How long does it take to hit rem sleep

Brain Basics: Understanding Sleep | National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke


Sleep is an important part of your daily routine—you spend about one-third of your time doing it. Quality sleep – and getting enough of it at the right times -- is as essential to survival as food and water. Without sleep you can’t form or maintain the pathways in your brain that let you learn and create new memories, and it’s harder to concentrate and respond quickly.

Sleep is important to a number of brain functions, including how nerve cells (neurons) communicate with each other. In fact, your brain and body stay remarkably active while you sleep. Recent findings suggest that sleep plays a housekeeping role that removes toxins in your brain that build up while you are awake.

Everyone needs sleep, but its biological purpose remains a mystery. Sleep affects almost every type of tissue and system in the body – from the brain, heart, and lungs to metabolism, immune function, mood, and disease resistance. Research shows that a chronic lack of sleep, or getting poor quality sleep, increases the risk of disorders including high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, and obesity.

Sleep is a complex and dynamic process that affects how you function in ways scientists are now beginning to understand. This booklet describes how your need for sleep is regulated and what happens in the brain during sleep.

Anatomy of Sleep

Several structures within the brain are involved with sleep.


The hypothalamus, a peanut-sized structure deep inside the brain, contains groups of nerve cells that act as control centers affecting sleep and arousal.  Within the hypothalamus is the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) – clusters of thousands of cells that receive information about light exposure directly from the eyes and control your behavioral rhythm.  Some people with damage to the SCN sleep erratically throughout the day because they are not able to match their circadian rhythms with the light-dark cycle.  Most blind people maintain some ability to sense light and are able to modify their sleep/wake cycle.

The brain stem, at the base of the brain, communicates with the hypothalamus to control the transitions between wake and sleep.  (The brain stem includes structures called the pons, medulla, and midbrain.)  Sleep-promoting cells within the hypothalamus and the brain stem produce a brain chemical called GABA, which acts to reduce the activity of arousal centers in the hypothalamus and the brain stem.  The brain stem (especially the pons and medulla) also plays a special role in REM sleep; it sends signals to relax muscles essential for body posture and limb movements, so that we don’t act out our dreams.

The thalamus acts as a relay for information from the senses to the cerebral cortex (the covering of the brain that interprets and processes information from short- to long-term memory).  During most stages of sleep, the thalamus becomes quiet, letting you tune out the external world.   But during REM sleep, the thalamus is active, sending the cortex images, sounds, and other sensations that fill our dreams. 

The pineal gland, located within the brain’s two hemispheres, receives signals from the SCN and increases production of the hormone melatonin, which helps put you to sleep once the lights go down.  People who have lost their sight and cannot coordinate their natural wake-sleep cycle using natural light can stabilize their sleep patterns by taking small amounts of melatonin at the same time each day.  Scientists believe that peaks and valleys of melatonin over time are important for matching the body’s circadian rhythm to the external cycle of light and darkness.

The basal forebrain, near the front and bottom of the brain, also promotes sleep and wakefulness, while part of the midbrain acts as an arousal system.  Release of adenosine (a chemical by-product of cellular energy consumption) from cells in the basal forebrain and probably other regions supports your sleep drive.   Caffeine counteracts sleepiness by blocking the actions of adenosine.

The amygdala, an almond-shaped structure involved in processing emotions, becomes increasingly active during REM sleep. 

Sleep Stages and Mechanisms

Sleep Stages

There are two basic types of sleep:  rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-REM sleep (which has three different stages).  Each is linked to specific brain waves and neuronal activity.  You cycle through all stages of non-REM and REM sleep several times during a typical night, with increasingly longer, deeper REM periods occurring toward morning. 


Stage 1 non-REM sleep is the changeover from wakefulness to sleep.  During this short period (lasting several minutes) of relatively light sleep, your heartbeat, breathing, and eye movements slow, and your muscles relax with occasional twitches.  Your brain waves begin to slow from their daytime wakefulness patterns.


Stage 2 non-REM sleep is a period of light sleep before you enter deeper sleep.   Your heartbeat and breathing slow, and muscles relax even further.  Your body temperature drops and eye movements stop.  Brain wave activity slows but is marked by brief bursts of electrical activity.  You spend more of your repeated sleep cycles in stage 2 sleep than in other sleep stages.


Stage 3 non-REM sleep is the period of deep sleep that you need to feel refreshed in the morning.  It occurs in longer periods during the first half of the night.  Your heartbeat and breathing slow to their lowest levels during sleep.  Your muscles are relaxed and it may be difficult to awaken you.  Brain waves become even slower.


REM sleep first occurs about 90 minutes after falling asleep.  Your eyes move rapidly from side to side behind closed eyelids.  Mixed frequency brain wave activity becomes closer to that seen in wakefulness.  Your breathing becomes faster and irregular, and your heart rate and blood pressure increase to near waking levels.   Most of your dreaming occurs during REM sleep, although some can also occur in non-REM sleep.  Your arm and leg muscles become temporarily paralyzed, which prevents you from acting out your dreams.  As you age, you sleep less of your time in REM sleep.  Memory consolidation most likely requires both non-REM and REM sleep.

Sleep Mechanisms

Two internal biological mechanisms–circadian rhythm and homeostasis–work together to regulate when you are awake and sleep.  

Circadian rhythms direct a wide variety of functions from daily fluctuations in wakefulness to body temperature, metabolism, and the release of hormones.  They control your timing of sleep and cause you to be sleepy at night and your tendency to wake in the morning without an alarm.  Your body’s biological clock, which is based on a roughly 24-hour day, controls most circadian rhythms.  Circadian rhythms synchronize with environmental cues (light, temperature) about the actual time of day, but they continue even in the absence of cues.  


Your body's biological clock is based on a 24-hour day and controls most circadian rhythms. These rhythms affect a variety of functions including body temperature (represented as the white line on the chart above). Melatonin - a hormone released by the pineal gland - helps you feel sleepy once the lights go down. The peaks and valleys of melatonin (represented as the gold line above) are important for matching the body's circadian rhythm to the external cycle of light and darkness.

Sleep-wake homeostasis keeps track of your need for sleep.  The homeostatic sleep drive reminds the body to sleep after a certain time and regulates sleep intensity.  This sleep drive gets stronger every hour you are awake and causes you to sleep longer and more deeply after a period of sleep deprivation.

Factors that influence your sleep-wake needs include medical conditions, medications, stress, sleep environment, and what you eat and drink.  Perhaps the greatest influence is the exposure to light.   Specialized cells in the retinas of your eyes process light and tell the brain whether it is day or night and can advance or delay our sleep-wake cycle.  Exposure to light can make it difficult to fall asleep and return to sleep when awakened.

Night shift workers often have trouble falling asleep when they go to bed, and also have trouble staying awake at work because their natural circadian rhythm and sleep-wake cycle is disrupted.  In the case of jet lag, circadian rhythms become out of sync with the time of day when people fly to a different time zone, creating a mismatch between their internal clock and the actual clock. 

How Much Sleep Do You Need?


Sleep needs change with age as shown on the chart above. Initially, babies sleep 16-18 hours a day. School-age children and teens need about 9.5 hours of sleep each night. Most adults require 7-9 hours of sleep at night. However, older adults (age 60 and above) tend to sleep for shorter periods at night.

Your need for sleep and your sleep patterns change as you age, but this varies significantly across individuals of the same age.   There is no magic “number of sleep hours” that works for everybody of the same age.  Babies initially sleep as much as 16 to 18 hours per day, which may boost growth and development (especially of the brain).  School-age children and teens on average need about 9.5 hours of sleep per night.  Most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep a night, but after age 60, nighttime sleep tends to be shorter, lighter, and interrupted by multiple awakenings.  Older people are also more likely to take medications that interfere with sleep. 

