Feeling Tired Often? Maybe Your Sleep Cycle Is Behind It26 Mar 2023
Feeling tired often and low on energy is not a rare syndrome. Fatigue could be due to lack of sleep, due to underlying medical conditions, or nutrient deficiency. Frequent tiredness can disturb the quality of life. It is imperative to understand the cause of the tiredness and resolve the issue.
Normally tweaking your lifestyle a bit and dietary supplements can restore your energy. If you are healthy and are yet low on energy and feel tired often, then a disturbance in your sleep cycle could be affecting your sleep quality. You can try changing your lifestyle to improve your sleep quality and also include melatonin supplements that will induce sleep till your circadian rhythm is restored.
What is the Sleep Cycle?
Sleep is very essential to recharge and energise you. You feel refreshed and active when you wake up if you have had restful sleep for a minimum of 7 to 8 hours. The sleep cycle is a natural process and it occurs in chronological order. There are different stages in a sleep cycle.
- You have the lightest sleep in the first stage. Your muscles will start relaxing and your heart rate and breathing will slow down.
- In the second stage, your body temperature comes down and your brain waves will slow down. You will be oblivious to your surroundings as well as your body movements.
- You will go into a deep sleep in the third stage. The brain waves will further slow down. Your muscles will be completely relaxed. Waking you up at this stage will involve a lot of effort.
- REM i.e., Rapid Eye Movement sleep is when you start dreaming. Your brain waves become active and your eyes will move rapidly at this stage.
You go through all these stages during your 7 to 8 hours of sleep. If you can get this kind of sleep day after day, you will be healthy, energetic, active, and focused. Good sleep is linked to the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. If the production declines you will not be able to fall asleep and tiredness sets in. Consuming melatonin supplements will be of great help. These are not addictive like sleeping pills. You can stop taking the supplements when your sleep cycle normalises.
How Does The Sleep Cycle Affect The Energy Levels
The restorative functions of sleep are linked to non-REM sleep. REM sleep is the stage of deep sleep that is required to keep us alert and refreshed. The sleep-wake cycle is regulated by multiple systems of your body. These systems work in tandem to ensure that you get a deep, restful sleep, and wake up energised.
REM and non-REM sleep are different but are equally important for energy. The sleep-wake cycle is regulated by multiple systems of your body. These systems work in tandem to ensure that you get deep, restful sleep, and wake up energised.
Importance of Non-REM sleep
The restorative functions of sleep are linked to non-REM sleep. Non-REM sleep involves three stages and the last stage is the deep sleep stage. This is the stage when the repair and recovery of the body happens. This stage enhances your body’s ability to produce ATP which is the body’s energy molecule. The brain waves will slow down at this stage. Restoration, repair, and growth of tissues happen in the deep sleep stage. The pituitary glands release hormones that stimulate muscle repair and tissue growth during the deep sleep stage. Studies have shown that deep sleep plays a key role in boosting your immune system and keeping infections and illnesses at bay.
If you do not get into the deep sleep stage you will feel sleep-deprived and wake up tired and the fatigue will exist the entire day. You can rely on sleep supplements until this issue is resolved. These supplements will provide melatonin, the sleep hormone when consumed 30 minutes before bedtime and you will sleep well and wake up refreshed and rejuvenated.
Importance of REM sleep
REM sleep is the stage of deep sleep that is required to keep us alert and refreshed. REM sleep is important for restoring your mind. REM sleep washes out unwanted information and thoughts from your mind. This is the stage when your brain consolidates memories and improves learning. Research has shown that people who had a good night’s sleep could learn a new task better than those who were sleep-deprived. The efficiency of the brain did not recede in people who were woken up several times from deep sleep. Getting REM sleep is important to preserve cognitive ability and memory as age advances.
How Sleep-deprivation Affects The Body
If you have had a sleepless night you will feel groggy and tired. Days of sleeplessness will affect both your physical and mental well-being. Feeling grumpy and groggy is just the beginning of sleep deprivation. The long-term effect can be serious medical conditions if the issue is left unattended. A restful 7 to 8 hours of sleep is a must for both mental and physical well-being. Chronic sleep deprivation can affect the internal systems of your body. Some of the long-term effects of disrupted sleep cycles are given below.
- Sleep is necessary for the proper functioning of your nervous system which is the information highway of your body. Sleep deprivation leaves your brain exhausted and brings down cognitive performance. Your focus and concentration will be affected. Sleep deprivation not only affects your mental abilities but also your emotional state. Frequent mood swings are a result of sleeplessness. It will also affect your decision-making and creativity.
- Lack of sleep can affect your immune system. During sleep, your immune system produces antibodies and cytokines that fight infections. Some cytokines induce sleep and boost your immune system. When this process is affected, the health of your immune system dwindles.
- Sleep deprivation is another reason for weight gain besides unhealthy eating and lack of physical activities. The levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin and leptin that creates a satiated feeling will be affected when you do not sleep well. The disruption of these hormones may lead to midnight snacking which is not healthy.
- The tiredness induced by sleep deprivation will affect your athletic performance. When 100% is not given in your training sessions, the result will be delayed. The weight loss and muscle gain process will slow down.
- Sleep deprivation builds up insulin resistance which can cause a spike in your blood sugar levels.
Tips To Improve Your Sleep Cycle
Improving your sleep cycle can significantly increase your energy levels. Here are some of the tips you can follow and get a good night’s sleep.
- Regulate your sleep schedule and follow it even on weekends.
- Engage in a relaxing bedtime routine to unwind before sleep
- Make your sleep environment comfortable and conducive
- Avoid heavy dinner, alcohol, and caffeine before bedtime
- Exercise regularly.
- Consult a physician for chronic sleep issues.
You can contemplate using sleep supplements to resolve the issue. If it continues for a long time then seeking help will be necessary.
Sleep is very important for both mental and physical well-being. If your sleep cycle is disrupted you feel tired often and your energy levels will dwindle. Analyse the reasons for the issue. Understand the stages of sleep and make some small changes to your sleep habits. This will improve your sleep and you can feel energetic, refreshed, and active each day.
What are the reasons for disrupted sleep cycles?
The sleep cycle is disrupted due to the following reasons.
- Irregular sleep schedule
- Caffeine or alcohol consumption before bedtime.
- Late and heavy dinner
- Stress and anxiety
- Jet lag
- Working late nights
How much sleep do we need?
It varies from person to person. But 7 to 8 hours of sleep is generally necessary for adults.
How to improve sleep quality?
Small changes like regulating sleep cycles, avoiding late-night dinners, improving your work schedule, engaging in relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation, and making the sleep environment comfortable and conducive are some ways of improving sleep quality.
Do daytime naps affect sleep quality?
Restricting your daytime naps to 15 to 30 minutes is healthy. It will prevent daytime sleepiness and improve your cognitive performance.
Can supplements improve sleep quality?Sleep supplements do help in improving sleep quality by providing melatonin, the sleep-inducing hormone. Once the sleep cycle is restored you can stop the supplements.
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