“If you know me well, you know I love to sleep. Yet, I've also grown up in the #grinding era where sleep deprivation is glorified. I've sacrificed sleep for studying (what student hasn't?) and competitively trained as an athlete after being chronically sleep deprived.
Last year, I stumbled upon Matthew Walker's book Why We Sleep and my poor classmates (who probably own earplugs now) have heard me rant on and on about how amazing this book is. So I decided it was time to put together a list of the the juiciest parts.
The Sleep Debt
If you haven't heard of Adenosine here is the down low. It's a neurotransmitter found normally in our brain. Adenosine rises as we wake up in the morning & causes us to be sleepy by bedtime. In contrast, levels of adenosine fall as we sleep. However, If (when?) you constantly are lacking sleep, adenosine is carried over to the next day, and the next, and the next. Creating something comparable to a debt. The idea is that sleep deprivation is additive, it collects interest. You can't pull an all nighter as a student and think you can "catch it up" with a sleep filled weekend.
What's MORE interesting is that the research on sleep deprived individuals shows that we don't even realize how fatigued we are. We think we are fine. The low level of fatigue, reduced alertness, and poor performance becomes our new normal. Sound familiar?
Why Do We Sleep?
Earlier in the night, we get more NREM sleep which consolidates information into our long term memory and finesses motor skills (athletes & gym rats take note). It also filters out the unimportant connections, and strengthens memory of important information.
REM sleep i.e. dream sleep which occurs early in the morning hours has two functions.
One it allows us to recognize and understand emotional intelligence and social factors such as facial expressions, gestures and behaviours. It gives us the ability to control our own emotions and realize how others are feeling.
Secondly, REM sleep allows us to integrate experiences and knowledge throughout our lives to gain greater insight & associate seemingly unlike events.”
Read the full article here at www.NaturallyLarissa.com:
Lemoine, P., Nir, T., Laudon, M., & Zisapel, N. (2007). Prolonged‐release melatonin improves sleep quality and morning alertness in insomnia patients aged 55 years and older and has no withdrawal effects. Journal of sleep research, 16(4), 372-380.
Milewski, M. D., Skaggs, D. L., Bishop, G. A., Pace, J. L., Ibrahim, D. A., Wren, T. A., & Barzdukas, A. (2014). Chronic lack of sleep is associated with increased sports injuries in adolescent athletes. Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics, 34(2), 129-133.
Walker, M. (2017). Summary of Why we sleep: Unlocking the power of sleep and dreams by: Matthew Walker. New York, NY: Scribner.
Note: This blog post is for educational purposes. this is not medical advice. If you wish to seek out medical sleep advice please consult a qualified healthcare provider or ND.