— Doctors say you should sleep an average of eight hours. But in fact, someone gets enough sleep in four hours, and for someone even ten is not enough. What does this depend on?
– In fact, not everyone needs eight hours of sleep a day. Sleep need is individual and can range from 4 to 12 hours. Most of us have an average sleep need, and we need 7-8 hours of sleep per night. However, there is a small percentage among short sleepers (they need 4-6 hours of sleep) and long sleepers (who sleep 9-12 hours a night).
The need for sleep is genetically determined and remains approximately the same from age 20 and throughout a person’s later life.
– Do people suffer from insomnia more now than in the 20th century?
– Depends on which period of the 20th century to compare. In general, it would be pretty obvious if we quote the following fact: Since the invention of the electric light bulb, people have lost about two hours of sleep a day. Being able to create 24/7 lighting for yourself means reducing your sleepiness. But, of course, not only in light of the issue. Gadgets, information overload, the stresses of today’s hectic lifestyle all contribute to sleep deprivation. It is important to note here that a lack of sleep is not just an inconvenience. If a person does not sleep enough chronically, the risk of arterial hypertension, diabetes mellitus, coronary heart disease and depression increases.
– What causes fatigue, drowsiness due to lack of sleep?
– Sleep deprivation symptoms are primarily the result of insufficient sleep time, referred to as REM sleep.
Let’s return briefly to the physiology of sleep. When a person first falls asleep, they enter the first stage of slow sleep. This is the most superficial and most easily disrupted sleep, nap. This is followed by the second stage – here the dream is already deeper. The third stage is the deepest sleep. And this is the sleep period, which is the most important for our body. In the third stage, the body replenishes its energy resources, renews cells and tissues, and the brain cleanses itself of metabolic products. Finally, after the third stage, REM sleep occurs when the brain processes information, builds a long-term memory, refreshes emotional perception, and creates a feeling of “sleep.” The sequence of stages listed makes up the sleep cycle. The cycle lasts 1.5-2 hours, and during the whole night a person wakes up from 4 to 7 cycles.
What is sleep deprivation and what are the consequences? The fact is that the third stage of slow sleep (regeneration of the body) is longer in the first cycles after falling asleep. In the morning, its duration is much less. This is because in a dream the body primarily tries to restore the body. And vice versa: REM sleep is less in the first half of the night and more in the second half.
Thus, if a person does not get enough sleep, they will get almost all of their slow-wave sleep, but less REM sleep. That is, memory, attention, performance, mood suffer in the first place.
In order for sleep to fulfill all its functions and to give a feeling of freshness and relaxation, it should last as long as one needs. If there is not enough sleep, the person will feel worse.
– Can daytime sleep compensate for nighttime sleep deprivation?
– To some extent, yes. In addition, if the person does not get enough sleep at night, daytime sleep is highly recommended. True, it is important to remember that it is better to wake up after a daytime nap no later than 15 hours. Also, daytime rest should not be too long: minimum 15-20 minutes, maximum 30-40 minutes. Otherwise, there is a risk of being disturbed in falling asleep at night.
Does it matter when we go to bed? Or is it important to do it at the same time?
– Consistency is very important. When a person sleeps regularly, his body gets used to work stably. He begins to feel hunger at a predictable time to show that he is ready for physical or mental work. In addition, it is highly desirable that bedtime and wake-up times occur at the most favorable times. This time individual, just like our need for sleep.
There is the concept of chronotype. Most of us belong to the intermediate chronotype (such people are also called “pigeons”), but there are also “owls” and “larks”. If a person is an owl, then it is extremely difficult for him to exist according to the regimen of larks. And similarly: if a lark is forced to go to bed and get up at an unusual time for him, he will be very uncomfortable. Ideally, a person should go to bed and get up at a time that is comfortable for them, in accordance with their natural rhythms.
How does sleep follow circadian rhythms? For example, a person lives in Moscow, goes to bed and wakes up at the same time, but then moves to a different time zone and adapts to it. How does the body do this, what are the starting points of the sleep-wake cycle?
