First a medical shocker;
• Do you know that people die more quickly from lack of sleep than they do from lack of food?
• Do you also know that a person kept awake for long periods, becomes increasingly disorientated, and both mentally and physically exhausted?
• Do you know that after 10 days of total sleep deprivation, death usually occurs?
Last week Dr David Onuoha a Consultant Pulmonologist , was interviewed in NTA by Dr Ajibade. He made profound medical statement of fact. He said and I quote “nobody knows when he or she sleeps”.
Yes, you may feel drowsy, sleepy or reverie, but you do not know when you eventually drift off to sleep. This is a desidaratum. You cannot determine when you sleep off.
Sleeping is like sneezing. Nobody can sneeze with his eyes open. Same with sleep, you cannot watch yourself sleep, or know when you doze off.
Researchers have bent over backwards, to ascertain whether one could vividly recollect drifting off to sleep: but has always hit a brick wall.
Another shocker; do you know that science is yet to discover what causes sleep. We could attempt to explain sleep, discuss types and stages of sleep, but we are yet to prove what causes sleep.
We are researching very seriously, we would soon hit a gold mine. The other day, a woman while discussing in TED video, was agonising on the pains of unrequited love. She was abandoned by her heartthrob husband, whom she still loved. So she did MRI of the brain tissue, in an attempt to discover which part was responsible for love. The control was the picture of a man who meant nothing to her. The limbic system which is linked to amygdala was implicated. The problem was she did not know how to remove the love from her brain.
Same with sleep, since we already know the part of the brain responsible for sleep, we shall soon discover what causes sleep. Are you with me?
Please ponder these medical points of sleep.
• Every person has a natural rhythm of waking and sleeping, that is based on his daily rhythm cycle.
• About one-third of a person’s life is spent in this state.
• However, a sleeper is still aware of aspects of his surroundings, such as noises, and some parts of the brain and body are less affected than others.
• It is not known what mechanism triggers off sleep.
• Different theories suggest that sleep is due to;
i. A reduction in the amount of oxygen reaching the brain.
ii. A reduction in the number of impulses reaching the conscious centres.
iii. A chemical process in the brain.
iv. The repeated promptings of a conditioned response.
v. It is also known that there are certain cell groups through out the brain which bring about sleep when stimulated, and others that cause a sleeper to wake.
What are the stages of sleep?
Sleep falls into 2 stages.
1. Orthodox sleep.
• This is characterised by a fall in the heart rate, the blood pressure and the metabolic rate.
• Breathing is regular but slow.
• In light orthodox sleep, movement may occur, up to 40 changes of position at night.
• But in deep orthodox sleep both muscles and brain are at their most relaxed and there is no movement. The electrical activity of the brain becomes markedly different from the waking state.
• It is during the deep stage that there is a rise in the output of the growth hormone, the protein production is stepped up. The body repairs itself, and dead cells are replaced.
2. Paradoxical sleep (REM) .
• It is the stage in which dreams occur.
• Breathing and heartbeat become irregular, and there is Rapid Eye Movement ( REM), behind the closed eyelids.
• The electrical activity of the brain resembles that of the waking state. Although movement may occur, the muscles are often as relaxed as in orthodox sleep, and the sleep is just as difficult as the waking state.
The pattern of sleep.
• The sleeper begins with a light orthodox sleep, until after about 20 minutes, he enters into deep orthodox sleep.
• This first period of deep sleep is the longest of the night, lasting about an hour. The sleeper then moves through light sleep to the first period of paradoxical sleep, about one and half hours after sleep.
• During a typical night sleep of 7 to 8 hours, this cycle occurs about 5 times. However as the night progresses, the periods of deep sleep become shorter, until after about 3 hours the stage is not reached at all.
Next week on popular demand, I shall discuss sleep disorders. Always be medically guided.
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