Our busy lives lead us to deprive ourselves of sleep. Most often, we equate taking our dose of zzzs as a sign of unproductivity. In fact, Joey Levin, the CEO of InterActive Corp, ranked it relatively low in his priorities because he believes it is something that can be done later and can be pushed back behind activities which he deemed more important than it.
And Levin is not alone as over 35 percent of the adult population in the United States reported getting less than the advised seven hours of sleep a day.
The Stages of Sleep
Drifting into a peaceful slumber takes our body into five different stages with each stage happening every 90 to 110 minutes.
Stage 1 – Introduction:
The introduction stage takes seven minutes. It occurs when our eyelids begin to feel heavy, and our head starts to drop. During this stage, our brain produces alpha and theta waves — the former acting as the link between the conscious and subconscious thinking, while the latter being connected to our raw and deep emotions.
Stage 2 – Beginning:
In this stage, the brain and muscle activity slow down. As it only the beginning stage, you become alert quickly when awakened on this stage. Besides, people who wake up during this time can still engage in conversation easily.
Stage 3 & 4 – Slow Wave:
These stages mark the start of deep sleep. During the third and fourth stages, the brain will start to produce delta waves. These waves are the slowest recorded brain waves in human, which then lessen as we age. The body will then become less receptive to outside stimuli. It is also in this stage where the body works to restore muscles and tissues. The slow wave stage also invigorates growth and development. Also, it enhances immune function and builds up energy.
Stage 5 – Rapid Eye Movement:
Rapid Eye Movement is the final stage of sleep. You enter this phase about 90 minutes after initially falling asleep. Each REM stage can continue for nearly an hour. An average adult can undergo five to six REM cycles per night. In this phase, the brain becomes livelier and enters into dreamland. As its name suggests, the stage leads to rapid eye movements in different directions. Moreover, heart rate and blood pressure also increase. Breathing also becomes fast, irregular, and shallow.
Why Getting Your Zzzs is Important
By getting our fill of slumber, we defend our mental and physical health, as well as, maintain our quality of life and safety.
Our sleep dictates our state when we are awake with a good night sleep helping in the healthy function of the brain and in our emotional well-being. As such, it allows us to think, work, socialize, learn, react, and engage in productive activities better.
When we slip into dreamland, our body recuperates. It repairs the heart and blood vessels and decreases the risk of obesity. Additionally, it maintains the proper balance of our hormones and our body’s reaction to insulin. Also, sleep supports growth and development and keeps the immune system healthy.
Sleeping and Oral Health
Aside from the apparent benefits of sleeping, it also helps us attain our most beautiful smiles. By sleeping the right number of hours, we ward off gum disease and minimize the likelihood of bad breath, dry mouth, and canker sores.
According to studies, following smoking, sleep is the next most influential factor in terms of increased risk of periodontal disease, an infection affecting the tissues and bones surrounding the teeth. When untreated, it can lead to inflammation and bleeding of the gums. Moreover, it can cause tooth loss and damages to the bones and tissues.
By depriving ourselves of proper sleep, we weaken our immune system, allowing oral bacteria to invade our oral cavity at a pace our immune system can’t keep up. When this happens, bacteria build up and result in plaque and canker sores.
Other than brushing and flossing, accompany your oral care with a peaceful slumber for a healthier body, including your teeth, and better well-being.