We spend a third of our life snoozing! And rightfully so -- our bodies need this downtime to continue working and regenerating our memory, metabolism, immunity, and cellular growth and repair. This is why it is important to monitor and make the most of our sleep cycles.
Understanding sleep cycles
Sleep is punctuated by three to four cycles lasting 90 to 110 minutes per night. Normally, each sleeper experiences four to six sleep cycles lasting an hour and a half each. In turn, each cycle is divided into four stages of non-REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movements) and a phase of “REM” sleep. In the sleeper, each cycle has three phases: drowsiness (or light sleep), deep sleep and REM sleep.
The rate of sleep varies throughout the same night, but also over the course of a lifetime: deeper sleep during childhood and periods of growth, and it becomes lighter when we get older.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7 to 8 hours of sleep for adults. But the ideal length of sleep varies from person to person. "Heavy sleepers" need 9 hours of sleep, while "light sleepers" need 6 hours of rest. Ultimately, the right amount of sleep for us is the one that allows us to function well the next day!
Sleep changes during pregnancy
During pregnancy, sleep disturbances are common. They vary and become more pronounced according to each trimester of pregnancy:
- Between the first and second trimester, the REM phase of sleep decreases.
- Between the second and third trimesters, there is an increase in the time to fall asleep and wake up at night.
Why is sleep linked to weight gain?
During sleep, we secrete leptin, the hormone that indicates satiation, or the feeling of being full while eating. Conversely, during the waking phases, we secrete ghrelin, the hormone that gives us the feeling of hunger. Disturbed sleep, therefore, can lead to a tenfold increase in appetite.
Worse, when we lack sleep, we turn to foods that provide comfort or give quick bursts of energy (fatty and sugary foods) to counter fatigue!
As well, when we’re tired, we are also encouraged to be less active. Lack of activity can lead to weight gain, and being overweight can trigger sleep apnea, disrupting sleep. A vicious circle sets in ...
Quality of sleep is essential for post-workout recovery
Restful sleep really helps you recover after a workout. During the phases of falling asleep and very deep sleep, the muscles are put to rest and the body regenerates itself. When you suffer from lack of sleep or sleep disorders, the body remains sluggish and can’t regenerate for longer activities and workouts.
How many calories do you burn while sleeping?
The number of calories your body naturally burns at rest is called your basal metabolic rate (BMR). While studies have indicated that the average person burns about 50 calories per hour while asleep, you can increase this number by increasing your BMR.
Regular exercise is one way to improve your BMR, and changes can be measured and tracked with the FitTrack Dara Smart Scale plus free FitTrack Health app. Imagine burning more calories while getting a great night of sleep -- a win-win!
Stress, the enemy of a good night’s sleep
We know that anxiety and sleep do not mix. In the long term, this can have repercussions on health. This can manifest itself every night, as trouble falling asleep, restless sleep, and/or waking up at night, often, with difficulty falling asleep again.
Sleep is crucial for many biological functions of our bodies; thus, it is important to monitor it regularly and make lifestyle changes to promote better sleep. One of the most-used features of the FitTrack Atria 2.0 smartwatch is a sleep tracker with daily Sleep Score.
Atria connected watch tells you all about your sleep
Atria 2.0 smartwatch uses sensitive movement and heart sensors to detect when the user lies down in bed, then begins to analyze his or her sleep state. The Atria 2.0 accurately records your physiological data 24/7 and studies sleep cycles, including the number of hours for deep or light cycles. You can set your goals and monitor improvements in sleep quality, thanks to the free FitTrack Health app.
A deeper understanding of sleep cycles and the quality of your sleep leads to better bedtime habits, more restful nights, and added energy during the day.
8 statistics on sleep in the U.S.:
- 50-70 million U.S. adults have a sleep disorder of some kind.
- A newborn baby needs almost twice as much sleep as an older adult -- 14-17 hours versus 7-8 hours.
- The average American goes to bed at 10:55 p.m. and wakes up at 6:38 a.m. on workdays.
- About 60% of Americans say they fall asleep with the TV on, despite proof that electronics can disrupt sleep cycles.
- 3–5% of the overall proportion of obesity in US adults could be attributable to short sleep.
- More than ⅓ of Americans have reported unintentionally falling asleep during the day at least once in the month prior.
- 25 million U.S. adults have sleep apnea, which is often caused by being overweight.
- There are more than 2,500 accredited sleep centers in the U.S. to help you diagnose and treat sleep disorders.