Sleep is not when the body goes dormant. On the contrary, sleep is an important part of life in which the brain is very active. Research shows that sleep may be when neurons repair themselves, and we know that certain growth hormones are released during sleep. The nervous and immune systems seem to be significantly impacted by lack of sleep. Furthermore, sleep appears to have an impact on mental and emotional wellbeing, as well as decision making, socialization, and learning.
There are five stages of sleep, the last being REM (rapid eye movement). REM is necessary for a person to feel rested and refreshed. People with sleep disorders often do not reach or do not have long enough periods of REM sleep.
To go through an entire five-phase sleep cycle takes about 90 to 110 minutes. After you’ve been asleep just over an hour, you should reach REM sleep. Your first REM sleep phase is shorter than subsequent phases. Overnight, most of your sleep is spent in phases one, two, and REM.
During REM sleep, breathing quickens and is not as deep as in other phases. The heart rate increases, eyes jerk rapidly, and arms and legs are paralyzed. REM sleep is when dreams most often occur.
Without sufficient REM sleep, people can feel irritable, forgetful, drowsy, and even fall asleep during the day at work, while driving, or during periods of low stimulation. If you believe you may have a sleep disorder, call to schedule a consultation with me. I’m Dr. James Stewart, a Livonia dentist who has extensive education in sleep disorder treatment. I will be happy to meet with you and discuss your situation, then recommend appropriate non-surgical treatment options. You deserve a good night’s sleep, every night! I can help you get there.