Why Is Sleep Important And What Are The Hazards of “Dream Deprivation”?

We have all heard about the importance of getting enough sleep. But many don’t pay attention. Probably the results of not getting enough have not been driven home. Perhaps the benefts were not well explained. We have here a summary of an expert’s intensive research – it should make a difference.

Dr. Rubin Naiman, author of Hush: A Book of Bedtime Contemplations, is a clinical psychologist and assistant professor of medicine at the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine directed by Dr. Andrew Weil. As a sleep and dream expert, his focus is how sleeping and dreaming affects your health.

Early on in his career as a psychologist, Dr. Naiman recognized that it was difficult for people to move forward or to address and heal emotional issues if they were tired or sleepy. He also had an innate fascination with the world of dreams.

Eventually, he shifted his career focus entirely into sleep and dreams, and how it ties into your mental and physical—even spiritual—health.

In basic terms, there are four stages of sleep but the two that are highly restorative are:

  1. Deep sleep, which you can think of as “true sleep”
  2. Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which is dream sleep

Because most of your REM or dream sleep occurs in the latter third of the night, sleep loss at that time results in what Dr. Naiman refers to as “dream deprivation.” Another factor that contributes to dream deprivation is the routine use of an alarm clock. When it goes off, it will oftentimes wake you out of the tail end of a dream.

According to Dr. Naiman, one of the best ways of understanding those two types of sleep is to think of them as different kinds of nourishment. “Sleep and dreams are a bit like water and food to the psyche, to the soul, to the mind,” he says. For optimal health, you need both.

Data suggests that the average American sleeps a little under seven hours a night, which actually isn’t enough. Dr. Naiman claims.

The ideal amount of sleep varies from person to person, and even season to season. Health conditions, pregnancy, and other factors can also influence your need for more sleep.

Dr. Naiman recommends looking at the quality of your waking day to determine whether you’re getting enough sleep. If your energy is steady and rhythmic through the day, you’re probably getting good-quantity and good-quality sleep. 

To optimize your sleeping and dreaming, one of the most important issues is to make sure you’re going to bed early enough, because if you have to get up at 6:30am, you’re just not going to get enough sleep if you go to bed after midnight.

If you’re exposed to light at night, even an hour or two before bed, you will suppress your melatonin production. This can have long-term health ramifications that go far beyond insomnia, as besides making you sleepy, melatonin also has potent anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer benefits. When you’re exposed to the blue wavelength of light, your brain receives the signal that it’s daytime, and it responds by suppressing melatonin. Television screens, computer screens, iPad screens, or smartphone screens—all of these emit blue light.

Oftentimes, insomniacs will have cortisol dysrhythmia, where their cortisol levels become elevated at night instead of in the morning. Basically, insomnia can be a side effect of being too hyped up; too frenetic, and not allowing yourself to simmer down and relax.

Many sleep experts tend to recommend against napping, on the basis that it may interfere with your ability to sleep well during the night. Dr. Naiman, however, disagrees.

Read the entire report by clicking here – read more about the following:

Why Dreaming Matters

How to Improve Your Sleep Hygiene

The Importance of Melatonin

Learning to Slow Down and Rest Is Crucial for Optimal Sleep

Addressing Sleep Apnea

Does Daytime Napping Help or Hinder Good Sleep?

More Information

Dr. Naiman’s new book, Hush: A Book of Bedtime Contemplations, written to be read before bedtime,encourages you to get back in touch with your own inner wisdom about sleep. It’s based on an integration of sleep science, sleep spirituality, and sleep psychology, and includes what Dr. Naiman calls 100 Spiritual Prescriptions for Sleep.

“I think of these as bedtime snacks for the soul,” he says. “You read one or two at night. It doesn’t really provoke a lot of contemplation; it’s meant to invoke sleep to get people to transition from sort of normal patterns of thinking into a way of using thinking to let go of thinking, and of course, to allow the default of sleep to come to the surface.”

article source: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/06/27/636264.aspx

photo credit: Google Images

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