The Sleep Solution: Why Your Sleep Is Broken and How to Fix It

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Sleep is essential for your overall health.

The glymphatic system removes toxins including amyloid beta, a protein found to accumulate in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease.This system is 60 percent more productive when you’re sleeping, which is why it’s important not to skip sleep, as your brain will miss the chance to rid itself of waste products.

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Sleep also has a positive influence on your heart and immune system.

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Another benefit of good sleep is that it gives your immune system a boost.

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Sleepiness is a lack of sleep, which is often confused with fatigue.

The feeling of sleepiness itself represents a desire to sleep, while fatigue is more accurately described as a lack of energy. The two terms have different meanings, but are often erroneously used interchangeably.

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sleepiness has three distinct causes.The first is medication, as some drugs can make you sleepy.Second is sleep deprivation, which is when you get less sleep than you need.

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The last cause is sleep dysfunction.

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Sleep can be divided into three stages; light sleep, deep sleep and dream sleep.

there are three stages necessary for satisfactory sleep.The first is light sleep, which is the stage between full consciousness and deep sleep, and a delicate state from which it’s easy to wake up.Light sleep can be divided into N1 sleep and N2 sleep. While you spend a mere five percent of a night’s sleep in the N1 state, you will spend around 50 percent of it in the N2 state.

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The next is deep sleep, or N3 sleep. This is a restorative period that causes you to feel rested when you wake up in the morning. Most deep sleep occurs during the first half of your night’s sleep. Adults tend to spend 25 percent of each night in deep sleep, but this number declines with age.During this period, the most growth hormones are produced. Therefore, it’s needed to boost your immune system, help you recover from injuries and strengthen your bones and muscles.

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the third stage dream sleep, but its scientific name is REM sleep.

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During REM sleep, your brain’s activity is very similar to when you’re fully awake, but muscle activity is low. This stage accounts for 25 percent of your night’s sleep, and it occurs four to five times every night in 20- to 40-minute cycles that increase toward the second half of the night. During this phase, you stop regulating your body temperature, and dreaming takes place.Over the course of a night, you transition from N1 to N2, then to deep sleep, back to N2 and then to REM sleep.

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Healthy circadian rhythms are needed for high-quality sleep.

For your circadian rhythms to function correctly, you need zeitgebers. These are cues that help set your internal body clock, with the sun being the most powerful one. Exercise, sleep and meals at specific times are further examples. The more zeitgebers you’re exposed to, the more synchronized your circadian rhythms will be.

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Practicing good sleep hygiene is necessary for a fulfilling night’s sleep.

your bedroom should be submerged in complete darkness.

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develop a sleep routine. During your childhood, you probably had a successful bedtime schedule: dinner, bath, bedtime story, then sleep. Why not develop one in adulthood, too?

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Unless you have a plan in place, it’s a bad idea to use sleeping pills to improve your sleep.

sleeping pills marginally decrease the amount of time it takes to fall asleep and minimally increase the length of a night’s sleep. Interestingly, sleeping pills actually reduce the amount of deep sleep needed to feel rested.

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For high-quality, restful sleep, it’s vital to have a consistent sleep schedule.

Having a regular wake-up time is hugely beneficial for your overall sleep.

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Final summary

It’s a myth that some people can function at their best without proper sleep. However, if you struggle to get good-quality sleep, there are steps you can take to improve it. Make sure your circadian rhythm is working properly, practice good sleep hygiene and stick to a consistent sleep schedule, and you’ll soon see a difference in your sleep, and your life as a whole.

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About the book:

The Sleep Solution (2017) discusses the fundamentals of sleeping. It explains why keeping a consistent rhythm and schedule is important, and how insomnia is not a lack of sleep, but rather a result of dealing poorly with substandard sleep. You’ll learn how to improve your sleeping patterns and, as a result, improve your quality of life.

About the author:

W. Chris Winter, MD, is a certified sleep specialist and neurologist. He is a consultant for large businesses, sports organizations and the US military on the link between sleep and performance. As a writer, he has also contributed to the Huffington Post, Runner’s World and Details.