Sleep is a necessary part of your life. Your internal clock controls when you are ready to go to rest and when you are awake on a cycle of around 24 hours. Your clock is controlled by several factors, including your schedule, darkness, and light. Once you are asleep, you go through the different phases of sleep in a pattern. If you have sleep problems, the professionals at Accent can help.
Sleep and wake cycle
Your internal or circadian clocks follow a 24-hour pattern referred to as your circadian rhythm that affects your organs, tissues, and cells in your body and how they work. The central clock is found in the brain. It tells your body when it is time for you to go to doze off. You have other clocks located in various body organs. These clocks are attuned to external cues such as darkness and light. The clocks can be disrupted by caffeine, other stimulants, and artificial light.
Your need for sleep is controlled by homeostasis, which is a process through which your body keeps your systems running evenly. Adenosine is a compound that is linked to your biological need to sleep. When you are awake, adenosine levels continue to rise until it is time for you to go to sleep. Light also sends signals through your eyes to stay awake during the day and to sleep at night if you follow a natural schedule.
The cycle of light and darkness causes your brain to produce melatonin, which travels to your cells to promote sleep. When there is light, your body releases cortisol, which is a hormone that helps your body to awaken. This is why exposure to artificial light at night can disrupt your sleep cycle because it can cause your brain not to produce melatonin. Some common problems with the sleep-wake cycle include insomnia and narcolepsy. Others include jet lag and shift-work disorder because of the disruption to your circadian clocks.
There are two sleep phases that you cycle through when you are sleeping, including rapid-eye movement and non-REM sleep. The cycle repeats each 80 to 100 minutes that you remain asleep. Normally, people go through a minimum of four cycles each night. When you undergo a sleep study, sensors are placed to record your brain activity and your eye movements to identify your phases of sleep.
There are three stages of non-REM sleep. In the first stage, you are transitioning between being awake and asleep. The second stage is sleep, and the third stage is a deep sleep. During REM sleep, your brain is active and your eyes are moving. The brain activity during REM sleep has similar measurements to the awake brain. Dreaming occurs during this phase of sleep.
Sleep is important for well-being and health. How you feel during the day partially depends on how well you slept. Sleep can affect your circulatory system, heart, metabolism, immune system, and respiratory system, making it important for you to get enough sleep each night. If you are experiencing sleep problems, contact Accent today to schedule an appointment.