Originally Posted April 11, 2011
To sleep per chance to dream; ay there’s the rub! Shakespeare got it right. Dreaming sleep is not the most important sleep you need. When you sleep you are in what is called REM sleep or Rapid Eye Movement sleep. While this is important for you to get to, it is far more important for you to move past the REM cycle into a deeper non REM sleep. NREM sleep is when the body produces Melatonin.
Melatonin is critical for health, regeneration, recovery, and performance of daily activities as well as physical activities. Most people think that 6 hours is enough sleep. Well the body needs somewhere around 8 hours of Melatonin production in order for you to be fully healthy. It takes you approximately 90 minutes of sleep to even move past REM sleep to begin Melatonin production. For those of you that are mathematically challenged that’s around 9.5 hours of sleep a night! I know most of you don’t get that, but it’s important to get as much sleep as you can, as well as do things to help your Melatonin production.
Light in your room can decrease your Melatonin production. I read a study that used 1 pixel of fiberoptic light and implanted it into the back of peoples knees. (nowhere close to where their eyes would see it) As soon as that pixel of light came on, the persons Melatonin production instantly decreased. Their cells picked up the light and decreased the Melatonin! It will help you get better quality sleep if you black out your curtains and all sources of light in your room. This includes that DVD player that is flashing midnight all night long because you are too lazy to set it ;). Another thing that will help you get better quality sleep, and better Melatonin production is to not stare at a screen within an hour before going to bed. TV and computer screens are hard on the eyes and have an effect on your brain that makes it harder for you to get to sleep faster, so falling asleep with the TV on is a no go! Not ingesting caffeine after noon will help you as well. If you take anything with caffeine after 12 it will negatively impact your sleep, whether you think it will or not. Finally supplementing with some Magnesium will help you find a deeper sleep. For those of you that have not tried this, go easy. This stuff can make you feel like you just woke up from a coma if you take too much. A final word on Melatonin, do not take a supplement with this in it, taking Melatonin orally can actually cause your body to down regulate it’s own production (bad!).
How much sleep do you get a night? Is it enough? Post comments below!
Man how she has grown since that picture was taken!