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How to Sleep Better

What is sleep, and how does it work? In this article, we walk you through common sleep disorders, how EMFs impact your sleep, and the nature of sleep debt. We also teach you how to sleep better by using the Qi Devices™ and developing key daily habits. Your best sleep starts tonight!

WHAT IS SLEEP?

Matthew Walker, a professor of neuroscience and psychology at UC Berkeley and the director of the Center for Human Sleep Science, (1) explained that from an evolutionary standpoint, in just about every species on earth, some form of sleep is present. From this, it can be assumed that sleep is essential.

Human sleep can be divided into two parts:

  1. Non-REM Sleep
  2. REM Sleep (rapid eye movement)

These two types of sleep battle for domination throughout the night. This pattern is shown on a hypnogram:

While you are in the non-REM stages of sleep, your brain is working to strengthen and consolidate information you have learned during the day.

HOW SLEEP WORKS

There are several stages of sleep (2):

BEGINNING STAGES OF SLEEP

As you begin to fall asleep, your heart rate slows down, your body temperature will begin to drop, and your brain waves slow down.

DEEPER STAGES OF SLEEP AND NON-REM SLEEP

When your body enters the deeper stages of sleep, your brain suddenly erupts with big, powerful, brainwaves. For reasons that are still not quite understood, hundreds of thousands of brain cells in your cortex all of a sudden decide to fire together — then, they go silent together. These sudden eruptions of brain activity work in coordination with your deep brain waves to function as a file transfer mechanism: moving information from a short-term reservoir to a more permanent, long-term storage site.

While you are in the non-REM stages of sleep, your brain is working to strengthen and consolidate information you have learned during the day. This form of sleep also works to set your new memories from the day into the brain. During this time, your heart rate slows down and your cardiovascular system as a whole slows down, allowing your system to restore itself. Your body is also working to improve our immune system so that you wake up a more robust immune individual.

REM SLEEP

Rapid Eye Movement sleep (REM) is a remarkably active state. During this stage (the dream state) of your sleep cycle, some regions of your brain are up to 30% more active than when you are awake. These regions control your emotions, memories, and motor activity. As you go into dream sleep, these areas spark into life.

REM sleep is also an effective form of overnight therapy. REM sleep acts as a nocturnal soothing balm, smoothing the sharp edges off of the hard emotional experiences you had during the day so that the next day, you can feel better about those emotionally challenging events. It can then be concluded that it is not time that heals all wounds. Rather, it is time during sleep that heals all wounds. 

Furthermore, it is during REM sleep when your brain takes the information you have learned during the day and makes connections with your past, stored information. So, when you wake up, you have a revised mind-wide web of information.

SLEEP AS YOU AGE

From your mid to late 30s, our deep sleep electrical brain quality declines. As your brains deteriorate, they are no longer able to generate the sleep that you need, and our circadian rhythm, our internal clock, begins to change. This means that as you age, you will find it harder to be more active and alert during the day, and you will no longer be getting the quality of sleep that you need. This leads to the false assumption that older people need less sleep. In actual fact, although their sleep needs have not changed, their brains’ ability to meet those needs is deteriorating.

As you age, you will find it harder to be more active and alert during the day

PREVENTING SLEEP DEBT

The average adult needs seven to nine hours of sleep a night. The CDC stipulates a minimum of seven hours for adults (3). People who sleep less than six hours a night are more prone to developing Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, depression, obesity, certain cancers, and heart disease, among other serious health issues. 

“The number of people who can survive on less than six hours or five hours of sleep per night without showing any impairment, rounded to a whole number and expressed as a percent of the population, is 0%”

– Mathew Walker (4)

Two factors determine your daytime alertness and your nighttime sleepiness (5):

  1. Sleep pressure: From the moment you wake up, a chemical called adenosine builds in your brain, creating chemical pressure. The more pressure that builds throughout the day, the sleepier you will feel at night. While you sleep, your brain takes away all of the adenosine buildup so that you can wake up feeling alert and refreshed.
  2. Circadian rhythm: Everyone has a personal circadian rhythm. This rhythm is controlled by the suprachiasmatic nucleus. This part of your brain regulates when your body wants to wake up and when you feel ready to go to bed. It is this internal clock that determines whether a person is more of a night owl (preferring to go to bed late and wake up late) or a morning lark (preferring to go to bed early and wake up early). The suprachiasmatic nucleus regulates your personal circadian rhythm by regulating melatonin levels. 

