It seems such a bizarre process, horizontally comatose for a 3rd of our lives. Easy prey for predators, yet not “selected out” by evolution. Crazy. It must be much more important than we give it credit for.
A typical sleep cycle contains:
1. NREM – Organisation of neural pathways (think disk defrag)
2. REM – Acting out scenarios (rehearsals, dreams)
3. Repair of bodily systems (reboot)
THE THIRD REASON is the health part, a full 8 hours must be enjoyed to allow the body to repair itself and to sustain a long, healthy life. Less sleep will result in a shorter life with more disease. Unfortunately, as we age our sleep gets more disturbed by toilet breaks, less efficient NREM and REM, resulting in fewer healthy sleep cycles.
In the afternoon/evening drink LESS coffee, don’t nap, fewer drinks, keep bright lights (daylight bulbs) on. You have to allow melatonin and adenosine to accumulate, don’t mask them with coffee and don’t deplete them with a nap. Your 24 hour circadian rhythm will keep you on track for sleep periods but your melatonin and adenosine will kick you off to sleep. And sleeping tablets can’t help you either.