By Rose Bedassie, Wellness Consultant & Health Coach, Thornhill
Do you want to really know why it is beneficial to take a nap during the day? Well those 20 minutes of snoozing will bank a positive balance in your sleep account. And rejuvenate you far more than you may know.
Although popular advertising and promotion will say that REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep is the best quality of sleep, there are in fact three stages of sleep all of which are important. The first two stages of sleep are Non-REM sleep and account for 75-80% of total sleep. This is why it is important to have great sleep hygiene as these are the stages of sleep where those habits actually affect. This includes falling asleep and “stilling” the mind from stimulants prior to sleep. These stimulants include food such as caffeine, sugar and salty snacks. Not only will these give your body a reason to stay up longer to process them, they also give us unwanted water retention and excess weight gain.
Let’s talk about electronic devices that we use either in bed or just prior. Studies show that 11:00pm is one of the highest times Face book and social media are trafficked! That’s because it’s the time that most people are checking their messages, making posts or “liking pics “before going to sleep. This is great for advertising, but not so great for you, because the stimulation from that can have a horrendous effect on your sleep, over time, and rob you of precious hours when you need to be dozing off. Ideally, we want to get past these first two stages of sleep quickly which means simply making the bed an “off limits” zone for anything other than intimacy and sleep.
The sleep that is referred to as REM sleep only accounts for 20-25% of total sleep in one sleep period. The other two stages are important but account for more of one’s sleep time overall. Even though we promote sleep according to times the truth about real recovery is allowing one’s self to get more of that 20-25% of quality sleep. Here the goods: When we are awake during the day it is possible to get ourselves into that REM sleep by taking a “power nap”. That small power nap actually takes you right into that Stage #3 sleep immediately; avoids the other stages, and refreshes us even more optimally than a long bout of sleep. How cool is that!
Take note of the Sleep Stages:
#1 – Stage of sleep accounts for 25-30% of sleep
#2 – Stage of sleep accounts for 50% of sleep
#3 – Stage of sleep accounts for 20-25% of sleep and is of the highest quality
It’s also important to remember that the first two stages of sleep are not REM sleep, so as a result we really need to get past those stages efficiently. In one hour of sleep time we can slip into those different stages however for those “power sleepers” who have told themselves that they can live on 4 or 5 hours of sleep; they need to know that they are actually robbing themselves of the stage 3 of sleep mostly, and that puts them into the danger zone if that persists over time. You will find that those who do rotating shift work, work long hours or have extremely high stress jobs, those who stay up late nights and the ones who don’t practice good Sleep Hygiene are the most susceptible to having a sleep disorder. And have the most excess body fat of all of our patients seen in the Metabolic Program.
The next time you’re up late, on the “red eye” or simply lost some of that sleep time at night – Take a Nap during the day. This sleep during the day can be more beneficial than sleeping in. Then, ensure you get back to your regular sleep regime ASAP so that sleep deprivation doesn’t set in.
A word of advice: protect your “sleep time” like it is a meeting with the CEO. Adhere to your timing more often than not, and you will notice when you veer off of your sleep pattern sooner than with accumulated sleep loss because your body will give you signals. Accumulated sleep loss over time can lead to a Sleep Disorder. Implementing proper Sleep is “conditioning” to the body, just as exercise, so protect it.