Sleep consumes about a third of humans’ lives, or at least it should in order to maintain a healthy immune system. The brain uses a lot of energy in the “resting” state. New evidence shows that it is busy with necessary coordinated activity as revealed by electrocorticography studies using functional magnetic resonance image (fMRI).
Stanford neurologist Dr. Josef Parvizi and a research team monitored brain cell activity in three subjects awaiting surgery for epilepsy. For several days they had intracranial electrodes in their brains to pinpoint the seizures source. The object of the study was to determine whether brain activity during rest or daydreaming is like that when the person is alert. The results were published in Neuron in April 2015.
First the wide awake volunteers were asked yes or no questions where the brain must retrieve visualized memories such as: Did you drive to work last week? Activity was seen in two brain regions, the medial and lateral parietal cortex, known for episodic memory visualization with the two areas working together. Episodic memories are memories of episodes in one’s life.
Then the volunteers rested and slept while signals continued to be monitored on the two brain regions. The same nerve cells that worked together retrieving memories while awake continued to coordinate while asleep. The conclusion was that the brain in a resting state is not really resting like the rest of the body does. In summary, “Parietal connectivity patterns are similar for task, rest, and sleep states.”
Studies at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Miami Beach, Florida, and Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida, in 2015 determined the five sleep stages and their relative importance using brain wave analysis. The stages cycle over one to two hours with the first two being light sleep stages. The third and fourth are vital for recharging the immune system through deeper delta waves as in unconsciousness. The fifth REM stage consists of dreaming, relieving stress and anxiety, and handling unwanted emotions.
Natural News published tips to get the most benefit from the five sleep stages:
- Drink two glasses of tart cherry juice each day to delay tryptophan degradation, a known insomnia predictor and inflammation cause.
- Sleep in a room made as dark as possible to increase production of melatonin, the sleep hormone the pineal gland produces. Lights from other rooms, clock radios and other electronic equipment impede melatonin production. Use blackout curtains to block outdoor light. A sleep mask can help but even minimal light waves can be absorbed by skin.
- Block noise by wearing ear plugs or playing white noise sounds like recordings of the ocean, rain or birds to cover barking dogs, passing traffic, or noisy neighbors.
- Locate several mother-in-law’s tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata) plants in the bedroom where they will add oxygen to the night air and purify the room of off-gassed chemicals.
- At least one or two hours before going to bed, stop using electronic display screens on computer monitors, iPads, Kindles, and smart phones. The blue light which they emit affects users’ sleep.
Harvard-educated Dr. Andrew Weill teaches the 4-7-8 breathing technique to help people fall asleep by allowing oxygen to fill the lungs. Inhale through the nose, mouth closed, while counting to four mentally. Hold the breath while counting to seven. Exhale through the mouth in one large breath while counting to eight. Repeat three more times. This relaxes the parasympathetic nervous system, releases anxiety, and distracts the mind from sleep disrupting thought. Watch the video on the website link to learn how do it correctly. Weill suggests practicing the technique twice a day for six to eight weeks until able to fall asleep within one minute.
The video talks about ways to stop a racing mind to fall asleep more easily. Try the tips listed here first and only see a physician about taking prescription anxiety drugs as a very last resort. These drugs are ending up in the earth’s water supply which is not a green way of living. Research has shown alarming effects on human cells and wildlife which have become a growing concern of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency according to Benjamin H. Grumbles, assistant administrator for water.