Sleep is an essential pillar of wellness, yet getting a proper night's rest on a regular basis is no easy feat. Whether we're battling a sleep disorder, physical illness, or anxious thoughts, plenty of factors can impact our ability to sleep well.
Learn more about what your dreams might be telling you, how to develop better sleep habits, and how your mind uses the downtime to work through unresolved or even unknown issues and feelings.
The amount of sleep we need can vary depending on our age. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists the amount of sleep we need, by age:
In order to fall asleep faster, you'll need to retrain your body and develop better sleep habits. Some of the habits to change include not reading and watching TV in bed, altering your behaviors in the hour leading up to sleep, and working on evening eating habits. Some skills you will develop include relaxation, not languishing in bed, and exposing yourself to more daylight.
It is possible to experience fragmentary dreams in non-REM sleep. This includes the lighter stages of sleep (called stage 1 and stage 2) and slow-wave sleep (called stage 3). It is believed that the dream content of non-REM is more simplistic. If REM-related dreams are a movie, non-REM dreams may be likened to a photograph.
A lucid dream occurs when a person is asleep but aware that they are dreaming. In this state, a person can take control of their dream’s narrative to some degree, essentially guiding and directing the course of their dream.
Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that affects millions of Americans. This often unrelenting condition can impact sleep in multiple ways, including causing difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep, waking up too early (and not being able to fall back asleep), and poor sleep quality.
Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep is one of the four stages that the brain goes through during the sleep cycle. This period of the sleep cycle usually takes place about 90 minutes after a person first falls asleep. It is marked by a number of physiological changes that include muscle relaxation, eye movement, faster respiration, and increased brain activity.
Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder that is characterized by chronic, excessive daytime sleepiness. It is a neurological condition that impacts the brain's ability to manage the sleep-wake cycle. People who have this condition usually have a difficult time staying awake for extended periods of time, no matter what time it is or what they are doing.
Sleep apnea is a common condition in which people stop breathing multiple times during the night due to upper airway obstruction. Because people briefly stop breathing, sometimes for 10 seconds or longer, their heart rate increases, blood oxygen levels drop, and sleep is briefly disrupted as the person wakes in order to breathe.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. How much sleep do I need?
Martin, J et al. Structural differences between REM and non-REM dream reports assessed by graph analysis. PLOS One. 2020 July. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0228903
Cleveland Clinic. Sleep basics.
By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.