When you receive bright daylight through your eyes, this tells your suprachiasmatic nucleus to stop making melatonin. As dusk turns to night, the darker light received through your retinas triggers your brain to release melatonin, which helps you to get sleepy. 

Artifcial light can trick your brain to stay active longer than usual which can decrease your sleep quality.

The problem comes when you spend your days in synthetic, office lighting, which is not nearly as bright as sunlight and can cause you to feel tired throughout the day. Then, you move from synthetic office lighting to interior home lighting and the lighting from your devices, tablets, and laptops. Because you are deprived of the natural sunlight and true darkness that the suprachiasmatic nucleus needs, you are left feeling tired during the day and awake during the night. 

The truth of sleep debt is that you can never pay it off. If you only get four hours of sleep one night, you cannot pay off the debt by sleeping in late the next day. Additionally, if you are used to going to bed at 10:30 p.m. and waking up at 7 a.m. on the weekdays but go to bed after midnight and wake up at 10 a.m. on weekends, you experience a sort of “weekend jet lag” on Monday because your internal clock was thrown off. To prevent sleep debt and to make sure that you are waking up feeling refreshed and alert, it is best to go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time every day so that your body’s internal clock is able to function effectively.

SLEEP DISORDERS

Did you know that there are more than 100 different sleep disorders? (6) The CDC noted a few key disorders (7):

1. INSOMNIA

Insomnia is characterized by difficulty falling and staying asleep (8). Insomnia leads to daytime sleepiness and cognitive impairment. Some worldwide studies suggest that 10% to 30% of the population have insomnia, while other studies have shown a prevalence of insomnia in 50% to 60% of adults (9). Some causes of insomnia include stress, post partum, mental health, asthma, medication, arthritis, changes in sleep schedule, and environmental discomfort.

2. SLEEP APNEA

Sleep apnea is when your breathing stops and starts throughout the night (10). This leaves you feeling just as tired as when you went to bed after a full night’s sleep. There are three types of sleep apnea:

  1. Obstructive sleep apnea: throat muscles relax, blocking the airway.
  2. Central sleep apnea: brain fails to signal the muscles to keep breathing.
  3. Complex sleep apnea syndrome: a combination of both obstructive and central. 

The symptoms of sleep apnea include snoring, gasping for air during sleep, waking up with a dry mouth, morning headache, excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia), irritability, difficulty concentrating and paying attention while awake, and another person reporting that you stop breathing periodically during sleep.

3. NARCOLEPSY

Narcolepsy is characterised by falling asleep suddenly and unexpectedly (11). This leads to overwhelming daytime drowsiness, sudden loss of muscle tone and muscle weakness,  sleep paralysis, and hallucinations. Narcolepsy happens when the brain chemicals responsible for the sleep and wake states are not functioning as they should.

4. RESTLESS LEG SYNDROME

Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS), also known as Willis-Ekbom disease, is characterized by the uncontrollable urge to move your legs (12). People with RLS may experience an aching, itchy, unpleasant feeling in their lower legs that can only be relieved with movement. People with RLS may also experience unconscious leg movements such as nighttime leg twitching. While there is no known cause for RLS, some researchers suspect this condition may be caused by an imbalance of brain chemicals.

5. PARASOMNIA

Parasomnia is a sleep disorder that results in abnormal behavior while sleeping (13). This includes sleep walking, talking in your sleep, night terrors, nightmares, bedwetting, teeth grinding and clenching, and acting out your dreams (kicking, shouting, punching, etc.). Parasomnia like sleepwalking can be dangerous because the person is unaware of their surroundings and may walk into a road or walk into a hole without being aware of it. Some causes of parasomnia include PTSD, stress, anxiety, depression, certain medications, or neurological conditions.