– Our sleep and wakefulness are controlled by external and internal biological clocks. The internal clock is found in every cell of our body. Thanks to them, a person maintains the basic rhythm of sleep: plus or minus 8 hours of sleep, followed by plus or minus 16 hours of wakefulness. Thanks to the internal clock, a person can never sleep, for example, for 20 hours, and then stay awake for 30 hours … The “internal day” is approximately equal to 24 hours.
As for the outer clock, this is actually astronomical time: more precisely, the alternation of day and night. Light is our main timer. By adjusting the working of the internal clock, it helps us to follow the usual routine: we are awake during the day and sleep at night.
If a person living in Moscow moves to a different time zone, in the first few days the body will be in a state of confusion: after all, the internal clock will work as before, and the external clock will show a different time. However, gradually the rhythms will adapt to the new time of day and night and the person will be quite comfortable in the new time zone. Again, light will help. It is important to start living according to the new time immediately after moving: open the curtains on the windows immediately after waking up, go out more and be more active in the morning, and on the contrary avoid the light in the evening. lighting.
“If you can re-adjust to life in a different time period, why can’t owls be retrained to be larks and vice versa?”
– They can to some extent. Most often, such a problem arises before the owls, who, like the main part of society, are forced to live according to the lark regime. The following are recommended:
gradually, by half an hour or an hour a day, shift your wake up time to an earlier time; turn on bright lights or go outside shortly after waking up; do not sleep during the day; give up caffeine in the second half of the day; engage in physical activity, especially in the morning; spend the evening in a relaxed atmosphere; If desired, take preparations of melatonin, an artificial sleep hormone: they help to restore rhythms more easily.
But we have to admit that it is more difficult for owls to be early risers than for humans in general to adapt to changing time zones. After all, owls naturally tend to go to bed later: their “inner day” is longer than 24 hours. Unlike the lighting, it is not adjustable.
Why do old people sleep so little? On the contrary, wouldn’t it take longer for an aged body to recover?
“Healthy people get about the same amount of sleep from age 20 and for the rest of their lives. Therefore, if a person has reduced sleep, this is primarily a reason to suspect health problems. Atherosclerosis, chronic cerebral ischemia, diabetes mellitus, hypothyroidism, depression – these and many other age-related problems cause sleep disorders.
– There are techniques of polyphasic sleep in which people do not immediately sleep for eight hours at a time, but do get some sleep several times a day. Does it have a scientific basis?
“Unfortunately, polyphasic sleep is a lie. Biologically, an adult is a diurnal animal with a single sleep period and a specific sleep need. If you are constantly not getting enough sleep and interrupting your sleep, it can take a serious toll on your health!
Learning ability, working capacity, memory decrease, the risk of anxiety and depression increases, aging accelerates, the risk of hypertension increases, the frequency of exacerbations of existing chronic diseases increases… The information that this application helps you reduce sleep is not true without compromising your health.
Enough has already been said about sleep deprivation. What’s wrong with too much sleep?
– Sleeping for too long can cause insomnia. A person has a certain sleep rate, beyond which he does not need to sleep. Spending more time in bed does not result in more quality sleep. And even on the contrary: there may be problems with falling asleep, sleep may become more superficial and intermittent.
In addition, sometimes excessive sleep can be a symptom of serious diseases such as obstructive sleep apnea. In this disease, a person experiences frequent pauses in breathing during sleep that last from 10 seconds to a minute or more. A patient with severe sleep apnea may pause up to 500 per night, resulting in a total lack of breathing for 3-4 hours per night. This is a dangerous disease that increases the risk of heart attack and stroke by 5 times, and the risk of accidents due to falling asleep at the wheel by 6 times – sleep apnea causes severe daytime sleepiness. If a person has severe snoring, high blood pressure, night sweats, frequent urination at night, morning headaches, then a somnologist should be consulted and diagnosed (night sleep study – polysomnography).