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Sleep Cycles

6 Ways to Reduce Nighttime Awakenings for Better Sleep

Waking frequently during the night reduces your sleep satisfaction. Learn how to limit these sleep disturbances. How long you sleep each night is important, but even if you get the recommended seven to eight hours of shut-eye, you won’t feel fully refreshed the next day if you’re waking up every hour. Frequent awakenings can lead to lower sleep satisfaction, especially if it takes a long time to fall back asleep. Rather than stress about the sleep you’re losing out on, focus on incorporating some of these habits into your routine to help you fall—and stay—asleep. Avoid Caffeine in the Afternoon Although you might enjoy your P.M. pick-me-up, drinking caffeine too late in the day can…

How to Cut Down on Night Waking

For some, sleeping through the night feels like a distant dream. Learn how to increase your odds of disturbance-free sleep tonight. Many people have no trouble sleeping through the night. For people who suffer from nighttime waking, the consequences extend far beyond a momentary annoyance. Falling asleep can be hard enough, but staying asleep is a whole other issue. Lost sleep equals morning grogginess and low energy throughout the next day.. There are a number of reasons people tend to wake up at night, including underlying health conditions and poor sleep habits. In severe cases, a medical professional can help. For others, a few small tweaks in your bedtime routine may provide the relief you…

What is the Sleep/Wake Cycle?

There’s a reason that your eyelids start to feel heavy in the evening, and pop open in the morning—sometimes even before you’ve gotten enough sleep. Blame it on your sleep/wake cycle (also known as your circadian rhythm). The sleep/wake cycle is a daily pattern that determines when it’s time to sleep and when it’s time to be awake. For most humans, the ideal cycle includes seven to nine hours of sleep (typically at night) followed by 15 to 17 hours of wakefulness. The body has a series of processes that set the stage for this cycle. For example, different chemicals and hormones rise and fall over the course of roughly 24 hours, causing you to…

Understanding Sleep Cycles: What Happens While You Sleep

Learn what is really going on in your body while you’re getting your zzz’s. Before the 1950’s, scientists used to believe that as people drifted off to sleep, their brains and bodies would go into “shutdown” mode, entering a passive state that allowed them to recover from the previous day. What researchers have since learned: Sleep is a whole lot more complicated, and it’s a much more active state than you might think. In fact, while you’re getting your zzz’s, your brain goes through various patterns of activity. It’s a predictable cycle that includes two distinct parts – NREM, or Non-REM sleep, plus a REM or “Rapid Eye Movement” cycle. Check out what happens in…

Sleep Cycles: Everything You Need to Know

Find out what’s happening in your brain while you’re fast asleep. Your body may be still while you sleep, but your brain is actually pretty active. In fact, it goes back and forth between two phases: rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which is when dreams typically happen, and non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, which is when the body bolsters your immune system, builds muscle and bone, and mends and regenerates tissues. Your brain first enters four different stages of NREM sleep and then goes through REM, and this whole pattern is considered one cycle. The cycles repeat themselves until you wake up—usually after about five full cycles. Find out what goes on step-by-step, below.