?
Chapter 2: But I Am Not Tired… I Won’t Sleep!
Chapter 3: Does Counting Sheep Really Work?
Chapter 4: I Need More Sleep… I Never Seem to Have Had Enough
Chapter 5: An Hour before Midnight Is Worth Two After
Chapter 6: 6 Tips for a Power Nap
Chapter 7: I Had This Awesome Dream Last Night
Chapter 8: There Are Only 24 Hours in a Day
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I Had This Awesome Dream Last Night!
When we sleep, we surrender ourselves to a parallel universe. We do not control ourselves when we sleep. We submit ourselves to our surroundings, to the people around us, to our environments.
And then we dream. Dreams are an enigmatic area of study even today. No one knows for sure why we dream and what these dreams mean, if anything at all.
We do not know for sure why we get pleasant dreams sometimes and nightmares some other times. There is also no reason (none that we know of) for why we get dreams on some nights and don’t on some others. Sleep experts conjecture that we dream all the time—as soon as we go into the sleep mode—but we do not remember most of these dreams when we wake up.
So, why do some dreams leave an impression on our minds, enough for us to remember them when we wake them, and some are forgotten altogether?
There are other problems as well. People do not have the same kind of sleeping habits. Some people sleep fitfully, while others sleep with complete abandon.
Any single person won’t sleep in the same manner every night. Our sleep is as varied as it can be, only we do not realize it most of the time because when we sleep, we are completely in a transcendental stage, an altogether different world.
Why do some people wake up shrieking in the middle of the night, bathed in cold sweat? Why do some people smile when they are sleeping? Why do some people toss restlessly when they are sleeping? Why do some people walk in their sleep?
These are all mysteries that modern science still does not have concrete answers for. We do not know why these things happen. We do not have any rational answers for why these kinds of things happen to one person and do not happen to another.
We shall be taking a closer look at such problems in this chapter.
I Had This Awesome Dream Last Night!
Most people spend about 2 hours a night dreaming, although for many of us remembering a dream may be unusual. Why we dream is still the subject of many studies and research projects, however, over the past 30 years research has helped us understand a great deal about dreams and the place of dreaming in our waking and sleeping cycle.
Until recently it was thought that sleep caused all bodily functions to sleep and to rest. Today it is known that far from being a rest time, much of the normal body functions continue as we sleep. This includes our brains, which continue to be active throughout the night.
When we sleep we pass through five stages of sleep, the last one of these stages is called “REM” or Random Eye Movement sleep that is characterized by rapid eye movements and our heart and breath rate rises, our blood pressure rises and this is the stage that we have dreams.
Throughout the night, our sleep cycles through these five stages. The first two are light sleep stages, and the third and fourth stages are typically the sleep we refer to as “deep sleep”. The fifth stage is the REM sleep. As the night progresses, the period of REM sleep increases and the period of deep sleep decreases.
People, particularly children who are woken or disturbed during deep sleep will often hallucinate and experience night terrors or nightmares.
Different nerve cells in the brain (known as neurotransmitters) carry the signal to move from stage to stage in the sleep cycles. The messages they carry can be affected by the things we eat and drink, and by such external stimuli as light and noise and for those who smoke, nicotine addiction. These affect the amount of time we spend in REM and it is known that we need the REM sleep for healthy living.
When deprived of REM sleep, laboratory rats died very quickly. People, who are sleep deprived as a form of torture, will also have less REM sleep. REM sleep is essential for optimal memory and brain function. Lack of REM sleep leaves us feeling tired and lethargic throughout the day. It impairs our memory and our judgment and affects our mood. The person who does not have chronic insomnia, will usually require extra “catch up” sleep, after experiencing consecutive days with reduced sleep.
The important factor in ensuring you get enough sleep is to recognize and accept the importance of sleep. Your body relies on sleep to function properly and depriving it of sleep to get things done, will actually have the reverse effect. To achieve the “to do” list effectively and safely, you must sleep. Accept that your physical and mental wellbeing depends on your having the right amount of sleep at night and do your best to set up your life routines to accommodate adequate time to sleep the recommended hours for your age group.Other Details
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