Polysomnography monitors your sleep stages and cycles to identify if or when your sleep patterns are disrupted and why.
The normal process of falling asleep begins with a sleep stage called non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep. During this stage, your brain waves, as recorded by electroencephalography (EEG), slow down considerably. Your eyes don’t move back and forth rapidly during NREM, in contrast to later stages of sleep. After an hour or two of NREM sleep, your brain activity picks up again, and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep begins. Most dreaming occurs during REM sleep.
You normally go through four to six sleep cycles a night, cycling between NREM and REM sleep in about 90 minutes. Your REM stage usually lengthens with each cycle as the night progresses. Sleep disorders can disturb this sleep process. Polysomnography monitors your sleep stages and cycles to identify if or when your sleep patterns are disrupted. Your doctor may recommend polysomnography if he or she suspects you have: -Sleep apnea or another sleep-related breathing disorder — your breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep. -Periodic limb movement disorder — you involuntarily flex and extend your legs while sleeping. This sleep disorder is sometimes associated with restless legs syndrome. -Narcolepsy — you experience overwhelming daytime drowsiness and sudden attacks of sleep. -REM sleep behavior disorder — you act out dreams as you sleep. -Unusual behaviors during sleep — you do unusual activities during sleep, such as walking, moving around a lot or rhythmic movements.
–Unexplained chronic insomnia — you consistently have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.
Nightmares are disturbing dreams associated with negative feelings, such as anxiety or fear. Nightmares are common. They may begin in childhood and tend to decrease after about age 10. However, some people have them as teens or adults, or throughout their lives.
Until age 13, boys and girls have nightmares in equal numbers. At age 13, nightmares become more prevalent in girls than boys. Nightmares seem real, often becoming more disturbing as the dream unfolds. But nightmares usually are nothing to worry about. They may become a problem if you have them frequently and they cause you to fear going to sleep or keep you from sleeping well. Nightmares are referred to by doctors as parasomnias — undesirable experiences that occur during sleep, usually during the stage of sleep known as rapid eye movement (REM). You’ve had a nightmare if: -Your dream wakes you -You feel scared, anxious, angry, sad or disgusted as a result of your dream -You can think clearly upon awakening, and can recall details of your dream -Your dream occurs near the end of your sleep time -Your dream keeps you from falling back to sleep easily
Children’s nightmare content varies with age, typically becoming more complex. While a young child might dream of monsters, an older child might have nightmares about school or difficulties at home.
Sleep apnea is a very serious of a condition and could be fatal. It’s not just about constantly feeling tired or snoring – both things people think they can just ignore and deal with. When you have sleep apnea, you stop breathing when you sleep. Depending on how severe your sleep apnea is, you could stop breathing hundreds of times a night. This disrupts your sleep cycle and prevents you from entering the deep stages of sleep where your body repairs itself. When your body can’t repair itself, your risk for other life-threatening conditions like stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and others is increased. It can also make you a drowsy driver, putting you at an increased risk for causing an accident and hurting yourself and others. Sudden cardiac death can also be a consequence of untreated sleep apnea. This could be because those with sleep apnea experience events called nocturnal ischemias, which happen at night while you sleep when your heart doesn’t get enough blood. These events tend to happen when the coronary arteries that supply blood to your heart become blocked or narrowed. Often the heart can get enough blood through these constricted arteries while you are sleeping, but it cannot cope under stressful events like the continued lack of oxygen you experience throughout the night when you suffer from sleep apnea. Treating sleep apnea could help reduce the risk for these life-threatening conditions, so talk to your doctor about any concerns you are having. Never dismiss feelings of constant fatigue as something you have to deal with by drinking an extra cup of coffee or your snoring as an annoyance your bed partner will learn to live with. Your body is trying to tell you something, so make an appointment to speak with your doctor.
It’s no secret that too little shut-eye can drain your brain, but scientists haven’t fully understood why.
Now, a new study suggests that a good night’s sleep leaves you feeling sharp and refreshed because a newly discovered system that scrubs away neural waste is mostly active when you’re at rest.
It’s a revelation that could not only transform scientists’ fundamental understanding of sleep, but also point to new ways to treat disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, which are linked to the accumulation of toxins in the brain. One of the waste products of the brain is the protein amyloid-beta, which accumulates and forms plaques in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis had previously shown that levels of amyloid-beta in mice brains dropped during sleep because of a decrease in production of the protein.
Your road to being able to sleep better could start with a simple half- to one cup of cottage cheese before you turn in for the night. Cottage cheese is a perfect source of protein before bed since it contains slow-digesting casein proteins that will distribute the amino acids to the muscle tissues for hours to come.
In addition to this, it’s really going to help improve your sleep as it contains the amino acid tryptophan, which will naturally induce sleep in the body and help you get a better night’s rest. Yes, the idea that turkey has enough tryptophan to knock you out is a little farfetched, but the amino acid does facilitate serotonin production and serotonin is the neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep. Pair your cottage cheese with a tablespoon of natural almond butter to keep the body satisfied for the overnight fast to come.
Every 90 minutes, a normal sleeper cycles between two major categories of sleep — although the length of time spent in one or the other changes as sleep progresses. During “quiet” sleep, a person progresses through four stages of increasingly deep sleep. Body temperature drops, muscles relax, and heart rate and breathing slow. The deepest stage of quiet sleep produces physiological changes that help boost immune system functioning. The other sleep category, REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, is the period when people dream. Body temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing increase to levels measured when people are awake. Studies report that REM sleep enhances learning and memory, and contributes to emotional health — in complex ways. Although scientists are still trying to tease apart all the mechanisms, they’ve discovered that sleep disruption — which affects levels of neurotransmitters and stress hormones, among other things — wreaks havoc in the brain, impairing thinking and emotional regulation. In this way, insomnia may amplify the effects of psychiatric disorders, and vice versa.
We need to view insomnia as a symptom and look at what else is going on. Many times patients will tell me things they’re doing that are clearly contributing to their poor sleep. Here are a few of the most common obstacles, and what we can do about them: Rushing Out the Door — Remember that saying we learned as kids? “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” Turns out there was a lot of wisdom there. Eating regular meals helps regulate our body’s daily hormonal rhythms. When we skip meals, we can disrupt this rhythm and cause a change in our sleep pattern. Skipping meals can be especially stressful on our sleep when it pushes us to eat close to bedtime, as eating late meals can also cause negative changes in our sleep. Stress at Night — By now we all know that stress can cause a surge in cortisol (the so-called “stress hormone”) and adrenaline. Some of the more common stress-causing things hear from patients are watching the news, discussing work or money troubles, and working on the computer. An evening meditation can help calm us down, and save the excitement for the morning. Inconsistent Sleeping Schedule — Having a work week is good for us in a lot of ways, but if we operate on a totally different schedule on the weekends we confuse our natural rhythms. Boozing — While a drink can bring on a relaxed feeling and maybe even make us a little sleepy, drinking can cause us to wake up later in the night. This effect is likely because breaking down alcohol makes it tough for our livers to balance our blood sugar.