NREM/ REM Sleep – Yoga by Akasha
The Magic of waking up in the morning refreshed, pain free and solid is perhaps one of the most underrated gifts of living! And nothing does this better for us than a few good rounds of NREM and REM sleep. Of course our job is to make certain that no natural or unnatural disasters interfere with the automatic and wondrous stages of vitalizing sleep. Let’s take a look into each stage and perhaps identify some clues. Our daily activities, our devotions can enhance this glorious gift of rest to bring us just what we truly need; rejuvenation. Each stage lasts 5-10 minutes, and will cycle again until waking.
Stage 1 of NREM – Non Rapid Eye Movement
During stage one of NREM the eyes are closed, the body is resting, the mind is leaving its pre-occupation with external sounds to rise and fall with the sound and movement of one’s own breath. Here is where a sense of falling can sometimes occur.
Meditation practice during waking hours, especially breathing meditations simulates to this sensation to bring about a refreshed feeling. If performed when fatigued, falling asleep may happen; persist with a daily breathing meditation and when fatigue has lifted the practice will naturally happen without falling asleep. Breath work and breath meditations can help lead to better rest when performed just before sleeping.
Stage 2 of NREM
During stage two of NREM (non rapid eye movement) the individual is falling asleep, if awoken here the feeling is as if one has not slept; during this stage the heart rate slows, muscles are transitioning back & forth between toned and relaxed.
With consistent daily effort in meditation one may learn how to scan or observe the entire body and concentrate on spontaneous healing and restoration so this stage of sleep is streamline.
Stage 3 of NREM
At stage three of NREM sleep an EEG (electro-encephalograph) will record the brain waves slowing to Delta waves 1-4 Hertz/second. The body temperature rises as healing mechanisms are underway, there is a release of anti-aging hormones, growth hormone, melatonin; cortisol levels decrease (stress hormone). States of Delta waves are known to increase creativity and empathy. Anesthesia moves the brain to Delta waves. It is not known if anesthesia creates a marker of disturbance later on in NREM sleep and there is debate if anesthesia increases incidences of dementia later in life.
Theta Healing Meditation is designed as a short cut to bring the practitioner from a predominately alpha brain wave state to a dominant Theta state. These techniques are performed while awake and enable the individual to access and release blockages due to impressions that are outdated. Healing and harmony at this stage lead to deep sleep at night. Theta Healing Meditation effects register on an EEG.
Stage 4 of NREM
Stage four of NREM is deep sleep, and after waking a person has an awareness of having slept; tissue, and cellular repair is occurring here. Advanced Meditation techniques can help improve habits and reactions in daily living, which in turn can result in reduced time needed to repair.
For better restoration Yoga poses stretch and clear the body’s energy channels, moves stagnant blood; especially key for the blood heavy liver organ that performs over 400 tasks per minute. Yogic techniques in breath work and meditation promote longevity with vitality, not just longevity. Included is the side effect of deeper more restful sleep and body healing.
REM sleep – Rapid Eye Movement Cycles
The first cycle of rapid eye movement sleep runs about 10 minutes, after a few cycles; a REM cycle can last up to an hour. This cycle is observed with the eyes moving beneath closed lids, rapid or irregular breathing, increase in blood pressure and sedation or relaxation of the musculature. It is in REM sleep that the brain waves are recorded at alpha waves 8-13 hertz/second, wakeful like, dreaming.
Deviations in REM sleep can lead to unconscious movement, speech, interruptions in breathing (sleep apnea), restless leg syndrome, sleep walking or narcolepsy (spontaneous sleep while awake).
Yoga offers precise sleep routines, sleep rituals, Yogic exercises, relaxation techniques, Pranayama (breath exercises), simple and effective Yogic body purification methods to attain the goal of better sleep. You may try some or all of these modalities. Remember to consult with a qualified health professional before changing your lifestyle, especially where in, symptoms, disorders or diseases are presenting. One of the best nutritional supplements for over all wellness is a formula called ACES; this is a concentration of antioxidant vitamins A, C, E and selenium. The cells of the body must have a store of antioxidants available to reduce damage from oxidation. Oxidation occurs from natural metabolism and unfortunately environmental toxins, medication, food adulteration and exposure to other harming agents. Reducing stresses on the body in any way is a step closer to a restful night of blissful sleep.
May all beings receive what is needed at this time. Namaste.
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