31 Mar Simplified Sleep: Wake Up Happier And Ready To Enjoy Each Day
Images of “sleep architecture” provide a wealth of insights into sleep patterns. They are especially useful in helping you understand your own unique patterns, and then try different sleep “experiments” in order to maximize your sleep. Experimenting with your sleep is very important, because no two people are exactly alike. What is perfect for one person may not work so well for another.
You can monitor your sleep patterns through multiple wearable technologies, such as Apple watches, Fitbits, Whoop, etc. Improving sleep is a priority at Pathwaves, since sleep is one of the most important processes for maximum health and wellbeing
The Pathwaves simplified explanation of the sleep architecture image below, and insights into how to maximize this process, is anchored in over 12 years of clinical research. This information will help you to better understand the cycles of sleep, and how to maximize the sleep process in order to attain higher levels of optimal health and wellbeing.
It is important to understand that humans, and what happens in the body, are always impacted by both the mind (mental processes) and the body (physiological and/or biological). Accordingly, looking at only the bodily function or the mental function will never resolve the issues 100% of the time. In fact, it is often just luck or a placebo effect if the results are better than 50% accurate and sustainable (and a placebo is usually not sustainable).
In light of this, in looking at the sleep architecture, it is important to note that physiologically humans tend to sleep in 90 minute cycles (this is an average as cycle times vary from 50 minutes to over 100 minutes). Studies show that the first three cycles are mostly (around 80%) for physical rejuvenation and the remaining cycles are mostly (around 80%) for psychological rejuvenation. This is why the deepest sleep in the below sleep architecture picture happens in the first three cycles (the first 4.5 hours).
Explaining The Above Sleep Architecture Image
The left side going downward shows the stages of sleep. The bottom numbers show the hours of sleep. Obviously, before the sleep process begins, we are awake. As we are going to sleep or waking, we enter REM which stands for “Rapid Eye Movement”. The studies show that this stage is when dreaming occurs. Since it is most active as the beginning of the sleep process and when awakening is occurring, it may seem as if the dreaming process has been active the entire time, and is also why people are often aware of their dreams. However, the studies show that the dreaming process is not active during the entire sleep process. After REM, we enter into “N1” which we, at Pathwaves, call “light sleep” and/or the transition to light sleep. This stage is aptly named as it is when you are asleep, however, you may be easily awakened. The next stage is “N2” which seems to be another part of light sleep and transition into “deep sleep”. “N3” is the stage of “deep sleep”.
This stage is perhaps the easiest to understand. It’s name states what it is. However, what most people do not understand is that while we sleep we actually wake or come very close to being awake in between the 90 minute cycles of sleep.
As we move from being awake into sleeping we move into the REM stage. At the end of the cycle, right before we are awake, we are again in the REM stage of sleep. This is why it seems like we are dreaming the entire time.
As we move into light sleep our sleep gets more choppy, shallow and not restful. There are those out there who refer to light sleep as “garbage sleep”. This only refers to the beginning of the light sleep stage, and the transition is usually pretty quick (a few minutes). The rest of the light sleep stage is critical for our body to prepare for and/or begin the process of the deep sleep creation of neurons, synapses, neural pathways, physical rejuvenation, physical healing, glandular (hormonal) work, waste removal and the rest of what happens in deep sleep.
Once in deep sleep, we become less aware and responsive to what is happening around us. Our breathing slows and hopefully our muscles relax. Typically, our heart rate becomes more regular. Deep sleep is very much about the body. This is when the process of the creation of neurons, synapses, neural pathways, physical rejuvenation, physical healing, glandular (hormonal) work, and waste removal occurs. It is also when the body does much of the rebuilding, repairing and building of new synapses, tissues and muscle, etc. Growth hormones are also secreted during deep sleep to help with the creation, building, rebuilding, healing and repairing that occurs during this stage. All the systems of the body are rejuvenated during this process.
The Pathwaves Method Of Programming Sleep
At Pathwaves, we look at sleep from stages of consciousness (the Pathwaves definition of consciousness is awareness), the biological processes of sleep, and the psychological processes of sleep. We are both mind and body. Our minds and bodies are run by their belief systems, which are in effect their operating systems. Sleep is not just a haphazard process – it is a highly purposeful and somewhat synchronized process. Paying attention to both the mental and biological processes is important if we want to optimize the sleep process. When we are awake during the day and as we retire to go to sleep (as is with the rest of our lives), our nervous system at all levels of consciousness is keeping track of everything that happens to us (to the best of its ability). That tracking is subject to our perceptions, understandings, physical state, and identity (which may vary in each level of consciousness). How we think and process what is happening around us and internally directly affects our nervous system and how it functions. Therefore, awake time is highly important. Our subconscious and unconscious benefit greatly from routines and rituals. At Pathwaves, we provide suggestions of the routines which are best suited to allow us optimal sleep.
As we go to sleep and slip into REM, our nervous system is trying to figure out what is important to us in order to be able to rejuvenate. If we are gearing up for a big day and have all the confidence in the world, our system will process and rejuvenate accordingly. However, if we have doubts, fears and worries about what is to come, then our system will rejuvenate another way. Our dreams, which occur right after we are awake and right before we are awake are also directly linked to this. As we slip into sleep, our dreams are how our subconscious and unconscious mind processes what has happened and what is happening in our lives in order to know how to rejuvenate our bodily systems accordingly. At Pathwaves, we teach that it is important to communicate with ourselves regarding the state of our lives and how we want to show up for the following day. We teach a meditative technique to direct our systems in accordance with these concepts.
Each one of us is different in so many ways. Sleep is one of the areas of life where it is important to keep track of what works best for us as indviduals. Experimenting with different rituals, routines, bedroom environments, dietary, fitness and mental techniques will help you learn how to optimize your sleep.
Optimized sleep is vital in order to be the best version of ourselves. At Pathwaves, our clients report sleep improvements (on average) of more than 40%.
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.
If you’d like to learn how you can support your personal growth through our methodology, we are here to help. Schedule a free 30-minute consultation today.
To help those who cannot afford the services of Pathwaves, consider donating to the Pathwaves Foundation. Please call (305) 858-6616 for more information.