In general, people are getting less sleep than they need due to longer work hours and the availability of round-the-clock entertainment and other activities. 

Many people feel they can "catch up" on missed sleep during the weekend but, depending on how sleep-deprived they are, sleeping longer on the weekends may not be adequate.

Dreaming and Sleep Tracking


Everyone dreams.  You spend about 2 hours each night dreaming but may not remember most of your dreams.   Its exact purpose isn’t known, but dreaming may help you process your emotions.  Events from the day often invade your thoughts during sleep, and people suffering from stress or anxiety are more likely to have frightening dreams.  Dreams can be experienced in all stages of sleep but usually are most vivid in REM sleep.  Some people dream in color, while others only recall dreams in black and white.


Tracking Sleep Through Smart Technology

Millions of people are using smartphone apps, bedside monitors, and wearable items (including bracelets, smart watches, and headbands) to informally collect and analyze data about their sleep.  Smart technology can record sounds and movement during sleep, journal hours slept, and monitor heart beat and respiration.  Using a companion app, data from some devices can be synced to a smartphone or tablet, or uploaded to a PC.  Other apps and devices make white noise, produce light that stimulates melatonin production, and use gentle vibrations to help us sleep and wake.

The Role of Genes and Neurotransmitters

Chemical signals to sleep     

Clusters of sleep-promoting neurons in many parts of the brain become more active as we get ready for bed.  Nerve-signaling chemicals called neurotransmitters can “switch off” or dampen the activity of cells that signal arousal or relaxation.  GABA is associated with sleep, muscle relaxation, and sedation.  Norepinephrine and orexin (also called hypocretin) keep some parts of the brain active while we are awake.  Other neurotransmitters that shape sleep and wakefulness include acetylcholine, histamine, adrenaline, cortisol, and serotonin.

Genes and sleep

Genes may play a significant role in how much sleep we need.  Scientists have identified several genes involved with sleep and sleep disorders, including genes that control the excitability of neurons, and "clock" genes such as Per, tim, and Cry that influence our circadian rhythms and the timing of sleep.   Genome-wide association studies have identified sites on various chromosomes that increase our susceptibility to sleep disorders.  Also, different genes have been identified with such sleep disorders as familial advanced sleep-phase disorder, narcolepsy, and restless legs syndrome.  Some of the genes expressed in the cerebral cortex and other brain areas change their level of expression between sleep and wake.  Several genetic models–including the worm, fruit fly, and zebrafish–are helping scientists to identify molecular mechanisms and genetic variants involved in normal sleep and sleep disorders.  Additional research will provide better understand of inherited sleep patterns and risks of circadian and sleep disorders. 


Sleep studies

Your health care provider may recommend a polysomnogram or other test to diagnose a sleep disorder.  A polysomnogram typically involves spending the night at a sleep lab or sleep center.  It records your breathing, oxygen levels, eye and limb movements, heart rate, and brain waves throughout the night.   Your sleep is also video and audio recorded.  The data can help a sleep specialist determine if you are reaching and proceeding properly through the various sleep stages.  Results may be used to develop a treatment plan or determine if further tests are needed.

Tips for Getting a Good Night's Sleep


Getting enough sleep is good for your health.  Here are a few tips to improve your sleep:

  • Set a schedule – go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.
  • Exercise 20 to 30 minutes a day but no later than a few hours before going to bed.
  • Avoid caffeine and nicotine late in the day and alcoholic drinks before bed.
  • Relax before bed – try a warm bath, reading, or another relaxing routine.
  • Create a room for sleep – avoid bright lights and loud sounds, keep the room at a comfortable temperature, and don’t watch TV or have a computer in your bedroom.
  • Don’t lie in bed awake.  If you can’t get to sleep, do something else, like reading or listening to music, until you feel tired.  
  • See a doctor if you have a problem sleeping or if you feel unusually tired during the day.  Most sleep disorders can be treated effectively.

Hope Through Research

Scientists continue to learn about the function and regulation of sleep.  A key focus of research is to understand the risks involved with being chronically sleep deprived and the relationship between sleep and disease.  People who are chronically sleep deprived are more likely to be overweight, have strokes and cardiovascular disease, infections, and certain types of cancer than those who get enough sleep.  Sleep disturbances are common among people with age-related neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.  Many mysteries remain about the association between sleep and these health problems.  Does the lack of sleep lead to certain disorders, or do certain diseases cause a lack of sleep?  These, and many other questions about sleep, represent the frontier of sleep research.

REM & NREM, Sleep Stages, Good Sleep Habits & More

What is sleep?

You may think nothing is happening when you sleep. But parts of your brain are quite active during sleep. And enough sleep (or lack of it) affects your physical and mental health. When you sleep, your body has a chance to rest and restore energy. A good night’s sleep can help you cope with stress, solve problems or recover from illness. Not getting enough sleep can lead to many health concerns, affecting how you think and feel.

During the night, you cycle through two types of sleep: non-rapid eye movement (non-REM) sleep and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Your brain and body act differently during these different phases.

What happens in the brain during sleep?

Researchers continue to study sleep and its effect on us. While we’ve learned a lot about sleep, there’s still much that’s unknown.

We know that brain chemicals are very involved in our sleep cycle. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that help the nerves communicate. They control whether we’re awake or asleep, depending on which neurons (nerve cells) they’re acting on:

  • Neurons in the brainstem (where the brain and spinal cord meet) produce neurotransmitters called serotonin and norepinephrine. These chemicals keep our brain active when we’re awake.
  • Neurons located at the base of the brain are responsible for us falling asleep. It seems these neurons turn off the signals that keep us awake.

Why do we need sleep?

Sleep helps us in many ways. We need it for:

  • Growth: In children and young adults, deep sleep (sleep that’s harder to wake from) supports growth. The body releases growth hormone during this type of sleep. The body also increases production of proteins, which we need for cell growth and to repair damage.
  • Nervous system function: A lack of sleep affects our memory, performance and ability to think clearly. If a person is severely sleep deprived, they may even experience neurological problems such as mood swings and hallucinations. Sleep also helps our nerve cells. They can repair themselves, so they function at their best. And certain nerve connections get a chance to turn on, strengthening our brain and thinking ability.
  • Survival: Researchers don’t fully understand why sleep is so essential. But studies in animals have shown that getting deprived of REM sleep can shorten lifespans. Lack of sleep may harm the immune system, which protects us from infections.
  • Well-being: People who don’t get enough sleep are at higher risk for developing various health conditions including obesity, diabetes and heart problems.

What are the stages of sleep?

When you sleep, your brain goes through natural cycles of activity. There are four total stages of sleep, divided into two phases:

  • Non-REM sleep happens first and includes three stages. The last two stage of non-REM sleep is when you sleep deeply. It’s hard to wake up from this stage of sleep.
  • REM sleep happens about an hour to an hour and a half after falling asleep. REM sleep is when you tend to have vivid dreams.

As you sleep, your body cycles through non-REM and REM sleep. You usually start the sleep cycle with stage 1 of non-REM sleep. You pass through the other stages of non-REM sleep, followed by a short period of REM sleep. Then the cycle begins again at stage 1.

A full sleep cycle takes about 90 to 110 minutes. Your first REM period is short. As the night goes on, you’ll have longer REM sleep and less deep sleep.

