What happens to our brains while we sleep? Experts in sleep science say that there are many theories. There are many theories regarding brain activity. A good night of sleep will ensure that you perform better throughout the day.
Mark Schadenberg, a coach in sleep and anxiety, says there are many phases to your sleep cycle. “In the first phase, your brain activity decreases. This phase lasts approximately five to twenty minutes. Light sleep follows, where your brain can still sense sound. This phase is when you feel like you haven’t slept in a while. Sleep phase three, deep sleep, is when your body becomes calm and your brain starts to function again.
Annemarie Luik from Erasmus MC is a sleep researcher. It can be done by placing electrodes on the scalp. You can see a wave pattern. However, these waves change throughout the night. They are slow, high-speed waves in deep sleep. In Rapid Eye Movement (REM) you can see small, fast waves that look more like waves when we’re awake.
Storing your information in the right drawers
There are various theories about the reason for the brain activity in our sleep, says Liège. Its primary function is to flush out brain waste products. “But, we also process the day that we sleep, as an example. In our sleep, a portion of memory storage occurs. Memory is organized because the brain processes all of the data that we receive during the day and then stores the information in the appropriate drawers.
“A lot of unimportant information will be forgotten. This is necessary because otherwise you will fill up and you will not be able to remember anything.”
Mark Schadenberg, sleep and anxiety coach
In this way, all knowledge that you do not need is also filtered out, says Schadenberg. “Most of the unimportant information will be forgotten.” This is necessary because otherwise you will be full during the day and you will not be able to remember anything.” Emotional recovery also takes place in your REM sleep. All complex connections checked and repaired, actually a kind of APK of the brain. “This recovery gives you an overview and so you can remember things better. And because of this we can sometimes suddenly make connections during the day.”
Go to the doctor
A good night’s sleep ensures that we can think and perform better during the day. But do our brains never get tired of all that activity during the day and at night? Compare it with other organs in our body, says Liège, they don’t need to rest either. “Fortunately, our heart also continues to work, the same goes for the brain. They never have to stop to rest, that’s how they are made.”
Even if you don’t sleep well at night, you can often function quite well during the day. Liège: “One bad night doesn’t directly affect our health, and now and then a few don’t either. But if poor sleep starts to affect your life, then it becomes a problem. Then please go to the doctor. People find sleep unfortunately often not important enough to go to a doctor quickly. But it is a shame to keep walking around with it. Psychological help often helps you on your way.”
It’s also about the quality of sleep
It’s pretty easy to find out if you’re getting enough sleep. Do you not wake up rested or only because of the alarm and everything is more difficult during the day? Then there is a good chance that you slept too little. Luik: “But you also see in people who do not sleep well for a long time that they can become less good at assessing their sleep and functioning. Just like people who have been drinking overestimate themselves on the road.”
“If you slept well and the quality of your sleep was good, you will wake up fit and rested in the morning.”
Mark Schadenberg, coach for anxiety and sleep
Schadenberg also believes your body can answer the question for you. You will feel rested and refreshed if you have a good night’s sleep and a good quality one. You will feel tired and drained if you don’t get enough sleep or not enough. It is likely that your mood is not too good, and you feel like you are struggling to get through the day.
Both Liège and Schadenberg say: it’s not just about the length of your night’s sleep, but also about its quality. Schadenberg: “I have seen many people in my coaching business who get the hours but do not recover well due to poor sleep quality.” Luik: “If you are able to sleep for eight hours but wake up every five or so minutes, then you have slept well but for a long time.”
Trouble sleeping? These are the top four ways to get better sleep.
Good basic conditions
Your sleep can be affected by many things. Luik says: “But there’s a few simple preconditions which will help you sleep better. Turn off the lights in your bedroom. It will be hard to do this now, as it is difficult to open the windows in the heat. Earplugs are a good option. Temperature is also important. Schadenberg agrees. “Ensure that the temperature in your room is between 15-18 degrees.” Also, take a look at the bed. Is your bed comfortable? Can you lose heat easily?
Stress can be reduced during the day
Schadenberg claims that sleep is better at night when there are fewer stimuli during the day. “Our brains have become overloaded with information. Our brains receive more stimuli per year than ever before the Middle Ages. You should make more time for yourself and do the things that you love. Worrying and stress lurk. And if you start to feel worse, you sleep less well, says Liège. “That reinforces each other. If you sleep less well you will feel mentally worse.”
“Your body loves regularity. If you create a sleep routine, your body knows what’s coming.”
Annemarie Luik, sleep researcher
Create a sleep routine
Reducing stress is also possible by creating a rhythm. Regularity is what your body craves. Luik states that your body loves regularity and will respond to a schedule. You should go to bed at a specific time and get up at the same hour each morning. Also, you should eat at certain times. This will ensure that your biological clock is not disrupted. Schadenberg tips: Start your evening routine at least an hour before going to sleep. Schadenberg says that the 20/20/20 method is the best. The first block represents 20 minutes of preparation for the next day. block personal care, and the last block relaxation. You must ensure that your phone, TV, or iPad are not within reach.
Do not place too much emphasis on sleeping
Are you having trouble sleeping? It is important to not focus too much on this. Repetition of “I need sleep now” when you can see the time ticking by is counterproductive. Luik also suggests that you stop staring at your alarm clock. It’s better to change it. The stress of not being able or having to sleep should not be associated to your bed. It should be a comfortable place. You should get up and leave it when you are worried. It is possible to make a list of the things you worry about tomorrow. However, you usually have nothing to do at night.