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.