What is non-REM sleep?

Three stages make up non-REM sleep.

Stage 1:

This stage of light sleeping lasts for five to 10 minutes.

  • Everything starts to slow down, including your eye movement and muscle activity.
  • Your eyes stay closed. If you get woken from stage 1 sleep, you may feel as if you haven’t slept at all. You may remember pieces of images.
  • Sometimes, you may feel like you’re starting to fall and then experience a sudden muscle contraction. Healthcare providers call this motion hypnic myoclonic or hypnic jerk. Hypnic jerks are common and not anything to be concerned about as this occurrence is unlikely to cause any complications or side effects.

Stage 2:

  • This period of light sleep features periods of muscle tone (muscles partially contracting) mixed with periods of muscle relaxation.
  • Your eye movement stops, heart rate slows and body temperature decreases.
  • Brain waves become slower. Occasionally, you’ll have a burst of rapid waves called sleep spindles.
  • Your body prepares to enter deep sleep.

Stages 3

  • This stage is deep sleep.
  • During this stage, your brain produces delta waves, very slow brain waves.
  • It’s hard for someone to wake you up during this stage.
  • You have no eye movement or muscle activity.
  • If you’re woken up, you may feel groggy and disoriented for a few minutes.

What happens during non-REM sleep?

During non-REM stages, your body:

  • Builds bone and muscle.
  • Repairs and regenerates tissues.
  • Strengthens the immune system.

As you age, you get less non-REM sleep. Older adults get less deep sleep than younger people.

What is REM sleep?

When you enter REM sleep, brain activity increases again, meaning sleep is not as deep. The activity levels are like when you’re awake. That’s why REM sleep is the stage where you’ll have intense dreams.

At the same time, major muscles that you normally control (such as arms and legs) can’t move. In effect, they become temporarily paralyzed.

Usually, REM sleep arrives about an hour and a half after you go to sleep. The first REM period lasts about 10 minutes. Each REM stage that follows gets longer and longer.

The amount of REM sleep you experience changes as you age. The percentage of REM sleep:

  • Is highest during infancy and early childhood.
  • Declines during adolescence and young adulthood.
  • Declines even more as you get older.

What else happens to the body in REM sleep?

Besides increased brain activity and muscle relaxation, your body goes through a series of changes during REM sleep. These changes include:

  • Faster breathing.
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Penile erections.
  • Rapid eye movement.

What affects sleep quality?

Chemical signals in the brain influence our sleep and wake cycles. Anything that shifts the balance of these neurotransmitters can make us feel drowsier or more awake. For example:

  • Alcohol may help people fall into a light sleep. But it reduces the deeper stages of sleep and REM sleep and leads to more disrupted sleep.
  • Caffeine and pseudoephedrine (drug ingredient) can stimulate the brain. They may cause insomnia, an inability to sleep. Watch out for caffeinated drinks such as coffee and drugs such as diet pills and decongestants.
  • Medications such as antidepressants can cause less REM sleep.
  • People who smoke heavily often sleep lightly and have less REM sleep. They may wake up after a few hours because they experience nicotine withdrawal.
  • Very hot or cold temperatures can disrupt REM sleep. We’re less able to regulate body temperature during REM sleep.

How much sleep do I need?

Many factors affect how much sleep you need. Age is a big factor:

  • Infants need about 16 hours a day.
  • Toddlers and preschoolers need about 12 hours.
  • Teenagers need about nine hours.
  • Adults need seven to eight (though some are fine with five and others need closer to 10).
  • Pregnant people often need more sleep during the first trimester.

What is a sleep debt?

If you haven’t slept well or long enough for a few days, you might create a sleep debt. Once your debt builds up, you may feel physically and mentally exhausted. Try to make sure you get enough sleep every night to avoid creating this debt. You can’t necessarily make up your debt by sleeping a lot on the weekends. It’s best to get enough sleep all week long.

Can we adapt to needing less sleep?

Generally, people don’t adapt to getting less sleep than they need. You may feel like you’re used to reduced sleep, but it still affects your function. For example, it can harm your judgment and reaction time.

What is sleep deprivation?

When you’re sleep deprived, you’re not getting the total amount of sleep you need. Signs of sleep deprivation include:

  • Falling asleep within a few minutes of lying down.
  • Feeling drowsy during the day.
  • Nodding off for microsleeps — short periods of sleep during the day when you’re otherwise awake.
  • Sleep deprivation can be dangerous. Driving while tired causes about 100,000 car accidents each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It also causes 1,500 deaths. If you feel tired on the road, pull over. It’s not safe to drive if you’re drowsy.

What are sleep disorders?

According to the American Sleep Association, at least 40 million Americans experience sleep disorders each year. Another 20 million have occasional sleep issues. These disorders cause sleep deprivation, leading to problems with work, school, driving and social activities.

There are more than 70 sleep disorders. A few, known as disruptive sleep disorders, lead to moving around or making sounds. Other sleep disorders involve food. And some sleep disorders overlap with psychiatric conditions. If you have problems with sleep or feel very tired, talk to your healthcare provider about a possible sleep disorder.

Some of the most common sleep disorders include:

  • Insomnia disorder: Many people experience insomnia at some point in their lives, with trouble falling or staying asleep. Sleeping pills can help in the short-term but behavioral strategies to improve sleep including cognitive behavioral therapy for Insomnia (CBT-i) is a much better long term solution.
  • Narcolepsy: You may suddenly fall asleep during the day, even if you had a good sleep the night before. These “sleep attacks” can last a few seconds or up to 30 minutes. Talk to your provider about your symptoms and additional testing will need to be completed to diagnosis this sleep disorder.
  • Restless legs syndrome (RLS): You may feel unpleasant sensations in your legs (such as prickling or tingling). You may also have an urge to move your legs to get relief. If you have RLS, talk to your healthcare provider about medication to help improve symptoms.
  • Sleep apnea: You may experience periods of interrupted breathing while you sleep, a condition called sleep apnea. Often, getting polysomnography (sleep study) in a sleep center is the best way to get properly diagnosed and treated. Sometimes, weight loss or not sleeping on your back can help. But you may need a special device to help you breathe while you sleep.
  • Snoring: People who regularly snore can have disturbed sleep. They can also disturb the sleep of their bed partner. Snoring often leads to feeling tired during the day. Several treatment options are available for snoring.

What are good sleep habits?

Good sleep habits, also called good sleep hygiene, are practices to help you get enough quality sleep.


  • Have a sleep schedule: Go to sleep and wake up around the same time every day, even on weekends and vacations.
  • Clear your mind before bed: Make a to-do list early in the evening, so you won’t stay awake in bed and worry about the next day.
  • Create a good sleep environment: Make sure your bed and pillows are comfortable. Turn down the lights and avoid loud sounds. Keep the room at a comfortable temperature.
  • Exercise every day: Stay active but try to avoid exercising during the few hours right before bed.
  • Relax: Before bed, take a warm bath, read or do another relaxing activity.
  • See your healthcare provider: If you’ve been having trouble sleeping or feel extra drowsy during the day, talk to your provider. There are many treatments available for sleep disorders.


