Are you getting quality sleep? Or are you sleeping for 8 hours but not the refreshment that you need to be fully energised the next day?
It could be that you aren't spending enough time in the most important stages of sleep - when your body rebuilds and recharges.
When you sleep, your body transitions back and forth between several different stages of sleep, basically identified as Stages 1,2,3,4, and REM (Rapid Eye Movement) .
These stages progress cyclically from stage 1 through REM then begin over again with stage 1. Each of these stages has an important purpose.
A complete sleep cycle takes an average of 90 to 110 minutes, with each stage lasting between 5 to 15 minutes. The first sleep cycles each night have relatively short REM sleeps and long periods of deep sleep, but later in the night the REM periods lengthen and the deep sleep time decreases.
If you are a snorer, there’s a high chance that there are some stages of sleep that you’re not experiencing as much as you should be, and you will be suffering because of it.
Let’s look at these stages.
This stage is just very light sleep when you’re beginning to doze off and can be roused easily. In this stage your eyes move slowly, your brain activity will start to slow down, and your muscles are beginning to relax.
Sometimes during this stage, some people experience sudden muscle contractions preceded by a sensation of falling.
In stage 2, you begin to transition from just dozing off into actual sleep. eye movement stops and brain waves become slower with only an occasional burst of rapid brain waves.
Your muscles are beginning to fully relax. This is the point where your throat muscles become relaxed and it is possible that the tongue falls to the back of your throat, blocking your airway and thus causing snoring.
The body temperature begins to drop and the heart rates slows sleep aids in mental and physical restoration and is where you’ll spend a good chunk of your night.
It is this stage when you are deeply asleep that most strongly promotes physical and cognitive recovery. In fact, this stage is so important, that you could wake up from a 9-hour sleep and still feel tired because you did not spend enough time in this stage.
During the Deep Sleep period, extremely slow brain waves called delta waves are interspersed with smaller, faster waves. It is during this stage that a person may experience sleepwalking, night terrors, talking during one’s sleep, and bedwetting.
These behaviors are known as parasomnias, and tend to occur during the transitions between non-REM and REM sleep.
Unfortunately, this is where things get especially bad for snorers. Those who snore end up spending far less time in stage 3. The reason for this is, if your airway is being blocked, your body is not getting an easy flow of oxygen, and as a result, you won’t be able to move from stage 2 to stage 3.
Similarly, if you suffer from Sleep Apnea, you may not realize it, but you are waking up several (sometimes many) times in the night, again, preventing you from falling into a deeper sleep.
In stage 4, deep sleep continues as the brain produces delta waves almost exclusively. People roused from this state feel disoriented for a few minutes.
During REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, brain waves mimic activity during the waking state. while your muscles are virtually paralyzed.
The eyes remain closed but move rapidly from side-to-side, most likely being related to the intense brain activity and vivid dreaming that that occurs during this stage.
Unfortunately, for those with sleep apnea, the paralysis or hyper relaxation that occurs during this time can be that much more damaging, as it can cause the airway to be completely blocked.
As your sleep is being disrupted constantly, your body is constantly being prevented from transitioning into a deeper sleep which will affect how much energy you have the next day and rested you feel in the morning.
This continual waking also interferes with your body’s ability to maintain a strong immune system and metabolism, and prevents the body from growing and strengthening in many other ways.
It is important that if you aren't waking up feeling great because of snoring, or because you thing that you may have Sleep Apnea, that you take steps to address these issues.