What Is Sleep?
Sleep is essential for overall health and well-being. It's hard work for the body, but it's important to recharge and give yourself a mental and physical break. Sleep allows the body to repair itself and functions as a way to temporarily escape any stressors in the environment. Sleep also helps the brain to consolidate and store new information.
What Happens During Sleep?
During sleep, the body cycles through two different types of sleep: rapid eye movement (REM) and non-rapid eye movement (NREM). People typically go through five or six of these sleep cycles each night, lasting around 90 to 120 minutes each time. As the night progresses, sleep cycles grow longer and can last up to two hours.
NREM sleep is when the body progresses from a relatively light sleep to a deeper level. As the body moves into a deeper state, breathing and heart rate slow, blood pressure drops, and the eyes do not move. As the brain moves further into a restful state, body temperature drops; this helps to conserve energy and initiate the repair of cells and muscles.
REM sleep is the part of the sleep cycle when dreaming occurs and is active brain activity. It's during this stage that the body is more easily aroused and is possible to wake up. During REM sleep, your heartrate and blood pressure rises, and your breathing increases.
Benefits of Sleep
Getting enough quality sleep is important for physical health, mental health, and overall well-being. It aids in rejuvenation for the body, helps to boost immunity, and increases cognitive performance. A full sleep cycle boosts physical restoration, cognitive function, memory consolidation, and emotional well-being as well. The recommended amount of sleep for adults is 7-9 hours per night.
Sleep Issues and Disorders
Inadequate or disrupted sleep can lead to sleep deprivation, which can negatively impact a person's physical, mental, and emotional health. While occasional sleeplessness can be managed, if sleep disruptions become chronic, a medical evaluation for sleep disorders may be necessary. Sleep disorders such as insomnia, sleep apnea, and snoring can all interfere with the body's ability to get quality rest. Fortunately, there are treatments available to help manage and treat such conditions.
Anti-Snoring Mouthpieces & Mouthguards
For those who experience snoring, anti-snoring mouthpieces and mouthguards are available to help reduce loud snoring. These devices are worn inside the mouth and will gently reposition the tongue and jaw for optimal breathing while sleeping. They are generally made out of medical-grade silicone and are tailored to fit the individual’s specific mouth shape and size. These devices are easy to fit, easy to use, and comfortable to wear.
CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure, and is a treatment for sleep apnea. CPAP machines use a mask that fits over the nose and mouth and provide a steady stream of air that keeps your breathing passages open while you sleep. CPAP machines are especially useful for those with severe sleep apnea. While CPAP machines might be intimidating at first to some people, they are designed to be comfortable and easy to use. You can learn more about the differences between mouthpieces and CPAP here.
At-Home Sleep Apnea Tests
At-home sleep apnea tests provide an opportunity for people to get their breathing analyzed without going to the doctor. These tests are easy to use, simple to set up, and require no medical evaluations. They provide immediate readouts of your data in an uninterrupted sleep study that can be used to track the effects of sleep on your daily routine. This helps to inform decisions about sleep habits and potential lifestyle changes.
Getting quality rest and proper amounts of it is essential to your overall physical and mental health. Knowing what happens during sleep and understanding your own sleep habits can help you better manage your sleep hygiene and get the benefits of a full night's rest. Additionally, treating sleep disorders with devices such as anti-snoring mouthpieces and CPAP machines, as well as taking home-tests, can help to manage sleep better and get the full benefits of a good night's rest.