  • Consume caffeine, nicotine and alcohol late in the day: These substances can interfere with your ability to fall and stay asleep.
  • Lie in bed awake: It’s better to do a soothing activity, like reading, until you feel tired.
  • Nap during the day: A short nap (less than 30 minutes) is OK if you’re very sleepy. But try to avoid naps after 3 p.m.
  • Think negative thoughts: Try to avoid a negative mindset when going to bed, such as, “If I don’t get enough sleep now, I won’t get through my day tomorrow!”
  • Use electronics right before bed: Electronics, such as your phone or tablet, can interfere with your body’s production of melatonin. This hormone gets released before bed to help you feel tired.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Far from being a state of doing nothing, sleep is an essential part of our lives. It helps our body rest, recharge and repair. There are four sleep stages — three in the non-REM phase plus REM sleep. Many factors can affect sleep quality, including the food and drink you consume before bed and room temperature. Many people experience trouble sleeping now and then. But if you think you may have a sleep disorder, talk to your healthcare provider. Common sleep disorders include insomnia (trouble falling asleep) and sleep apnea (breathing trouble during sleep). Your provider can help you get the diagnosis and treatment you need.

fast and slow sleep, which is more useful, how to get enough sleep taking into account the phases

While dubious gurus are broadcasting that you can get enough sleep in just a couple of hours, we decided to take the side of common sense and tell you more about sleep phases. In our material, you will learn why good rest is so important and how to improve its quality.

Oksana Barabanova



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Healthy lifestyle

Healthy sleep

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The role of sleep in the proper functioning of the body cannot be overestimated. But we are used to being guided by only part of the knowledge about it: how many hours it takes to restore strength, how quickly you can fall asleep and how you will feel in the morning. Many more have heard that there is a phase of fast and slow sleep, but not everyone knows what they are. Today we will talk about what phases are, what are their differences and features. And also dwell on their significance in human life. nine0003

What are the phases of sleep

The study of sleep is the branch of medicine called somnology. Somnologists are interested in the physiology of sleep and all its phases. They analyze brain activity and physiological reactions during a night's rest using special devices.

One of the leading methods is polysomnography - a comprehensive study of a patient's sleep, in which the equipment records the frequency and depth of breathing, muscle contractions, body position, transmission of nerve impulses, heart function and many other parameters. As a result, scientists receive a hypnogram - a graph that displays information about how long a particular sleep phase lasts, reflects information about their structure and quality. nine0003

Specialists distinguish 2 main phases of sleep - slow and fast sleep. In a healthy state of a person, with the right schedule and in accordance with biorhythms, sleep is a cycle of two basic phases, and each of them, in turn, is divided into stages. During the night, the cycle is repeated several times. Phases have different tasks and durations, which we will discuss in more detail in separate paragraphs.

  1. Several systems in the brain are responsible for the process of falling asleep. At first, the slow-wave sleep phase or its first stage begins, the duration of which is no more than ten minutes. At this moment, the body passes from an active state to rest. The metabolism in the body slows down, the frequency of respiration and pulse decreases, as well as the temperature, the muscles gradually relax. nine0034
  2. After that, you enter the second stage, which lasts about twenty minutes. This is a light or shallow sleep, when muscle activity is still decreasing, and with it the heart rate, temperature, eyes stop moving. The volume of this stage is about half of the total time of night rest.
  3. Then comes the deep sleep phase - the third and fourth stages. Each of them takes about forty minutes. The human heart beats slowly, breathing also slows down, the muscles are already completely relaxed. It becomes more difficult to wake a person, he sleeps soundly enough. nine0034
  4. Since rest is cyclical, then comes the return to the second stage of non-REM sleep. It is hurried to be replaced by the first short episode of a person's REM sleep, which takes only five minutes in time. Together, the stages form a cycle that, on average, is repeated four or five times per night in a healthy person. This factor depends on the age of the sleeper and the needs of his body. The more cycles behind, the smaller the proportion of slow sleep and the more noticeable the preponderance towards fast sleep.

How to understand whether REM or REM sleep is

Experts have an effective tool with which to easily distinguish between REM and non-REM sleep - this is an electroencephalogram. Without special devices, it is very difficult to understand whether there is a period of REM or non-REM sleep. Most likely, if a person moves his arms or legs, he is in REM sleep. During slow sleep, there is still complete relaxation.

What is REM sleep

REM sleep is the phase during which the information received during the day is processed. Studies have found that during REM sleep, brain activity is practically the same as during wakefulness. This period is very important for the formation of memories and the consolidation of skills.

How to know if REM sleep

REM sleep can be determined by the movements of the eyeballs and intermittent breathing. A person in this phase can even move his hands. Body temperature and heart rate during this period are unstable and can fluctuate from low to high values. nine0003

How long does REM sleep last

Normally REM sleep takes 20-25% of the total sleep time. It comes about an hour and a half after falling asleep and then repeats every hour and a half, each time becoming longer. Especially long REM sleep is observed in the morning hours.

What does slow sleep phase mean

In this section, we have reached the phase of slow sleep, or rather, the period of restoration of physiological and energy balance. A good rest begins, regeneration of tissues and cells is noted, blood supply to the muscles improves, immunity is strengthened. It is at this time that the “recharging” of the brain, the structuring of memory takes place. nine0003

How to tell if you are in a slow-wave sleep

A person in slow-wave sleep has a decrease in blood pressure and body temperature. Muscles are relaxed, breathing becomes more rare and measured.

How long non-REM sleep lasts

If we have a table of times in which the somnologist identifies sleep phases, we will notice the following. Normally, slow-wave sleep takes up 75% of the entire rest period. It is divided into three stages, which scientists refer to as N1, N2, N3. nine0003

  • N1 (light sleep) is the transitional stage between falling asleep and waking. During this phase of slow wave sleep, phenomena such as hypnagogic jerk (feeling of falling and startling when falling asleep), visual, auditory and tactile hallucinations, sleep paralysis, sleepwalking, sleep-talking can occur.
  • N2 - body temperature drops, muscles relax, a person completely disconnects from reality. Normally, N2 slow-wave sleep takes up half the time of all sleep and occurs in segments of about 20 minutes. nine0034
  • N3 is a deep sleep during which blood pressure decreases and breathing becomes rare. These are good sleep phases for restoring body tissues, producing hormones and removing metabolites. The brain, meanwhile, is engaged in "archiving" memories of events, moving them from short-term memory to long-term memory.

What is the difference between REM and non-REM sleep? REM sleep is characterized by frequent eye movements, and during non-REM sleep they are practically absent.

The most common question that somnologists hear is in what phase of sleep do we dream. As a rule, dreams that we see during REM sleep are more likely to be remembered. Although studies have found that dreams occur during both phases. nine0003

Why slow sleep is better than fast sleep

Both main phases are important for the normal functioning of body systems. There are just some nuances. It is believed that the phase of non-REM sleep has a significant mission of restoring the body, both in children and adults. By waking up a person at this time, we will deprive his brain of the opportunity to “reboot”. In addition to the general poor health of the sleepy, impaired concentration, increased nervousness, lethargy, apathy, and irritability await. nine0003

And if such deprivation of non-REM sleep occurs regularly, there are high chances of encountering serious mental disorders. In order to prevent a disorder of the circadian rhythm (the body's internal clock), you need to know in which phase of sleep it is best to wake up. REM sleep is ideal for this. By the way, numerous applications for gadgets can help with this.

But in no case should you think that REM sleep is useless and can be sacrificed without consequences. This period prepares all body systems for awakening and includes the connection between physiological processes in the brain and consciousness. nine0003

Slow and REM sleep: normal

A simple sleep phase calculator will help you calculate the norm for the average person. So, slow-wave sleep should account for 70%, and fast sleep, respectively, 30% of the total night's rest. The total duration of sleep sufficient for recovery is from 7 to 9 hours per day.

