Do you dream? Good question, especially if you are wondering about the quality and quantity of your sleep. A “yes” answer is what we’re looking for.
Remember the four stages of sleep I discussed before? If you dream, that could be an indication that your body and brain are successfully reaching at least Stage Two. Stage One is important, but it’s not deeply restorative as are the later stages. If you never dream, listen to the message your body is sending you. This is a clear—if you’ll excuse the pun—wake-up call that you should not ignore.
A person who doesn’t sleep well enough or long enough doesn’t get the full physiological benefit of all four sleep stages. But also remember that your brain and body are not fully rested after all four stages have run their course just once. The complete sleep pattern continues cycling throughout the night, each time lasting about 90 minutes. Do the math: In an ideal 8-hour night, you’re likely to go through the whole rotation, including at least one dreaming period, about five times.
If you only allow yourself broken or short sleep, your brain will shorten or even skip steps of the normal sleep cycle in an attempt to squeeze its repair work into a smaller time period. As anyone who has suddenly faced a shortened deadline knows, this is ineffective and rarely gives good results.
Still not convinced that a good night’s sleep is important? Consider this. If your body is forced to skip the dream stage, you lose more than just one night’s sleep. You also lose the potential emotional or creative value of whatever your active overnight brain might have “dreamed up” during REM. Ever dream up a story or situation so outlandish and vivid that you woke up laughing? a crystal-clear understanding of a process you couldn’t make sense of the day before? an unconventional way of solving a problem? What a great feeling to start the day with a smile, brilliant solution, or creative burst that your brain provided while you did nothing more taxing than rest!
It’s action time. Put those 3Rs for fixing your sleep troubles to work. Then give me a call at 212-686-0939. I can give you a hand by providing information, acupuncture, nutrition counseling—whatever you need to find your personal Winkum, Blinkum, and Nod.