Are you stressed out and having trouble with sleeping?
A lot of people compromise their sleep to have more time for other areas of their lives. More often than not, bad quality sleep is caused by overwhelming stress—whether it be from our jobs, studies, families, or other responsibilities.
That’s why paying attention to sleep might be the solution you need to manage your stress and rest better.
The role of sleep in our well-being is much more important than you might think. While it’s sure that sleep is essential to life, there’s no absolute reason behind the phenomenon. So why exactly do we need to sleep?
Several theories explain why we sleep, and one of these is the adaptive theory of sleep. This theory argues that humans and animals evolved unique sleeping patterns to avoid being present during their predators’ hunting times.
On the one hand, predators do not worry about being vulnerable at night, so they sleep longer during the day. On the other hand, humans and prey are typically asleep at night and for shorter periods.
Another theory of sleep is the restorative theory. This theory states that sleep is needed because it allows for replenishing necessary nutrients and repairing bodily damages. Sleep is also said to facilitate brain plasticity and memory formation.
No one theory is more accurate than the other. Both the adaptive theory and restorative theory are used in understanding the mechanisms of sleep. Nevertheless, sleep is an essential part of life. Not being mindful of it will have serious consequences on our health.
Without realizing it, sleep deprivation is especially common among people with demanding lifestyles, such as students, parents, and working individuals.
Chronic sleep deprivation can significantly increase an individual’s risk for illnesses such as heart disease, hypertension, depression, and stroke. A few nights of poor sleep can seriously affect physical and mental functioning.
If you find yourself constantly sleep-deprived, know that you can still do something about it. Read the full article to learn how to rest better and other frequently asked questions about sleep.
What are the 5 types of sleep disorders?
The five types of sleep disorder are:
- sleep apnea
- restless legs syndrome
- REM sleep behavior disorder
The symptoms of these conditions can make patients feel irritable and exhausted. As a result, it can significantly affect their daily activities and relationships. Fortunately, there are treatments available for these sleep disorders.
How much does a sleep psychologist make?
According to data, a sleep psychologist makes around $60,000 to $80,000 annually. The average salary varies depending on experience, company, location, and benefits.
A sleep psychologist also earns from research grants and conducting talks. Overall, how much a sleep psychologist makes is highly similar to that of a licensed psychologist.
Why is sleep so important in psychology?
Sleep is crucial in psychology because it affects our overall well-being, from physical, emotional, to mental health. Sufficient sleep restores the brain. It also helps regulate essential bodily functions.
On the other hand, sleep deprivation can cause risks. Lack of sleep can result in heart disease, high blood pressure, depression, stroke, etc. It can also extend to frequent mood changes, poor work performance, and relationship problems.
Ultimately, sleep deprivation affects the overall well-being.
What are the stages of sleep psychology?
Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-REM sleep are the basic types of sleep stages. They link to specific neuronal activities. Here are the stages of sleep psychology:
- Non-REM Sleep Stage 1: This is the short transition from wakefulness to sleep. It is where you will experience a slowing of breath, heartbeat, and movements.
- Non-REM Sleep Stage 2: This is the light sleep phase that occurs before deep sleep. At this point, the body slowly relaxes.
- Non-REM Sleep Stage 3: This is the deep sleep phase. It is where your breathing and heartbeat are at their lowest levels.
- REM Sleep: This happens around 90 minutes after you fall asleep. Here, your eyes rapidly move from side-to-side while your eyelids are closed.
Why is it harder to sleep as we age?
It is normal to experience changes in sleeping patterns, including experiencing lighter sleep. You may also wake up more often and more quickly. It is also possible to experience lesser deep sleep. However, symptoms of disturbed sleep and insomnia are not a part of aging.
How do I get more deep sleep?
The most crucial step in increasing your deep sleep is having enough sleep. To do this, you should have a regular bedtime schedule. Set a time for you to go to sleep and wake up. It would also help to avoid drinking caffeine before bed as it makes it harder to fall asleep.
Some research says that exercise and aerobic activities can consolidate deep sleep. Experts suggest that it’s better to exercise during the day.
What is the deepest stage of sleep psychology?
The deepest sleep psychology stage is stage three of non-REM sleep. It lasts around 20 to 40 minutes. Sometimes, it’s also called slow-wave sleep. During this time, there is an increase in the delta brain activity. It is also the stage where you are the hardest to wake up.
How long does it take to go into a deep sleep?
It takes around 90 minutes after falling asleep to enter REM sleep. It lasts for about an hour. The deep sleep in this process lasts approximately 20 to 40 minutes. This cycle repeats up to three to four times every sleep.
What causes no deep sleep?
Deep sleep deprivation can happen because of many possible causes. It includes a weakened sleep drive, poor sleep habits, substance use, medications, and other conditions. If not addressed, lack of deep sleep can lead to severe sleep disorders.
Should I stay up all night if I can’t sleep?
It’s not advisable to stay up all night when you can’t sleep. Otherwise, it becomes highly likely for your mood and mental function to decline the next day.
If you can’t sleep, experts suggest staying out of bed for around 30 minutes. Then, go back to bed once you start to feel drowsy and sleep. As a result, you’ll be able to fall asleep faster.
How can I sleep deeply without medicine?
Many people rely on sleep medications to have a deep sleep. However, heavy dependence on these medication aids can make your sleep cycle worse.
You can try to sleep deeply by developing good sleep hygiene. These are set habits that you can do before bedtime for a better and deeper sleep.
It includes establishing a regular sleep schedule, getting adequate natural daylight exposure, exercising, taking a warm bath before bed, preparing a pleasant sleep environment, and more.
Paying attention to sleep hygiene facilitates healthy sleep. However, it can’t be used as a single cure for more serious sleeping disorders such as insomnia.
Good sleeping habits are just not enough to solve the root cause of the insomnia problem. Instead, sleep psychologist Dr. Jade Wu offers two ways to manipulate biological and psychological processes to address insomnia.
First, she suggests building up your sleep drive. Sleep drive is essentially like hunger for your sleep. People with insomnia often don’t have enough sleep drive when they go to bed. They might have slept in, took naps, or weren’t that active during the day.
If you relate to this, you can build up your sleep drive by:
- getting up at the same time every day (even if you didn’t sleep well the previous night);
- not going to bed until you’re sleepy; and,
- not taking naps during the day.
Second, Dr. Wu suggests retraining your brain. People with insomnia typically get the “busy” brain whenever they lie down in bed and try to sleep. Lying down in bed then becomes the brain’s cue to be hyperactive. You can break this connection through these methods:
- Don’t go to bed unless you’re sleepy.
- If you’re starting to fret or you can’t fall asleep after around 20-30 minutes, get out of bed.
- Don’t track the clock if 20 or 30 minutes have already passed.
Another factor that influences our sleep quality is our stress levels. When not managed properly, stress can easily cause poor sleep and even sleepless nights.
To prevent feeling overly stressed out when you’re about to sleep, you can invoke the body’s natural relaxation response. You can do this by practicing relaxation techniques such as:
- meditation (mindfulness, body scan, or guided meditation),
- deep breathing,
- progressive relaxation, and
Remember that sleeping is just as important as fitness and nutrition in the maintenance of our health. Hopefully, you can use this article’s contents to improve your sleep quality and live your healthiest life.