Slow-wave sleep should last about 90 minutes to maintain health. It is followed by a phase of REM sleep lasting 10-20 minutes. At night, the phases of REM and non-REM sleep are unevenly distributed. So, for the first time after falling asleep, REM sleep lasts about 5 minutes, and closer to waking up, its duration reaches an hour. With slow-wave sleep, the opposite is true - as the cycles change, it is reduced. nine0003

Let's add that there are supporters of polyphasic sleep. They break it up into short periods instead of a long night's sleep - the time of wakefulness increases, and you have to sleep less. So they get not 2 or 3, but as many as 4 phases of sleep. We are talking about the following modes:

  • Dymaxion - every 6 hours fall asleep four times for 30 minutes. Just 2 hours.
  • Uberman - every 4 hours six times for 20 minutes. Just 2 hours.
  • Everyman - 1.5-3 hours at night and three times 20 minutes during the day. Just 2.5-4 hours. nine0034
  • Tesla - 2 hours at night and 20 minutes during the day. Only 2 hours 20 minutes.

Of course, this approach has many opponents who claim that the regime is contrary to human biological rhythms. A torn schedule, they believe, will sooner or later lead to health problems.

How to increase the phase of non-REM sleep

Since we have found out in which phase of sleep a person recovers best, you need to know what will happen if it is deficient. Due to the lack of slow-wave sleep, the body's resistance decreases, immunity decreases and brain activity slows down. It becomes more difficult to concentrate even on familiar tasks, lethargy and anxiety appear. nine0003

There may be malfunctions in the endocrine system and hormone production. A reduced phase of non-REM sleep also increases the risk of Alzheimer's disease, heart and vascular diseases. Obviously, to maintain health, it is necessary to maintain the normal duration of this phase of sleep. For this, it is important to follow the regime. Look at your schedule, take into account the phases of sleep and their cyclical nature, time to wake up. And after the analysis, determine the hour when it is easier for the body to fall asleep and wake up.

It is not allowed to rest for five hours during the week, hoping to compensate on Saturday or Sunday. The habit of sleeping on weekends can lead to insomnia, create conditions for chronic fatigue, increase the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, provoke obesity and headaches. It also increases the risk of strokes and heart attacks. Follow the recommendations that will help increase non-REM sleep. nine0003

1. Scheduled sleep

If you have too short slow-wave sleep, take care of your routine and try to always follow it. Getting up and going to bed at the same time is a uniquely healthy habit.

2. Movement is life

During the day (but not before bedtime!) move more. You need to do exercises daily for 20-30 minutes. Thanks to this, brain cells will receive more oxygen, and this will help to establish biological rhythms. nine0003

3. No caffeine

Avoid invigorating drinks such as coffee, tea and alcohol in the evening. Drink a soothing herbal tea before bed.

4. Neither cold nor hot

Keep the room at a comfortable sleeping temperature. Ventilate the room regularly. It is comfortable to fall asleep in a cool room, and not in a stuffy one.

5. Put your phone away

Gadgets have a bad effect on the quality of sleep. An hour and a half before leaving for Morpheus, put away your smartphone, do not watch TV and do not use a computer. And it doesn't matter whether it's work plans, watching a movie or playing computer games. nine0003

6. Take a bath

A warm bath before bed helps you relax, and reading further sets you up for peace and relaxation.

7. Moderate emotions

The bed should be associated exclusively with rest (and intimate life), but not with quarrels, work, stormy laughter and deep sadness. Do not sort things out before going to bed, do not create emotional stress and fully tune in to sleep.

8. Dim the lights

Light interferes with the production of melatonin, distracts and prevents sleep, so try to rest in complete darkness. At the same time, take care of the silence, there will be no sharp and loud sounds in the audibility zone.

9. Timely dinner

Fatty, spicy foods, fruits are not suitable for eating at night. You make the stomach work, and it also has time to rest. Have dinner at least three hours before bedtime, so the food has time to digest. If annoying rumbling bothers you, drink a glass of kefir or milk. nine0003

10. Comfort

A hard mattress, uncomfortable pillow and synthetic bedding are unlikely to contribute to a comfortable rest in any phase of sleep. Pick up linen from breathable fabrics, place the bed so that nothing distracts and replace the blanket with a pillow. Your bed should be comfortable and inviting to sleep.


Click and watch

everything about how, how much and why to sleep

Nenad Aksic/Shutterstock. com

Sleep takes up a third of our lives. If you live 90 years, 30 of them you will oversleep. A lot, right? This condition is the subject of research by many scientists around the world (neurologists, psychologists, anthropologists, sociologists). Everyone wonders how much sleep you need? How does sleep affect productivity? What to do if you can't sleep?

Sleep is a special state of consciousness, as well as a natural physiological process, characterized by a reduced reaction to the outside world and specific brain activity.

Israel Sundseth/

The structure of human sleep includes two phases: slow-wave sleep (Non-REM) and fast sleep (REM, or REM - “rapid eye movement”).

Slow sleep
Comes on immediately after falling asleep. Consists of four stages. The total duration of the Non-REM phase is about 90 minutes. The breathing is calm, even, the pressure decreases, the eyes first make slow movements, and then they are motionless, the brain is inactive, the body is relaxed. You rest, restore physical strength.

REM sleep
Follows REM sleep and lasts 10 to 20 minutes. The temperature and pressure rise, the heart beats faster. The body is immobilized, with the exception of the muscles responsible for the heartbeat and breathing. Under closed eyelids, eyeballs make quick movements (hence the name - REM). The brain is active. You see dreams.

Non-REM and REM phases alternate with each other. First, you fall into slow sleep and go through all its stages. This takes about 90 minutes. Then comes the phase of REM sleep. The first time it is short, no more than 5 minutes. This cycle is called the sleep cycle. The cycles are repeated. At the same time, the proportion of non-REM sleep decreases and the duration of REM sleep increases (up to 1 hour). A healthy person usually goes through five cycles of sleep at a time. nine0209

Good sleep contributes to success in professional and personal life. Agree, you are unlikely to hear “Yes!” If during the interview you yawn or fall asleep at the screening of your favorite movie of a girl you like.

But most importantly, sleep is a guarantee of health. During sleep, a number of important hormones are produced, tissues are regenerated, and physical strength is replenished. The brain is also not idle: some of its areas become even more active than during wakefulness.

Dyaa Eldin/

Have you noticed that when you want to sleep, some tasks seem too difficult, but once you get enough sleep, the solution comes by itself? The fact is that during sleep, selective, that is, selective, erasure of memory occurs. The brain analyzes the information received during the day: the unnecessary is sent to the “basket”, and the important from the short-term memory is “archived” into the long-term. This is how our memories are formed. Improves perception, concentration and learning ability. nine0003

Lack of sleep impairs the functioning of certain parts of the brain. For example, inhibition of neural processes in the parietal lobe is observed, which may cause problems with the reaction rate. And when the work of the prefrontal cortex slows down, it is difficult for a person to formulate thoughts, there may be problems with vision. Fatigue of the brain turns into a whole bunch of negative consequences.

