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Monday, November 30, 2015

What is REM sleep?

REM stands for Rapid Eye Movement sleep and is the phase of sleep during which dreaming occurs. REM sleep follows the 3 stages on Non-REM sleep and is also know as active sleep.

REM sleep happens about 90 minutes after falling alseep and initially lasts about 10 minutes. Each stage of REM sleep gets longer; the last one can last up to an hour. We can have from 4 to 6 sleep cycles a night meaning we can experience REM sleep 4 to 6 times every sleep.

During REM sleep the body repairs tissues, build bones, and strengthens the immune system.

Adults can spend about 20% of their sleep in REM whereas babies about 50%.

REM is sometimes called paradoxical sleep because oxygen consumption is also very high, often higher than when awake.


Monday, November 23, 2015

What is Non-REM sleep?

Our sleep is divided into 2 categories of sleep, REM and Non-REM sleep.

Non-REM sleep has 3 stages:

Stage 1 Drowsy sleep (N1)  is the stage between wakefulness and deep sleep. It lasts about 10 minutes or 5% of overall sleep time. The sleeper may be aware of sounds byt be unwilling to respond to them.

Stage 2(N2) proceeds as awareness of the outside world fades. Breathing and heart rate slow down. This stage takes about 45-50% of overall sleep time.

Stage 3 Slow-wave sleep (N3) occurs in larger periods during the first part of the night. Heart rate, blood pressure, temperature are lowest during Stage 3 with limited muscle activity. Information processing and memory consolidation mostly take place during this stage which covers about 15-20% of sleep time.  

Monday, November 16, 2015

What are our sleep cycles?

We have 2 types of sleep: Non-REM sleep (known as quiet sleep) and REM sleep (known as active sleep). Each cycle of sleep lasts about 90 minutes and repeats itself between 4-6 times a night. Non-REM sleep  has 3 stages (known as N1, N2, N3).

Monday, November 9, 2015

What is circadian rhythm?

Our circadian rhythm controls our 24 hour cycle or body clock, and regulates our sleep cycles.

Our body clock is contolled by the SCN (Suprachiasmatic Nucleas), which are a group of cells in the hypothalamus which respond to light and dark signals.

The rhythm can be disrupted by shift work, jet lag, or teenage hormonal change.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

What is emotional resilience?

Emotional resilience is the capacity to adapt well to difficult situations such as severe stress, illness, high conflict, trauma, illness, etc.

Resilience can be nurtured through:

  • close friends/family
  • feeling in control
  • helping others
  • managing strong feelings
  • changing thinking patterns
  • making meaning from disturbing events.

Why does "patience" matter?

Patience is the capacity to wait out uncomfortable situations without getting irritated or angry.

Developing patience takes practise, especially if it doesn't come naturally.

Patience feels peaceful and calm and can help prevent stress related illnesses or other conditions. Patience can also help turn off anger.

To be patient can also mean to be persistent , that is, to keep going forwards despite frustration. It can also mean to be accepting of the ways things are in the moment, and then to stay calm in response to that moment.

"Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience". Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Patience is the key to paradise". Turkish proverb.

Monday, November 2, 2015

What is sleep inertia?

Sleep inertia is the groggy feeling which lasts about 30 minutes after waking up from a 30-60 minute nap. Waking up during REM sleep (deep sleep) results in this grogginess.

Sleep inertia is avoided  by taking a longer (90 min.) nap because an entire sleep cycle (including the REM sleep) is thus concluded.

Sleep inertia can also be avoided by taking shorter (10-20 min.)  naps, meaning waking up before hitting the REM phase of a sleep cycle.