The one and only reason of your constant tiredness
Sleep plays one of the most important roles in our physical health. As it turns out, most people don't know enough about the process of sleep and keep wondering why they are always so tired...
Today we want to reveal all the secrets of a good night's sleep in this quick guide to the science of sleep.
What is the history of the modern science of sleep?
In 1972, Michel Siffre, a French scientist, spent six months in a cave to study biological rhythms of a human body. He lived in a tent and had a phone to keep in touch with his research group. Michel’s dark retreat was only lamped with a small bulb. He had no chance to discover what time it was – he didn’t even know whether it was night or day. This way, his body chose its own time to fall asleep or stay awake.
Sometimes Michel could sleep for 12 hours and then stay awake for 36 hours, still feeling great. His natural sleep cycle was a bit longer than that dictated by daylight hours – approximately 24 hours and 30 minutes. This amazing experiment became an incredible scientific breakthrough, resulting in sleep performance centers at world’s top research institutes.
Another important contribution to the science of sleep was made by the researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and Washington State University. Three groups of experimental subjects slept for different amount of time per night in the course of two weeks: 4, 6 and 8 hours. They underwent performance tests every day.
The results were the following:
Isn't that surprising?
Here are the main findings of the modern science of sleep:
Modern life is so fast some people don’t even get a chance to sleep for more than 6 hours per night, if not less. But never believe people who say they are satisfied with such an amount of sleep! For example, if you don’t get enough night’s sleep for a couple of weeks, it will result in a noticeable decline in your physical and mental performance, just as if you had been awake for 2 days straight!
If you don’t get much sleep at night, you only get more time, but you still can’t function as well as you could. According to the research, US employees’ sleep deprivation, which results in declined performances, costs businesses about $100 billion a year!
People tend to think their productivity stays the same even if they don’t get enough sleep for some time. But it doesn’t! Consuming a certain amount of caffeine, communicating with others and doing your work make you feel awake, but, in fact, you’re still not performing efficiently. If you experience daytime sleepiness or find it hard to perform some monotonous work, the reason might be permanent lack of sleep.
There are two important types of sleep, and each one helps you recover in different ways
Every night's sleep starts with the Stage 1. All night long Stage 3 and 4 come one after another, forming the so called sleep cycles. The transition phase between Deep Sleep and REM is the Stage 2. One sleep cycle lasts for approximately 90 minutes.
During the so called slow-wave or deep sleep, you relax, breathe regularly, your brain almost doesn’t response to external stimuli. Your muscles and immune system repair, so this stage helps you recover physically.
During the REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, you see dreams, your brain reorganizes information and analyzes your experience of the last day. This stage is responsible for your mental recovery.
We would literally die without these two essential phases of sleep.
As we age, it takes us longer to fall asleep. According to the scientists, aging also decreases one’s quality of sleep, as older persons get less slow-wave and REM sleep. As a result, your body doesn’t get enough time to restore at night, leading to the accelerated aging. If you find it hard to sleep well all night long, try to take a good midday nap every day – this will help you to feel better and slow down the aging process.
What are the practical strategies for better sleep?
Coffee can’t replace sleep, it only makes you feel more awake for a while. One study has found that consuming caffeine after noon can reduce night’s sleep time by 1 hour! If you can’t live without your morning coffee, it’s OK, just don’t consume more caffeine in the afternoon.
It’s perfect if your bedroom is used for sleep ONLY. It should be a cool, dark and quiet place free from electronic devices and clutter.
Sticking to a schedule is healthy. It helps to master your “body clock” and stay asleep for all night long.
Get used to calming down your body every evening! An hour before going to sleep turn off your TV and computer, put your phone away and read a book or meditate for a while. You’ll see how easy it’s to fall asleep when nothing disturbs or irritates you.
Do you often feel tired? Take one nap a day in the early afternoon to restore and spend the rest of the day productively.
Sunshine helps your body and brain wake up and get ready for a new day. But to calm yourself down at night you need to make your sleeping environment as dark as you can. Remove electronic devices from your room and use blackout curtains.
Knowing the science of sleep can help you make your life better and get rid of permanent tiredness. Sleep more, be healthy and smile every day!
Was this information useful for you? Do you often feel tired? How many hours a day do you sleep?
Share your opinion about this article or some other tips with us in the comments below!
More about health on QuizzClub:
- Top 7 common health myths dispelled
- We bet you always believed these 8 completely false facts
- Depression: 6 facts about the disease that will dispel the myths you believe in
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