  1. Deterioration of cognitive functions (memory, attention, thinking), coordination, speech, orientation, control and others. Often this leads to accidents at work and on the road. According to statistics, every fifth accident occurs due to the fact that the driver fell asleep at the wheel. nine0034
  2. Immunity vulnerability. Studies show that lack of sleep increases the risk of getting sick by three times. During sleep, the immune system synthesizes cytokines. The more infections around, the more they are required. But if a person sleeps little, then there is simply no time to produce cytokines. No wonder they say that sleep heals.
  3. Overeating and excess weight. Lack of sleep stimulates the production of ghrelin, the hunger hormone. As a result, the person overeats. A tired brain requires more and tastier food. nine0034
  4. Reduced productivity. When a person wants to sleep, he does everything slowly and poorly. What usually takes an hour can take two, three or more. And not the fact that it will not have to be redone. The efficiency of time stolen from sleep tends to zero.
  5. Decreased motivation. Chronic lack of sleep destroys motivation like groundwater erodes a foundation. Every day less and less I want to move forward towards my goals. nine0034
  6. Bad habits and bad mood. Lack of sleep is a serious obstacle to the formation of good habits. But an excellent catalyst for harmful ones: with a lack of sleep, a person is looking for external stimulants (nicotine, caffeine, and so on). A sleepy person is quick-tempered, irritable and offended by the whole world.
  7. Poor appearance. Lack of sleep is literally imprinted on the face in the form of bruises and bags under the eyes. Prolonged lack of sleep provokes premature aging of the skin. nine0034

Israel Sundseth/

The situation is aggravated by the fact that often a person does not realize or does not recognize the decline in their mental and physical abilities: “Sleep is for the weak! I'm fine!".

Long-term sleep deprivation can cause serious health problems: the risk of developing heart and vascular diseases, diabetes mellitus. However, there are people who consider sleep a waste of time and deliberately keep it to a minimum.

Time is the most valuable and, alas, irreplaceable resource.
Wasting it on sleep is a crime.
This is the philosophy of polyphasic sleep supporters.

Ryan Hutton/

Polyphasic sleep is a sleep pattern in which sleep time is broken up into several short periods instead of a long rest once a day. At the same time, the total duration of sleep is significantly reduced, and wakefulness increases to 20-22 hours.

  • Dymaxion - four times for 30 minutes every 6 hours. Total - 2 hours. nine0034
  • Uberman - six times for 20 minutes every 4 hours. Total - 2 hours.
  • Everyman - 1.5-3 hours at night and three times 20 minutes during the day. Total - 2.5-4 hours.
  • Tesla - 2 hours at night and 20 minutes during the day. Total - 2 hours 20 minutes.

Rafael Fabricio/

Sleep is shortened by skipping Non-REM phases. According to supporters of the polyphasic pattern, the main energy recharging occurs during REM sleep, which means that you need to immediately “dive” into it, without wasting time on slow sleep. nine0003

Of course, training is needed. If you do not know how to fall asleep quickly and do not like to sleep during the day, it will be difficult. But gradually the body will get used to it, and the brain will tune in to the desired wave.

Polyphasic sleep was practiced by many prominent personalities: Leonardo da Vinci, Salvador Dali, Nikola Tesla, Bucky Fuller. Among our contemporaries are the president of Yahoo, Marissa Mayer, businessman and billionaire Donald Trump, basketball player Kobe Bryant and others.

Adepts of polyphasic sleep claim that they feel great: they not only get enough sleep, but are also full of physical and creative energy. nine0003

However, there are many critics of polyphasic sleep, who argue that sooner or later this jagged schedule will come back to haunt the problems with the cardiovascular system. Opponents of polyphasic sleep believe that you cannot force the body, you need to listen to your biological clock.

In ancient times, people lived according to the laws of nature - everything depended on the change of time of day. After all, there were only two "lamps": during the day - the sun, at night - the moon. This has shaped human circadian rhythms.

Adriel Kloppenburg/

Circadian Rhythm
This is the body's internal clock that determines the intensity of various biological processes (thermoregulation, digestion, hormone production, and so on).

The circadian frequency of sleep and wakefulness depends on light. Visual receptors react to the level of illumination and send a signal to the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the brain. This kicks off the production of two important hormones responsible for sleep and awakening: melatonin and cortisol. nine0003

Melatonin is a sleep hormone. Produced in the pineal gland when it gets dark. It reduces pressure and temperature, calms the body and gives it the command “Time to sleep!”. In the morning, the synthesis of melatonin stops. The more light, the more cortisol is released into the blood. This hormone wakes us up, gives vigor and energy for the accomplishments of a new day.

This determines the 24-hour circadian rhythm of sleep and wakefulness: it gets dark - melatonin gives us the opportunity to rest, the sun rises - cortisol wakes us up. But how much sleep do you need to be healthy and positive? After all, for example, in summer the nights are shorter than in winter, and artificial lighting allows you to adjust the natural schedule. nine0209

The vast majority of studies have proven that a healthy adult needs 8 hours of sleep.


This comes from the very nature of sleep. Remember, under normal conditions, we go through five sleep cycles of about 100 minutes each: 100 times 5 divided by 60 is about 8 hours.

The duration of sleep depends on age. The younger the person, the more sleep they need. The National Sleep Foundation, an American non-profit organization with 25 years of experience in the field, makes the following recommendations:

  • from 0 to 3 months - 14-17 hours;
  • from 4 to 11 months - 12-15 hours;
  • from 1 year to 2 years - 11-14 hours;
  • from 3 to 5 years - 10-13 hours;
  • from 6 to 15 years old - 9-11 hours;
  • from 14 to 17 years old - 8-10 hours;
  • from 18 to 64 years old - 7-9 hours;
  • 65 years and over - 7-8 hours.

Sleep duration directly affects physical and mental activity. Maybe, to become the best in your field, it is enough to sleep as much as outstanding scientists, writers and politicians slept? There is no definite answer to this question. nine0003

Einstein and Schopenhauer slept 10-12 hours a day. Honore de Balzac, Leo Tolstoy and Charles Darwin - 8 hours each. Sigmund Freud and Vladimir Nabokov adhered to six hours of sleep. Mozart and Margaret Thatcher (5 hours each), Napoleon Bonaparte and Voltaire (4 hours each) rested a little less. Waking record holders are Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla, who practiced polyphasic sleep.

There is no universal recipe. Sleep duration is like shoe size. For most, 8 hours is suitable, but for some this is not enough, and for some it is a lot. To understand how much you need to sleep for you, you can experimentally. nine0209

Answer three questions:

  1. Do you need an alarm to wake you up?
  2. Do you drink coffee or energy drinks to keep you awake during the day?
  3. Do you fall asleep within the first five minutes?

Yes to the first two questions and no to the last one, you need to increase your sleep.

Sonja Langford/

Circadian rhythms also affect a person's psychological state. Depending on the peaks of mental activity, people are divided into two chronotypes: morning (larks) and evening (owls). nine0003


Early rise and early bed. Waking up at 5-8 am. Lights out usually no later than 10 pm. Most productive and efficient until noon. In the afternoon can not solve problems effectively. By evening, completely exhausted.

Get up late and stay up late. Wake up at 9 am or later. Lights out, usually after midnight. Productivity peaks in the afternoon and evening. Waking up early is unsettling.

This classification was invented in the West in the 1970s. Since then, disputes have not ceased, who is better: larks or owls?

Larks are associated with hard work and success. Who gets up early... The world seems to be made for early birds. Government agencies, clinics, shops, organizations - if you want to be in time everywhere, get up earlier. But, according to scientific research and real life examples, owls are no less efficient and successful. For example, for a trader on the stock exchange or an IT freelancer, the generally accepted work schedule is not so important: they have their own. nine0003

Sometimes discussions reach the point of ridiculousness: supposedly owls are more sociable and romantic, while larks are more responsible and friendlier. In fact, such subjective qualities do not depend on the chronotype, but on the character of the individual. In addition, there is a sleep regime, the adherents of which are difficult to unambiguously classify as larks or owls.

