8 THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT THE SCIENCE OF SLEEP THAT MAY SAVE YOUR LIFE!
1. THE SCIENCE OF SLEEP IS CONTROLLED BY BRAIN
The Science of Sleep- Sleep is controlled by several areas of the your brain. One area is the brain stem and hypothalamus, which promote wakefulness by sending chemical neurotransmitters to your cerebral cortex. Another part is your hypothalamus which sends signals to inhibit the arousal centers. The important thing to remember about the science of sleep is that these brains centers need to communicate with each other... and maintain nature’s perfectly designed symphony of chemical reactions. When everything communicates smoothly you fall asleep and stay asleep. When they don’t, you suffer from insomnia - the inability to fall asleep, or your sleep may not be restful.
2. SLEEP MAINTAINS YOUR MIND
Scientists believe that sleep science reveals many clues to good health and mental alertness and is important in maintaining how well your brain functions. Sleep deprivation results in impaired thinking skills, poor concentration and a faulty memory.
3. SLEEP MAINTAINS YOUR HEALTH
Sleep is important in maintaining your physical health. Poor quality of sleep leaves you not only feeling tired and irritable during the day, but also makes you more likely to develop dangerous health issues like degenerative diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, auto-immune dysfunctions etc.
4. YOUR BODY HAS A CLOCK
Close to a century ago a Russian-born American psychologist, Nathanial Kleitman, who studied the science of sleep proved that sleep and your body in general work on a circadian rhythm, a 24 hour cycle, which is more or less constant, no matter what you do or whether or not you are exposed to natural light. He did this by spending three months underground in the Mammoth Caves in Kentucky. Temperatures there remain constant and because he was deep underground, there was no exposure to daylight. Still he and his companions discovered that they still slept and woke on a regular basis just as they had above ground.
Your circadian rhythm, or biological clock, controls many of your bodily functions like oxygen consumption, urine output, muscle strength, even body temperature along with your sleep patterns and it must repeat every 24 hours as well as synchronize with day and night. Anything that helps us attune to that rhythm is called a zeitgerber. As you may have suspected about the science of sleep, daylight is one of the best zeitgerbers or triggers to help set and properly maintain your circadian rhythm.
6. BLUE LIGHT
We begin waking up when the blue light portion of white light travels through our retina and hits the back of our eyes activating it’s own branch of the optic nerve which then triggers the brain to begin the waking process. Amazingly we do this when our eyes are still closed and even before we can actually perceive the light itself.
7. THE VAMPIRE HORMONE
When darkness begins to fall your pineal gland, a tiny pea sized gland in the middle front of your brain starts producing melatonin,a hormone which is often called the vampire hormone and this powerful hormone helps you sleep throught the night. It’s production continues to rise throughout the night until 3 or 4 AM. Secretion of melatonin stops completely as soon as the sun comes up in
8. BRAIN WAVES
The brain emits waves while we are both awake and asleep that oscillate (move to and fro like a pendulum) in frequency between next to nothing and 30 cycles per second (known as Hertz or HZ) and it’s the kind of waves your brain is producing at any moment, as well as your journey through several cycles and stages of sleep that determine your quality of sleep. Click here to learn more about the all important STAGES OF SLEEP
9. SLEEP DRIVE
Another function of our biological clock is to balance our sleep and wake cycles. One part of your brain Is responsible for sending alert signals throughout the day that allow us to stay awake over the course of a 16 hour day. At the same time, another homeostatic system, called your sleep drive starts building up a kind of pressure that counterbalances the alert signals. This pressure continues to build with every waking hour and is impacted by the quality and quantity of previous periods of sleep. Ever notice how you feel the need to get extra sleep if you missed a few hours of sleep the night before. That’s your sleep drive at work!