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Sleep patterns

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Sleep patterns

Postby Kay » Thu 1 Mar 2012 18:26 GMT

There's an interesting article on the BBC site today about sleep patterns.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17193783

Not everyone benefits from the traditional eight hour sleep. It's probably best if you have a day job, but I certainly like the freedom of sleeping when I feel sleepy and staying up when I don't regardless of what the time on the clock says.

How about you? Do you have a set routine or do you just do your own thing?
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Postby Graeme » Thu 1 Mar 2012 20:25 GMT

I do sleep tests on clients for potential sleep apnoea (stopping breathing while sleeping) it's amazing that these people can cope as their oxygen levels plummet,. They do show odd patterns in sleep in that most of them sleep for long periods, but wake un-refreshed. Some sleep in small bursts and wake due to the feeling of being unwell, probably related to the lowered oxygen levels. Some of it is positional and they sleep better in a recliner or with the head of the bed propped up. I had never realised how many ways there are of sleeping, or how people adapt to get the best sleep for them, I'd just thought they go to bed and go to sleep.
I think it's probably best to work out what works for you and stick with that, of course that means travelling can be an issue. So, like Douglas Adams in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe, I'd suggest instead of taking a towel, take your own pillow!
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Postby ruggie » Mon 5 Mar 2012 11:09 GMT

You usually hear that people need less sleep as they get older. I find I'm reverting to the 8-1/2 to 9-1/2 hours I used to take in my teens, but I tend to wake at the end of each 90-100 minute cycle. In the cold winter weather, I nip down and put more logs on the wood-burning stove before going back to sleep. The other thing that is odd is that, instead of sleeping more deeply during the early cycles, I now tend to go completely blotto for the last 3 or 4 hours.

Singlehanded ocean sailors sleep in half-hour bursts, nipping up on deck for a few minutes to check that all is well before crashing out again. I can do this if I need to.
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Postby SteveGill » Sat 24 Mar 2012 15:22 GMT

Interesting reading this (I normally don't get let out much from the Malta country forum :lol: ) because earlier this week I found an article about a sleep cycle app, which works on your iphone. I've been using it for about 4 nights so far, and its actually only woken me once (every other time I've naturally woken before it) but the graphs it produces are fascinating.

Early days to see if it works, but if you're interested in this kind of thing and have an iphone, for the price its worth trying.
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Postby Dave » Sat 24 Mar 2012 15:50 GMT

Looks like a clever use of existing technology - if it works (as you say).

Pity it's only for iPhones, otherwise I'd be curious to give it a try, if only to see what the graphs look like! On the other hand, I generally wake up before my alarm anyway - for fear of what might happen if Kay hears it. She doesn't take too kindly to alarms, phones and other interruptions she hasn't scheduled herself. :twisted:
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Postby Graeme » Sat 24 Mar 2012 16:02 GMT

Sounds nice to wake you up during a light stage of sleep (Alpha stage with light REM probably) but will it change your sleep apnoea or positional apnoea...probably not. The most important stage of sleep is the delta wave sleep sometimes called stage 4 sleep it's the deepest and most restful and possibly the most important. Studies performed on students waking them during stage 4 sleep produced the symptoms of fibromyalgia within a week, the symptoms resolved when normal sleep patterns were resumed. The diagnosis for fibromyalgia was for years based mainly on sleep studies, now it is on self reported aches and pains. I wonder if there's an app to get you into stage 4 sleep?
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Postby SteveGill » Sat 24 Mar 2012 16:15 GMT

Graeme wrote:I wonder if there's an app to get you into stage 4 sleep?

