Dec 1, 2017

6 Interesting Facts Moms Should Know About Sleep

Brought you by Vive Health. 

Sleeping is as natural as breathing, especially for babies and children. They don’t think about it. They just do it; sometimes, it just happens. For a certain number of people, however, sleep is not like that at all.

Although scientists are only beginning to understand the purpose of sleeping, the fact remains that this simple act is essential to maintain normal body functions.

The reason why people and animals sleep is still not fully understood, but despite this limitation, the current store of available knowledge regarding sleep has already presented some fascinating facts:

1. Sleep has four stages

The four sleep stages are divided into two types. They are the NREM (non-rapid eye movement), which has three stages, and the REM (rapid eye movement).

  • Stage 1. The first stage of Non-REM sleep is the period when you transition from being fully awake to being in a shallow sleep. It is a fairly light sleep where your breathing, eye movements, and heartbeat slow down. Your muscles also begin to relax.
  • Stage 2. During the second non-REM stage of sleep, your breathing and heartbeat become even slower, your muscles more relaxed, your eye movements stop, and your body temperature drops.
  • Stage 3. This is the last stage of non-REM sleep where you enter into a deep sleep. This is the stage that you need in order to feel energized when you wake up.
  • REM sleep. This stage is when you experience most of your dreams. You also have a temporary muscle paralysis the of arms and legs that prevents you from acting out your dreams.

2. A lot of things are going on in your body while you sleep

This is true, especially during REM sleep. Your brain becomes very active, your breathing and heart rate faster, and your eyes move from side to side rapidly. Your thalamus (located in the cerebral cortex of your brain) fills you with sensations when you dream. Growth hormone is also being released during sleep.

3. Newborn babies spend 18 hours (75% of their day) sleeping

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine gave recommendations on the number of hours of sleep that your child must have per day. The length varies depending on your child’s age.

  • 4-12 months old: 12-16 hours
  • 1-2 years old: 11-14 hours
  • 3-5 years old: 10-13 hours
  • 6-12 years old: 9-12 hours
  • 13-18 years old: 8-10 hours

4. Some people find it hard to stay awake at daytime

People with narcolepsy (a long-term condition affecting the central nervous system) struggle to keep themselves awake at daytime. They can fall asleep anytime of the day and suffer from loss of muscle tone, sleep paralysis (inability to talk or move), and distorted perceptions. Its primary symptom is excessive daytime drowsiness. Patients with narcolepsy might even do things without being aware of their actions, which happens when they are somewhere in between sleep and wakefulness.

5. You dream multiple times every night

Although you might only remember a dream or two when you wake up, adults usually experience an average of 4-6 dreams every night.

6. Lack of sleep has ill-effects on your body

Sleeping for shorter hours than your body’s needs has health-related consequences. Aside from being drowsy and having a lower level of energy and productivity, lack of sleep can increase your risk of developing lifestyle diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease.

Children who are 3-7 years old and sleep for shorter hours are more likely to suffer from obesity. This is because lack of sleep can make them have lesser physical activity during the daytime. Since growth hormone is naturally being released during sleep, sleep deprivation is also associated with stunted growth in children.

To counter these negative effects of sleep deprivation, it is important to ensure that your children (and you) get the adequate amount and quality of sleep that they need. Here are some tips to accomplish this:
  • Electronic media devices must be limited before bedtime and replaced with calming bedtime routines.
  • Ensure that your children are sleeping comfortably. Make their bedroom as relaxing as possible by keeping the room dark (or dim, if your child is afraid of the dark, which might keep them awake at night), playing calming music, and adding other bedroom equipment for comfort and recovery.
  • Digital media devices have been shown to delay bedtimes and reduce sleep duration in children and adolescents. Consider removing gadgets from your child’s room to reduce distractions and psychological stimulation. The light from these gadgets can disrupt your child’s circadian rhythm (sleep-wake cycle).
  • Sleepedia recommends breaking the cycle of the late nights and caffeine-fuelled mornings for adults.

Behind a healthy child is a happy mom. Nutrition, education, and physical activity are not the only things that moms need to monitor. Sleep is also of vital importance.

Metro Detroit Mommy Writer: