sleep-wake cycle

Everything you ever wanted to know about the sleep-wake cycle

One of the desorders of insomnia is the sleep-wake cycle. We are all aware that we live stressed lives, at a frenetic pace and that is exactly why it is of vital importance to find time for ourselves and, above all, to rest. Personally I’m a faithful defender of the taking care of yourself and dedicate time to yourself which all to often, we forget. Knowing what we want, what we feel, how we function, what makes us happy, is necessary to be able to fully enjoy our existence. We can only achieve this through managing and organizing our time.

In order to achieve that precious state of well-being, one of the most important things is to rest properly. The Spanish Sleep Society for example, tried to raise awareness among the population with a famous slogan that aimed to highlight the importance of sleeping well to live better. Also in Japan there are companies who pay their staff to sleep more and make sure they are well-rested, productive and happy at work.

” Join the dream world, preserve your natural rhythms in order to enjoy life to the max”

Insomnia, an all too common evil

According to an article in Vogue magazine, insomnia, along with obesity, has become a problem that, in Spain, affects 35% of the population temporarily and 10% and 15% chronically. And this is not all, so far this century, the consumption of sleeping pills has increased by 57%.

Why does this happen? It would seem that with the comforts and the quality of life that we have today, this should not be the case. As you might already know, a great part of the blame is due to new technologies adding to the accelerated rhythm of life, causing stress (which in many occasions we are not even aware we suffer), the little time that we have for ourselves…

And then there is the quality of sleep

This is another issue that we could talk about for hours, the quality of sleep. We may sleep eight hours but, nevertheless, we get up tired, with muscle pain and not enough energy to face the day. According to the Spanish Sleep Society (SES) and the article published by Vogue, “currently, human beings live under the influence of three types of clocks or times.”

One is the internal time, which is our so-called biological clock. Two, social time, which is the time spent with family, work and social obligations. Finally, the environmental time, which is determined by the light and darkness generated by the solar cycle. And what about these three clocks? Well, they should be synchronized; otherwise it is when we can start to have problems.

The sleep-wake cycle

The behavior of living beings shows a temporal organization of the biological functions whose study chronobiology is responsible for. According to his period, the rhythms are classified as: circadians, infradians and ultradians. Circadian cycles are those with periods of approximately 24 hours, such as sleep-wake or body temperature.  The infradian cycles are those with a period greater than 28 hours, such as the menstrual cycle. Finally, ultradian cycles have a period of less than 20 hours. A good example of this is the REM-NREM sleep cycle.

Our sleep-wake cycle is regulated by the biological clock, which is nothing more than a neuronal center located in the hypothalamus and whose function is to regulate our sleep cycle. It is important to be aware of the cycles of our body and try to keep them well synchronized, otherwise we could have problems such as insomnia.

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