Not sure about an app, but I know another way that gets me into stage 4 sleep :drink: :lol:
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Postby Dave » Sat 24 Mar 2012 16:27 GMT

Funny you should mention that, Steve. Although I've had plenty of nights of oblivion followed by a sore head the morning after, I've also discovered recently that a tot of J├Ągermeister just before turning out the lights seems to do me very well. ;-)
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Postby SteveGill » Sat 24 Mar 2012 16:43 GMT

Dave wrote:Funny you should mention that, Steve. Although I've had plenty of nights of oblivion followed by a sore head the morning after, I've also discovered recently that a tot of J├Ągermeister just before turning out the lights seems to do me very well. ;-)

Purely in the interests of scientific research, I might have to try that as well - thanks for the top tip :mrgreen:
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Postby Kay » Sat 24 Mar 2012 16:53 GMT

Hi Steve, glad you made it out of the Malta forum to join in with the rest of us. 8-)

Sleep patterns are amazing, as are dreams. I guess it's hard to do rigorous scientific research about it if the brain isn't fully conscious of what's going on in there at the time.

It sounds like a good idea to try the Jagermeister, though. :drink: (It tastes like cough medicine to me.)
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Postby Dave » Sat 24 Mar 2012 17:02 GMT

Me too. I used to love Owbridge's as a kid - the one good thing about having a cough.
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Postby Kay » Sat 24 Mar 2012 17:04 GMT

I've been enjoying the banter on this thread, but also Graeme has been saying a lot of really interesting things.

I'd like to know what people's sleeping patterns would be if they were truly free to sleep when they want to. I do that to some extent but I'm still ruled by external factors. Not as bad as having a 9-5 job, but just some obligations here and there.

Also, I'm very nocturnal. I've even got a T-shirt saying I'm god in bed. It used to say "I'm good in bed - I can sleep all day". Unfortunately a moth ate some bits of it.
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Postby SteveGill » Sat 24 Mar 2012 17:56 GMT

I agree Kay. Its not just as simple as being groggy when waking up or feeling fresh. When I moved to Malta, I was awake at 6am fresh as a daisy, and felt I could attack the day. More recently I've been struggling to get up for 8, very groggy regardless of the amount of sleep I've had.

Not sure if its heat, cold, humidity, uncomfortable bed, amount of caffeine drunk during the day, diet - or all of the above.

I know the above isn't sleep patterns per say, but I'm intrigued about external influences on sleep patterns, more than just what time you go to bed. I'll be looking into it, I'm a big believer in good sleep being a massive contributor to a productive day.

One things for sure though - regardless of the amount of wine I'm working my way through right now, I'll be awake for the Malaysian Grand Prix tomorrow morning :P
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Postby Graeme » Sun 25 Mar 2012 02:17 GMT

Good restful sleep is very important, there is an optimal amount of REM sleep and non-REM. We are governed by a circadian rhythm which cycles at about 24 hours a day (fortunately for us) although some studies show that it is closer to 24 1/2 hours a day(Siffre). The best bets for good sleep are to follow a routine (boring but useful) and eventually your body becomes programmed to behave itself. It gets disrupted by alcohol (occasionally for the better it sounds Dave :wink: ) and by changes to the routine, ie the late night at the computer (Kay) :compucoffee: by stress and other external influences. There does appear to be a chemical in the brain which stimulates sleep and small doses of melatonin are often used to help with jet lag, others suggest the relationship between sun rise and sight is useful (look at the sun rise and let the early morning light hit your retina for a short period of time and it stimulates your body to accept a different circadian rhythm) it did seem to work on my last trip to Fiji when I tried it. There are actually tracts of nerves called the retino-hypothalamic tract which connects the retina to the hypothalamus where the pineal gland is. This is the gland in the brain that secretes melatonin, so perhaps there is a logical explanation for looking at the sun to stimulate waking and thus sleeping. It's a complicated little set up and easily disrupted, apparently some of the more fortunate among us can reorganise this with the use of Jagermeister. :lol:
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Postby ruggie » Mon 26 Mar 2012 14:45 GMT

Things have changed now that decrepitude is creeping in. Above a certain quite low level of alcohol, dehydration overrides other effects and wakes me up. My local doctor once prescribed me a cough mixture called vegetoserum which knocked me out beautifully. After checking the label, I wasn't surprised - main ingredients were alcohol and morphine.
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