The importance of quality sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep is very important for our overall wellbeing. Sleep affects many aspects of brain function, including learning, memory, problem-solving skills, creativity, decision making, focus, and concentration. Help your brain and body by getting seven to eight hours of sleep every night.
Crystal Linn
As children our parents and grandparents told us to go to sleep as our bodies needed rest to help us grow. They would be amazed at our modern technology and what really happens during sleep.
 This brief article can only cover a few of the countless maintenance functions our bodies perform during sleep. There are many articles and books on this subject for you to read, and the sleep experts continue to learn more each day.
 To begin the sleep process, we do not gradually ‘fall asleep.’ Once our core body temperature lowers by one to three degrees Fahrenheit (-17 to -16 Celsius). The brain’s awake button turns off and, at the same time, the sleep button turns on. It is like turning off a bright light and turning on a blacklight at the same time.
 Sleep experts have discovered there are five stages of sleep, four are non rapid eye movement (NREM) and one is rapid eye movement (REM). Stages one and two are when our bodies shut down non-essential functions and move into a deeper sleep. Stages three and four are the deep sleep where our bodies do most of the work. 
 These are the Delta sleep stages. Each sleep cycle from NREM stage one to the REM cycle takes approximately 90 minutes to complete. When we have good sleep we complete four to five cycles each night. During the first few cycles the REM sleep lasts approximately 10 minutes. However, during the last few cycles the REM sleep can be longer than the NREM sleep and may last up to an hour.
 Instead of the entire body doing everything at once, the various hormones and neurons have a schedule. The growth hormone is one of the first performers and our bodies release it between 10 p.m. and midnight.
 The function of the growth hormone is to tell the liver which parts of the body need which hormone for functions such as breaking down fatty liver and establishing metabolism.
 Other NREM schedules include cleaning out toxins, replenishing energy and doing repair work. A few other tasks performed are neuron reconnecting, inflammation fighting and cellular repair; also tissue repair and replacement.
 The REM sleep cycle is where the brain begins to clean itself. During this cycle the brain cleans out any toxins and organizes the prior day’s events, transferring them to the cerebral cortex, the brain’s long-term memory bank.
 According to an article in HealthLine sleep affects many aspects of brain function. A few of these are learning, problem-solving skills and decision making. Also sleep is critical for emotional health. In the REM stages, the four areas of the brain responsible for regulating our emotions are cleaned and any needed repairs are made, creating stronger emotional stability.
 In addition to cleaning itself the brain also rehydrates itself.
 It is believed the reason our eyes move rapidly while dreaming is because we are tracking/watching the various activities in our dreams. However scientists wish to do more research on this.
 Sleep is foundational to our total wellbeing. If you suspect that you or any loved one may have sleep apnea or other sleep disorders, contact your primary care provider. Sleep deprivation can lead to mental illness and suicide.
 Email us and share your thoughts regarding sleep. I personally reply to each email.

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