What is your sleep-wake cycle dictated by?
Answer: Circadian Rhythm. The circadian rhythm is a biological cycle of different processes that happen over a time span of about 24 hours.
Here are some key points in the typical 24-hour cycle:
6 A.M. Cortisol levels increase to wake your brain and body
7 A.M. Melatonin production stops
9 A.M. Sex hormone production peaks
10 A.M. Mental alertness levels peak
2:30 P.M. Best motor coordination
3:30 P.M. Fastest reaction time
5 P.M. Greatest cardiovascular efficiency and muscle strength
7 P.M. Highest blood pressure and body temperature
9 P.M. Melatonin production begins to prepare the body for sleep
10 P.M. Bowel movements suppressed as the body quiets down
2 A.M. Deepest sleep
4 A.M. Lowest body temperature
Obviously, these times are not exact and merely display the general pattern of the circadian rhythm.
The Purpose of Sleep
The first purpose of sleep is restoration. Every day, your brain accumulates metabolic waste as it goes about its normal neural activities. While this is completely normal, too much accumulation of these waste products has been linked to neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's disease.
Alright, so how do we get rid of metabolic waste? Recent research has suggested that sleep plays a crucial role in cleaning out the brain each night. While these toxins can be flushed out during waking hours, researchers have found that clearance during sleep is as much as two-fold faster than during waking hours.
The way this process occurs is fairly remarkable:
During sleep, brain cells actually shrink by 60 percent, allowing the brain's waste-removal system—called the glymphatic system—to essentially “take out the trash” more easily. The result? Your brain is restored during sleep, and you wake up refreshed and with a clear mind.
The second purpose of sleep is memory consolidation. Sleep is crucial for memory consolidation, which is the process that maintains and strengthens your long-term memories. Insufficient or fragmented sleep can hamper your ability to form both concrete memories (facts and figures) and emotional memories.
Finally, sleep is paramount for metabolic health. Studies have shown that when you sleep 5.5 hours per night instead of 8.5 hours per night, a lower proportion of the energy you burn comes from fat, while more comes from carbohydrate and protein. This can predispose you to fat gain and muscle loss. Additionally, insufficient sleep or abnormal sleep cycles can lead to insulin insensitivity and metabolic syndrome, increasing your risk of diabetes and heart disease. Full article by James Clear
Find out more on how LiYF can help you get a better night's sleep so that you can Start Living.