EMFS AND SLEEP

Do you have a restless night’s sleep no matter how tired you are? Do you wake up still feeling tired? If so, EMFs may be affecting you. Sleep disturbances are a common symptom of EMF sensitivity. Many people who sleep close to a Wi-Fi router or other EMF emitters report having restless nights. 

One study in Switzerland found that when a local broadcast transmitter emitting short-wave EMFs (6 to 22MHz) was turned off, the study participants’ sleep quality improved by 1.7 units (95% Confidence Intervals: 0.1 to 3.4) per mA/m decrease in magnetic field exposure. Researchers also discovered that the participants’ melatonin excretion increased by 15% (14)

So, how can you improve your sleep?

6 HABITS THAT IMPROVE YOUR SLEEP

1. REGULARITY IS KING

Your internal clock responds best and performs best under conditions of regularity. Make sure to go to sleep and wake up at the same times, even on weekends, for optimal sleep quality.

2. DEVELOP A WIND-DOWN ROUTINE

Your internal clock responds best and performs best under conditions of regularity. Make sure to go to sleep and wake up at the same times, even on weekends, for optimal sleep quality.

3. SET THE BEDROOM TEMPERATURE AT THE APPROPRIATE LEVEL

Many studies have proven 67 degrees Fahrenheit to be the optimal room temperature for sleep (16). To initiate sleep and to stay asleep, your brain and body need to drop their core temperature. Many studies have proven having a hot shower or bath before bed improves sleep quality (17). This is because when you are in a warm shower or bath, you encourage all of the blood to come out of the core of your body and rise to the surface of your skin. Then, because all of the blood is at the surface of your skin, it evacuates all of the heat from your body. Because of this, your core body temperature plummets, allowing your brain and body to reach the appropriate core temperature needed for sleep.

4. GET ENOUGH DARKNESS

Be mindful in the last hour before bed — dim down the lights in your house and stay away from technology. Darkness gives the brain the signal to release melatonin. When you are watching TV, using your phone or laptop, or sitting in a bright room at night, your brain will halt its melatonin production, which will keep you awake when you should be winding down. Additionally, be sure to get as much outdoor light exposure as possible during the day. This will help keep you awake and will be sure to keep your circadian rhythm regular.

5. RESERVE YOUR BED

Make sure your bed is reserved for sleep and intimacy. Eating, working, or watching TV in bed will confuse your brain and will make sleeping more challenging. Your bed needs to solely be associated with a good night’s sleep.

6. WHAT TO DO IF YOU CANNOT GO BACK TO SLEEP?

As a general rule of thumb, if you are lying awake in your bed for more than 30 minutes and cannot fall asleep, it is better to get up and do something else. Your brain is incredibly associative: if you lie awake for extended periods of time, your brain will begin to associate your bed as the trigger for wakefulness rather than restful sleep. So, if you find yourself lying in bed for ages, get up, go to a different room, keep the lights dim, and do some light stretching or read a book. Make sure to not eat or look at devices, as that will make you more awake. Only go back to bed when you are sleepy so you develop an association between your bed and sound sleep.

HOW TO SLEEP BETTER WITH QI DEVICES™

Improved sleep is one of the most recognizable health improvements when a Qi Device™ is present. Qi products are the most sure way to protect yourself from EMFs. As the world leader in EMF protection devices, Synergy Science™ has developed Waveguard Technology that has been proven through double-blind studies to depolarize radiation and decrease signal strength. In addition to protecting you from radiation, Qi Devices™ have been proven to lower physical distressreduce EMF exposuredecrease EMF radio waves, and more!

The protection areas of the Qi Devices™ range from just protecting you to protecting an entire 20-story office building. Depending on the size of the area you want to protect, you have the option to purchase the Qi Me™Qi Shield™Qi Home Cell™, or Qi Max™.

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