The theory of biphasic, or segmented, sleep was developed by the historian, teacher at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Roger Ekirch (Roger Ekirch). The result of his 16-year scientific work, he outlined in the book "When the day ends: a dream in the ages past. " nine0003

Bill Williams/

Ekirch studied hundreds of historical documents and came to the following conclusion.

Until the 19th century, when artificial lighting spread to homes, people spent up to 14 hours a day in the dark. Winter evenings were especially long and tedious. The so-called two-phase sleep has become a protective mechanism here.

People went to bed almost immediately after sunset. Slept for about 4 hours and then woke up and stayed awake for a couple of hours. What they were doing? Differently. The aristocracy and intelligentsia, who could afford candles, read or prayed. In the 15th century, there were even special prayers for the night vigil. But most often they created, because they felt something akin to insight. Simpler and poorer people, hard workers and peasants, indulged in carnal pleasures. This Ekirch explains the high birth rate in these social groups. After midnight activity, people again went to bed and slept until the first roosters. nine0003

Modern experiments have shown that biphasic sleep can actually increase your creativity scores. The fact is that people wake up immediately after REM sleep, when the electrical activity of the brain is similar to the state of wakefulness. The memory is cleared of unnecessary information, the mind is bright, the attention is clear, you are full of creative energy.

Biphasic sleep has been practiced by some tribes since ancient times and is becoming more and more popular in pop culture. Despite the fact that the adherents of this system cannot be attributed either to larks (they go to bed early and get up early), or to owls (they work at night). nine0003

This is another argument in favor of the claim that we can change our own chronotype. If desired, an owl can become a lark, and vice versa.

Get up at 6 am! Sounds like a judgment. Can you imagine how difficult it will be to take your head off the pillow and how bad it will be during the day? But this will happen only if the duration of sleep is disturbed. Waking up early doesn't mean sleeping less. Waking up early means sticking to a routine. For example, if the rise is scheduled for 7:00, then you need to go to bed no later than 22:00. nine0003

Jake Givens/

Why do you want to get up early? Find your motivation. The word "should" doesn't work. Just by forcing yourself, you will inevitably break the regime. Perhaps you dream of losing weight and improving your health? Start jogging in the morning or sign up for a pool. Many of them open early so people can swim before work. Not enough time for self-development? Early morning is perfect for this. Everyone is still sleeping, no one will stop you from writing a note on your blog, reading your favorite book, drawing or, say, lying in the bath for a longer time. nine0209

  • 1st minute: open your eyes, think about the people you love, smile.
  • 2nd minute: take a few deep breaths to oxygenate the body, stretch sweetly.
  • 3rd minute: lightly massage the back of the head, temples, eyebrows and earlobes, rub palms together to improve blood circulation.
  • 4th minute: Sit down slowly and drink a glass of water stored in the evening - this will restore the body's water balance and activate the metabolism. nine0034
  • 5th minute: get out of bed, open the curtains, fill the room with light, say to yourself: “Good morning!”

Sunset Girl/

Now take a shower, exercise, meditate and have breakfast. In any order. Physical activity and contrast showers will increase adrenaline levels, a nutritious breakfast will finally awaken your metabolism, and meditation will help you tune in to a new day.

A few more life hacks that will help make the morning really good:

  1. Fill your morning with bright colors and cheerful smells. For example, eat oatmeal off an orange plate and hang citrus pomanders around the house.
  2. Take care of everything from the evening. Iron your clothes, assemble your lunch box, make a plan, and so on. Often you do not want to get up, because you know how many boring things are in the morning.
  3. Do not turn on the radio and TV. News and advertising only spoil the mood. Better get ready for work to your favorite energetic tunes. nine0034

Having created the right morning rituals, you will soon feel how getting up with the first rays of the sun sets you in a creative mood, and you will notice that you no longer need an alarm clock.

The first mechanical alarm clock was designed by Levi Hutchins in 1787. He called only once a day - at 4 o'clock in the morning. Modern people hate alarm clocks. These soulless squeakers steal our sleep, so in the hope of extending the sweet moments, we press the "Snooze for 10 minutes" button. In fact, we ourselves make the enemy out of the alarm clock. nine0209

Ales Krivec/

As the morning light fills the room, the body stops producing melatonin and starts producing cortisol. The temperature rises, blood pressure, the level of PER protein in the blood. Your body is preparing to wake up. Therefore, observing the regimen, you open your eyes just a few moments before the alarm signal.

The Snooze button breaks this process. You begin to doze off again, falling into the first stage of non-REM sleep. The body is perplexed: melatonin is needed again, but what to do with cortisol ?! As a result, after 5–10 minutes you force yourself to get up, but you feel lethargic and overwhelmed. nine0003

“Nonsense! I never wake up before the alarm, you won’t wake me up with a gun!” If so, then you simply do not sleep enough and do not follow the regime.

To make friends with the alarm:

  • do not use the Snooze button;
  • set a pleasant melody that slowly increases in volume;
  • hold the alarm clock away to turn it off after the first 5 minutes of waking up, when you have already got out of bed. nine0209

Insomnia (insomnia) is a sleep disorder characterized by inadequate sleep duration and/or poor quality of sleep. It occurs in people of all ages. Insomnia can be chronic (lasts from a month or more) and acute (several nights in a row).


  1. You can't sleep at all.
  2. Constantly waking up.
  3. You are pissed that you are not sleeping well.
  4. Everything falls out of hand, I don't want to communicate with anyone. nine0034

Possible causes:

  1. Stress, problems at work and in private life, depression.
  2. Non-compliance with the regime. Deciding to lie around longer on the weekend, you can earn insomnia.
  3. Shift work schedule, and as a result - disruption of circadian rhythms.
  4. Medicines. Investigate if insomnia is a side effect of the drug you are taking.
  5. Violation of sleep hygiene (stale air in the room, too hot, noisy or light). nine0034

In addition, insomnia can be a companion of somatic and neurological diseases. Here you need to see a doctor. But in most cases, you can get rid of insomnia on your own.

Most often, our own thoughts prevent us from falling asleep. Not always pleasant.


There are various techniques to stop the round dance in the head. For example, visualization. Imagine yourself dozing on the beach under the lapping of the waves. The more detailed the picture, the faster you will find yourself in the realm of Morpheus. Another technique is auto-training: “My eyelids are getting heavy, I fall asleep…”. You can also run the events of the outgoing day in reverse order or dream up and tell yourself a bedtime story. nine0003

Also try focusing on your own breathing: inhale deeply through your nose for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds, and exhale slowly through your mouth for 8 seconds. Thanks to this exercise, you will calm down, and while counting seconds, you will have no time to think about anything else.

Thank you for the passing day. Who or what are you grateful for today? From a positive psychology point of view, expressing gratitude strengthens interpersonal relationships and is highly motivating. Falling asleep with good thoughts, you set yourself up to continue the chain of goodness tomorrow. nine0003

Sometimes we can't fall asleep because of some trifle like an uncomfortable posture or a chemical smell from bed linen. But in the science of sleep, there are no trifles. Pay attention to the position of the body in which you usually wake up. Lie down like this the next time you can't sleep. Use special candles or an essential oil lamp to fill your bedroom with the soothing scent of lavender.

But the most important thing is to work out and follow the evening rituals that set the body to sleep. nine0209

  1. Keep a diary. There you can write down the events of the passing day, your thoughts and experiences. Give preference to a pen and paper notebook.
  2. Read. Better - an ordinary book or an e-book with an E-Ink screen. And no horror, action and drama. Choose light, positive pieces.
  3. Planning. By making a plan in the evening, you will not only save time in the morning, but will also be ready for action. nine0209
  4. Communication. Evening is a time for family and friends. Do not engage in intellectual work at night looking. And communication is not social networks and chats, but a live conversation.

