It used to be you’d go to a sleep clinic, stay overnight and get totally wired up to accurately measure your sleep cycles. And that’s still the case for sleep apnea and diagnosis of severe sleep problems.
I met with a Pulmonologist (a sleep doctor who specializes in breathing) at the Carolinas Medical Center about a month ago to chat about sleep, and was amazed at the sleep charts he sat and showed me on his office computer.
You think you’re not sleeping? he said. Oh man, there are people with serious problems.
I’ve been measuring my nightly sleep using an EEG headband (Zeo) for over 6 months, and there is a definite pattern, with much more activity than you’d imagine. It’s more ragged, with shorter bursts of deep sleep and REM sleep, than I thought. I realized night rhythms are not so different than waking rhythms.
Nothing holds my attention more than a few minutes: 5-10 minutes of deep sleep and BAM, I’m dreaming. 20 minutes later I’m awake.
All the deep sleep happens early in the night, with REM (dreaming) sleep three, four, five times during the night. How come I remember none of the dreams? Interesting to get confirmation of how many times I awake during the night.
If you’re sick, you heal while sleeping, you gain procedural memory during sleep, grow taller, resolve conflict with dreams, and organize memory. Neurologists measure sleep as more active than waking.
To me, the pattern of sleep is the most captivating, it reflects basic organic and human qualities. The proportions of the pattern itself is inherently recognizable and familiar.