Hummingbirds use torpor sleep to survive on the coldest winter nights, a type of deep sleep where the animal lowers its metabolic rate by up to 95%. By slowing it's body and body temperature down to a hypothermic threshold barely sustaining its life, the hummingbird uses 50% less energy. Luckily, we don't have to completely slow down our heart rate and cool our body temperature in order to conserve energy-- what we really need is proper stages of sleep.
There are 4 stages of sleep, including REM sleep;
Stage 1 - Light sleep, you can be woken up very easily
Stage 2 - Eye movement and brain waves slow
Stage 3 - Brain waves are slow, synchronized and oscillating
Stage 4 - Deep sleep which includes no eye movement or muscle activity
Now, all animals sleep even though scientists are still uncertain of the exact purpose of sleep. A study on mice in non-REM sleep showed that sleep allowed space in the tissue of the brain so that cerebral fluid could flow and clear away toxins, which may explain why we feel "reset" in the morning.
Most people end up interested in sleep science and sleep theory because of insomnia. It's absolutely astounding how many people struggle every night with falling asleep. Possibly the most interesting aspect of getting a good night's rest is the science behind mood congruence. When we sleep, we are consolidating information and strengthening our memories. Your level of personal positive attitude can be dependent on how much sleep you're getting. We develop a chemically induced memory of negative emotions, outlooks and self image that continually self-perpetuates as we continue to sleep poorly. Negativity is amplified when we're sleep deprived can can add to a model of depression in adults.
Why do sleep meditations work so well to train new sleep habits?
We associate memories with sounds and subconsciously construct our ideas about the world during our sleep cycles. This is why our meditations allow you to drift further away from consciousness and past the light sleep stages so that your subconscious can absorb positive life affirmations. Because of the stage where these ideas about positivity, gratitude, confidence, etc. are suggested, the brain has an easier way of creating connections and enhancing the information so that it can be useful in your waking life. The style of meditation trains your brains synopses to not be interrupted as the noise decreases and allows you to relax fully so that you can sleep soundly, and your mind can be reinvigorated by a good night of sleep.
The science of sleep is incredibly interesting and this really only skims the very surface of why guided meditations can help you sleep better. To experience this easy method of training your brain and body, you can visit our Patreon Page to learn more. New this week is the podcast about Reflections of Change, as well.
I was surprised recently by some of the facts presented by the National Sleep Foundation regarding how a lack of sleep affects people's performance and behaviours. Here's the top 3 items that caught my eye...
Divorced, separated and widowed people experience more insomnia.
This isn't much of surprise since people in any one of these situations probably have a lot of responsibilities on their mind at any given time. It's important to be able to calm the mind at bedtime and stop all those thoughts about what needs to be done, how things will get done and how the heck we're going to do them! A calm mind leads to a calm body and helps you fall asleep more quickly. You'll also be more rested, focused and energized to get all those things done the next day too because you got a good night's sleep!
The body never adjusts to shift work.
This makes sense because our bodies have a natural rhythm. I imagine that if someone was put on a tropical island without clocks or a smart phone how quickly they would begin to go to sleep and awaken in sync with the rising and setting of the sun. Of course if you've got to work shifts, it would be beneficial to have something that you could listen to to calm you mind and body so you don't have to try so hard to get to sleep when you need to. After all, as with many things, the harder you try... the less likely you are to fall asleep... kinda like pushing a string...
More than eight in ten survey respondents think that people often or sometimes misuse prescription sleep aids.
Lots of people are popping pills to get to sleep which may be completely unnecessary. The more you listen to guided sleep meditations the faster they work, it's like conditioning your mind and body to calm down when it's time to go to sleep. Best of all, sleep meditations are non addictive, allow you to wake up alert and refreshed and are way less expensive that pills.
If you've had problems sleeping, give guided sleep meditations a try! It's as simple as slipping on your headphones, visiting www.patreon.com/trackstorelax and pressing play. Pleasant dreams!
If you'd like to read more sleep facts from the National Sleep Foundation, just click here.