In addition, proper nutrition, meditation and walking will help normalize sleep.

Jez Timms/

Many people think you have to be tired to sleep well. Physical activity really has a positive effect on the quality and duration of sleep. But intense training is recommended to end at least 4-6 hours before bedtime. nine0209

Caleb Ekeroth/

Light aerobic exercise, yoga or just meditation can be done 1-2 hours before bed.

One of the best yoga postures for relaxation is shavasana. Lie on your back. Place your hands along the body with palms up, but do not touch the body. Stretch your legs and spread them a little. Close your eyes. Relax one by one all the muscles of the body, starting with the toes. Gradually move up: buttocks, lower back, abdomen, back, chest, and so on. Finish relaxing with the muscles of the neck, face and eyes. Usually by this point the person is disconnected. nine0003

But the best option for evening physical activity is a walk. You will enrich the body with oxygen, literally step over the worries and anxieties of the day and, perhaps, work up an appetite.

Eating at night is harmful. But going to bed when your stomach is growling with hunger is wrong. The last meal should be 2-3 hours before bedtime. At the same time, you need to eat foods that are conducive to relaxation.

Ali Inay/

Specifically, rich foods:

  • melatonin — sleep hormone;
  • tryptophan, an amino acid from which melatonin can be synthesized;
  • calcium, which promotes the absorption of tryptophan;
  • magnesium - a natural muscle relaxant that helps to relax;
  • a protein that lowers the acidity of the stomach, causing drowsiness.
  1. Cherry juice or fresh cherries. This berry contains a lot of melatonin, and contains the hormone itself, and not its predecessor. Regular consumption of cherry juice significantly increases the duration of sleep. nine0209
  2. Bananas. They are rich in magnesium and also contain tryptophan.
  3. Yogurt or low-fat cottage cheese. Dairy products are high in calcium and protein.
  4. Turkey, legumes, eggs. These are low calorie, nutritious foods that help lower stomach pH and induce sleepiness through tryptophan.
  5. Spinach and other dark greens, pumpkin seeds, almonds. Rich in magnesium to help relax muscles and help you fall asleep. nine0034

Neha Deshmukh/

Fatty foods, coffee and caffeinated foods, and alcohol should not be consumed before bed. The first can cause indigestion and adversely affect the figure. Coffee, black tea, energy drinks and other caffeinated products will keep you awake for a long time. They should be discarded at least 3 hours before bedtime. The last cup of espresso must be drunk no later than 14:00. At night, it is better to drink herbal teas with chamomile, oregano, lemon balm or hawthorn. They will help you calm down and relax. nine0003

Alcohol is especially insidious. It helps to switch off, but it has a bad effect on the REM phase, and due to dehydration and the breakdown of ethanol, we wake up without having time to rest. So a jar of beer or a glass of wine before bed is not the best sleeping pill.

It is better to drink a mug of warm milk with honey. Milk contains tryptophan, protein and calcium. This drink has a warming and lulling effect. Just like in childhood.

Sometimes the cause of insomnia lies not in us, but in our partner, who lies next to us and snores. Do not rush to hit him with a pillow - help him solve this problem. Snoring is the process of breathing during sleep, in which a person makes a characteristic rattling sound. According to statistics, 45% of adults snore in their sleep at varying intervals.


Snoring can be a sign of certain diseases (apnea, obesity, hypertension, and others), but the most common cause of snoring is weakened throat muscles, clogged nasal passages, or palatal vibration.

Throat muscles lose tone with age. But they can be strengthened with some simple exercises. nine0209

  1. Close your mouth and close your lips as tightly as possible for 30 seconds.
  2. Open your mouth, move your lower jaw to the right and hold for 30 seconds. Then repeat the same on the other side.
  3. Stick out your tongue as far as possible, then relax. Repeat 10 times. Stick your tongue out again and try to touch your chin and then your nose. Repeat 10 times.

Alcohol, coffee and sedatives relax the throat muscles. And smoking blocks the airways, causing irritation of the mucous membranes of the throat and nose. Therefore, sometimes, to get rid of snoring, it is enough to give up bad habits. nine0003

And the simplest thing: change your posture. During sleep on the back, the muscles of the lower palate relax, the tongue sinks, and pressure on the airways appears. Therefore, sleep on your side or stomach, raise the pillow higher or use a special orthopedic pillow.

Churchill never missed an afternoon nap, even during the war. The politician believed that an afternoon nap, like nothing else, increases efficiency. And he was right. Daytime naps are really helpful. Especially if you don't get enough sleep at night. nine0209


Winston Churchill wrote: “You must sleep between lunch and dinner, and no half measures, never! Take off your clothes and get into bed. Don't think that you will do less work because you are sleeping during the day. This is a stupid opinion of people who have no imagination. On the contrary, you will be able to do more, because you get two days in one - well, at least one and a half.

  1. Short nap improves memory and other cognitive functions. It helps to transfer accumulated information from short-term to long-term memory. nine0034
  2. This kind of sleep stimulates creativity and enhances the ability to learn.
  3. Helps to resist stress and improves mood.
  • 10-20 minutes. This is the ideal length of daytime sleep. You will pass the first two stages of slow wave sleep and wake up easily, having time to rest your mind and body.
  • 30 minutes. After half an hour of daytime sleep, a state of inertia similar to a hangover may occur. It will continue for another 30 minutes. nine0034
  • 60 minutes. After such a smoke break, it is easy to remember facts, faces and numbers. But for a while you will act by inertia.
  • 90 minutes. A complete sleep cycle has been completed. It is easy to wake up, you feel a surge of strength.

Thong Vo/

When, how and where to take a nap

The best time for a siesta is from 13:00 to 16:00. But specific hours depend on your routine and biorhythm. For example, if you wake up at 10:00, you are unlikely to want to take a nap in just 3 hours. nine0003

Daytime sleep takes some getting used to. Practice it for several days at the same time. Try to sleep the same number of minutes. Consider the time it takes to fall asleep. If you switch off in 10 minutes, then for a full 20-minute daytime sleep, you need to start the alarm clock half an hour ahead.

You can take a nap anywhere: in the car, at the table, on the couch. The sleep is short, which means that you almost do not risk getting up with back or neck pain. Ideally, find a quiet place with dim lights. If the office does not have this, use a sleep mask and earplugs. nine0209

Mats-Peter Forss/

  1. Stick to the routine. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time according to your internal biological clock. Use special tracker applications to study the features of your sleep.
  2. Create a comfortable sleep environment. The optimal temperature in the bedroom is 18-21 ºС. Ventilate the room at night. Shade windows so that the light of outdoor advertising, street lamps and passing cars does not interfere with you. If you sleep more than one, discuss with your partner what factors affect your and his sleep, and create comfortable conditions for both. nine0034
  3. Buy a comfortable mattress, pillow and sleepwear. Change bedding as often as possible. Do not let pets in bed.
  4. Walk and meditate before bed.
  5. Don't lie down on an empty stomach, but don't overeat either. No coffee or alcohol at night.
  6. Use the bedroom only for sleep and sex. Do not watch TV in bed, do not use a laptop, tablet and smartphone. The light from the screens suppresses the production of melatonin - the quality of sleep decreases. nine0034
  7. Eliminate digital noise at least 2-3 hours before bed. Instead of scrolling through social media feeds, watching emails and watching videos, go about your evening rituals.
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