S.E.X PART 2
- We all love it, but are you getting enough?
- What is enough?
- Teenagers need more?
- If we don’t get enough, our mood suffers?
- Try a few different techniques?
- Create the ideal bedroom environment, I’ll show you how?
In today’s society the incidence of lifestyle related illnesses are increasing everyday. Anxiety, depression, adrenal fatigue, type 2 diabetes, overweight and obesity are all common disorders that many people are suffer from, often as a result of an accumulation of everyday stressors leading to a combination of a hectic lifestyle and a roller coaster of emotional responses.
Therefore, to help eliminate these stressors, I think it is particularly important, first and foremost, to control the controllables on a personal level. One easy daily ritual that has a significant impact on your health, both emotional and physical, is SLEEP.
In the 1950’s we use to average around 8 hours sleep a night, now in 2015 we are lucky to average 6.5 hours, many people actually average as little as 5 hours.
This statistic astounds me as the benefits of sound sleeping habits are well documented. Deep, optimal sleep has been proven to provide countless benefits to our daily life – including strengthened immune system, increased memory, a trimmer waistline and improved emotional wellness. Yet we still don’t value sleep or give it the respect it deserves. My personal view is that if we didn’t need sleep our body wouldn’t crave it and we would suffer any signs or symptoms many people suffer today (light headedness, dizziness, heart palpitations, dark circles under their eyes, alcohol intolerance). So why don’t we respect sleep or why aren’t we getting adequate amounts of it?
Many of you might have heard the saying, ‘you sleep when you’re dead’. In the 1980’s Margret Thatcher was quoted as saying ‘Sleeping is for wimps’ and more recently the fictional character, Gordon Jekko in the film Wall Street said, ‘money never sleeps’. There is more and more scientific based evident that suggests the opposite and I love the quote from Thomas Dekker who stated, ‘Sleep is the golden chain that ties our health and our bodies together”. Therefore, for anyone who wants to be healthy and successful in life (personally and professionally), quality sleep is an essential, not a luxury. When we are well rested we can live our lives to the fullest and perform at our optimal capacity. So let’s begin by changing our mindset and start valuing sleep as a must have commodity.
OUR SLEEP CYCLE
Many people mistakenly believe that on going to bed, we fall into deep sleep, then move into lighter sleep before waking up. However, beyond closing your eyes can be divided into several stages of light and deep sleep. Each cycle is recurring and can lasts 90 – 110 minutes and is divided into 2 stages, non REM (which is split into four further stages) and REM sleep.
Stage 1: Light Sleep
During the first stage of sleep, we’re half awake and half asleep. Our muscle activity slows down and slight twitching can occur. The period of light sleep may only last a few minutes, meaning we can be woken easily and occupies approximately 2 – 5 % of normal sleep cycle. I refer to this as the ‘head nod’ or the ‘dribbling phase’.
Stage 2: Light – intermediate Sleep
Within 10 minutes of light sleep, we enter the second stage, which initially lasts for around 20 minutes. The breathing pattern and heart rate start to slow down. The period accounts for the largest part of human sleep (45 – 55%).
Stage 3 and 4: Deep Sleep
During the third stage, the brain begins to produce delta waves. These are large (high amplitude) and slow (low frequency). Breathing and heart rate are at their lowest levels.
The fourth stage is characterised by rhythmic breathing and limited muscle activity and compromises 40% of normal night’s sleep. If we are woken during deep sleep we do not adjust immediately and often feel groggy and dis-orientated for several minutes.
The first REM period usually begins about 70 – 90 minutes after we all into deep sleep. We have around 3- 5 REM episodes a night. Although we are not conscious, the brain is very active, often more so than when we are awake. This is the period when most dreams occur. Our eyes dart around (hence the name REM for rapid eye movement), and our breathing rate and blood pressure rise. However our bodies are effectively paralyzed, which is natures way of preventing us from acting out our dreams. After REM sleep, the whole sleep cycle begins again.
WHAT IS THE IDEAL AMOUNT OF SLEEP
Sleep specialists suggest that between six and eight hours a night is enough for most of us. This is the amount of sleep we need to function comfortably in our daily life; beyond that, sleep is enjoyable time filler but is not essential. Just like food and sex most of us would like to have more sleep than we need simply for enjoyment, not just because it is good for our health. Be mindful that 6 – 8 hrs. of sleep is the daily average a person needs. However, your sleep needs will vary according to your individual circumstances. The key is to find what works for you. If you feel alert and energetic during the day, then you are getting enough sleep.
Nevertheless, respect the three main reasons’ we sleep include;
- Restoration: rest, recovery, and rebuilding
- Energy conservation
- Brain functioning