A normal adult requires 6-8 hours of sleep every day for proper working of the body. A good night’s sleep is indispensable for one’s health and well-being and it achieves may important functions including
- Rest and rejuvenation of the entire body
- Crucial brain activity changes which enable development of cognitive and behaviour function,
- Complete relaxation of muscles and elimination of fatigue
Some people do not feel rested even after sleeping for adequate number of hours. In such cases, one may experience various symptoms like
- Daytime Sleepiness
- Excessive Tiredness
- Muscle Soreness
- Morning Headaches
This can be caused by not getting the right quality of sleep, which includes going through 4 stages of sleep. Typically, during a restful night’s sleep one goes through 4 stages which are known as N1, N2, N3 and REM stages of sleep. A normal and healthy overnight sleep constitutes of 3-4 full cycles of sleep with these alternating stages. The overall distribution of sleep across the 4 stages is 5% of N1, 40% of N2, 30% of N3 and 25% of REM.
N1 is the transient stage of sleep which is followed after awake while N2 is light sleep and not very refreshing. The REM stage is called so because it is characterized by Rapid Eye Movements. In this stage the brain is active and it is an important stage of sleep for memory, concentration and mood. Finally, N3 stage of sleep is that of a deep sleep which provides relaxation to muscles.
Repeatedly experiencing symptoms of fatigue and poor sleep for a long period of time can be associated with not having the right sleep architecture, or sleep cycle. It can be indicative of an underlying sleep disorder. Common sleep disorders found to be prevalent in today’s population include Narcolepsy, Insomnia and Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
Through a detailed overnight sleep study, one can assess the overall sleep quality and identify the underlying cause of their poor sleep. An overnight sleep study constitutes of a diagnostic test know as PSG or Polysomnography. During this test, we monitor the physiological changes in the body and different stages of sleep that one goes through. This is done using various channels including EEG which assist in determining sleep architecture of the person. During the diagnostic test, if the percentage of REM and N3 stage of sleep is found to be less in a person, then it can directly explain the above symptoms. The test also includes measurement of EEG arousals, or the times throughout the night where the brain is active. Person may experience multiple awakenings or arousals throughout the night without consciously experiencing or realising it. This indicates that the brain hasn’t got proper rest and is tired. Continued EEG arousals and lack of REM and N3 sleep ultimately cause fatigue and other symptoms. The brain is drowsy and the body is not fresh as one is in continuous sleep debt. Therefore, it is only through a detailed PSG that we can determine root cause of the problem and reason for symptoms. Once the causes are identified, the next step is to provide consultation and treatment options to help you get back to being fresh and well rested. At Morpheus Healthcare, our endeavour is to help you sleep better!