Archives for May 2013

Sleep Cycle… are you pedaling too hard?

 

 

 

 

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The horizontal axis measures how long you sleep. The vertical axis measures the depth of your sleep

 

Direct your attention to the upper left.  Visualize yourself as descending the black steps until the bottom is reached. As you take your first step into the healthy, adult sleep cycle, be aware that the first 15 minutes or so of drifting from awake into sleep is not repeated throughout the night. You might think of it as ‘dropping off to sleep’.  The first descent into sleep bypasses REM Sleep.

 

We have been looking at the graph’s horizontal axis.  Now please consider the vertical axis which measures depth of sleep.   Stage one through four become progressively deeper and more regenerative.  Having dropped into the sleep cycle, you now drop into the delta phases of sleep.  This first plunge into deep sleep (hard to awaken in Stage 4) skips REM, but the remaining four or five cycles which cycle away from wakefulness and into deeper sleep and then ascends the sleep stages  travelling evermore toward being awake.

 

Look at the thick black tops of each of each peak in the graph.  While in this part of the sleep cycle, one is engaged in Rapid Eye Movement sleep.  The brain wave patterns of REM look almost like awake tracings but more ‘jagged and spikier’, if you will.  The form of the tracings of Stage One  through Four are sinuous and gentle by comparison.  During REM sleep, your voluntary muscles are incapacitated so one can not act out one’s dreams. During this phase, the musculature of the soft palate and tongue also lose tone and can collapse backward,  thereby obstructing your airway.  When this happens, your body responds in emergency mode, never allowing you to proceed to the healing, regenerative deeper stages of sleep.

If you feel tired no matter how long you sleep, consult with Dr. Goldman at (510) 527-6673 regarding the possibility of keeping your airway open while sleeping with a comfortable, non-invasive oral airway dilating device.