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White Paper: Powerful Ways On How To Get Ideal Amount Of Sleep Nightly

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Just recently, insufficient sleep has become a major public health issue. Experts have discovered and are still discovering the optimal sleep duration as well as the harmful effects of too little or too much slumber to health. This white paper explores how much sleep people need and some tips on how people can achieve it every night.

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Powerful Ways On How To Get Ideal Amount Of Sleep Nightly

Sleep is an integral part of our lives. Like air, food, water, warmth, it is a physiological need without which

our bodies shut down and die.

Many people believe sleep is an hour-long shutdown of the body and brain, with only the body's involuntary

functions like breathing and blood circulation doing their jobs. But throughout the years, researchers are

finding out the various activities that our body are doing while we are asleep. They attribute it in repairing

muscles, consolidating memories, releasing of growth and appetite hormones, among many others1.

Despite many discoveries in these past decades on what our bodies do during sleep, scientists still argue

as to why we do this activity.

How many hours we need to get quality sleep?

To get the most out of sleep, a person needs to sleep for an ideal duration. The National Sleep Foundation,

based on many research papers, recommend seven to nine hours of nightly slumber for adults aged 18 to

642. Many researchers believe people can complete the many cycles if they want to within this timeline.

A sleep cycle is composed of four stages; each can last from 5 to 15 minutes. Quality sleep requires a

person to undergo all four phases, all-in-all sum up to approximately 90 minutes3.

The first three, called non-rapid eye movement (REM) sleep before reaching REM sleep4.

Stage 1: During this phase – which may last for 5 to 10 minutes –a sleeper’s eyes are shut, but a soft

stimulus is enough to awaken him/her.

Stage 2: He/she is in light sleep. His/her heart rate decelerates and his/her body temperature goes down,

preparing him/her for Stage 3 or deep sleep.

Stage 3: He/she reaches the deep sleep stage. Waking someone under this phase will be difficult. If

someone rouses her, she will feel at a loss for some minutes.

The sleeper we have minimal muscle activity and eye movement across the NREM sleep, but all of his/her

muscles can still function.

Stage 4 (REM sleep): His eyes moves quickly during this final phase, an activity which reason still eludes

scientists. Dreaming, which scientists believe to be caused by the quirky eye actions, often takes place

during this stage. Even though our eyes are very active, other muscles except for the involuntary muscles

responsible for survival, such as the heart and diaphragm inside his/her body are immobilized5.

The eight-hour myth

Ideally, a sleeper needs to complete four or five sleep cycles for the night, amounting to seven to nine hours.

But other people just need less sleep time, while others require more to get quality slumber for the evening.

Dr. Christopher Winter, a neurologist and sleep specialist, said forcing everyone to achieve the “eight-hour”

ideal may harm people who require more or less amount of sleep6.

Instead of sticking to the eight-hour ideal, Dr. Winter provided tips to know how much sleep a person really


• The time it takes to fall asleep – Typically, it takes people 15-20 minutes (about the same time with

Stage 1) to sleep. If a person dozes off before hitting the bed, she might be sleeping less. On the other

hand, if it takes her an hour or more, she could be sleeping excessively.

• Awakenings during the night – Getting awake in the night is an indication that a person may be sleeping

too much.

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Powerful Ways On How To Get Ideal Amount Of Sleep Nightly

• Waking up before the alarm – Rousing sooner than the time a person had set may mean a person has

slept enough.

• Sleepiness during the day –A person’s likelihood to sleep while sitting, reading, or working is an

indication that she is sleep-deprived.

Insomnia and hypersomnia health effects

Sleep is essential in our lives that a shortage or excess of it can upset your overall health and wellness.

Both insomnia, the difficulty of drifting into sleep or maintaining it at the ideal time, as well as hypersomnia,

excessive sleepiness for the entire day7(e.g. narcolepsy) adversely affect a sufferer’s health and lifestyle.

In 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had declared sleep insufficiency as a major

public health epidemic8. It can cause numerous chronic health concerns such as:



High blood pressure


Some forms of cancer

Lack of quality sleep can also heighten the risk of accidents and can reduce the quality of life and

productivity because of decreased attentiveness, concentration, and other cognitive activities.

On the other hand, oversleeping can also result in severe medical conditions, including


Reproductive problems

Weight gain

Brain impairment9


Lower back pain



Heart disease10

Michael Jackson and extreme sleep deprivation

A person’s inability to reach REM sleep regularly is lethal. Perhaps the person that has survived without

REM sleep the longest was superstar Michael Jackson. Four years after his death, sleep expert Dr. Charles

Czeisler of the Harvard Medical School revealed that the King of Pop is perhaps the only human who went

through 60 days without undergoing “real” REM sleep11.

Dr. Czeisler testified in court that Jackson exhibited a string of symptoms of prolonged sleep deprivation.

Within this period, the renowned singer was unable to perform his usual dances or remember lyrics to the

songs he sang for many years. The sleep expert also showed indications of paranoia and auditory

hallucinations that Jackson underwent as well as his tremendous weight loss12.

The people behind Jackson’s last show backed Dr. Czeisler’s testimony. Alif Sankey, the associate

producer, said the performer became "extremely thin" as well as "was not speaking normally" during a

rehearsal. In another occasion, Jackson told the show’s director Kenny Ortega that God was talking to him.

Dr. Czeisler said to get even a shallow sleep Jackson took massive doses of propofol, a powerful anesthetic.

Dr. Conrad Murray, Jackson’s physician, prescribed the medicine to aid the singer to sleep unattended.

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Powerful Ways On How To Get Ideal Amount Of Sleep Nightly

Ways on how to achieve ideal sleep

The good news is science has found out effective methods to get perfect sleep. Here are some of them:

Manage stress– Advancements in modern civilization have brought about considerable stress to humanity.

Switching on the brain’s “fight-or-flight” response most of the time can severely disrupt sleep patterns.

Stress management activities, including engaging in activities that make you happy, getting social support,

and meditation, can calm down the brain’s buzz13.

Create a cozy sleep environment– The bedroom must be designed to be a slumber haven. All its furniture

and devices should be contributory to sleep. The room environment should be cool, dark, quiet, and

relaxing14. A sizeable bed with quality mattress, pillows and beddings is the best place for a good night’s


Exercise regularly – More and more scientific studies prove the efficacy of physical activities in inducing

sleep during the evening. One survey revealed that people realized a 65 percent improvement in sleep

quality once they after they complete the weekly national guideline of 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous


Use sleep supplements– For people with more severe sleep problems, supplements and medications

under doctor’s prescription and supervision might help. Natural supplements such as chamomile tea,

melatonin16, and over-the-counter sleep-aids like ZzzQuil can help you put to sleep.

Get enough sunlight– Exposure to sunlight allows the brain to maintain the sleep-wake cycle, also known

as circadian rhythm. The suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN) in the brain regulates the circadian rhythm through

time cues such as sunlight17.

Consult a doctor– People with serious sleep problems need the attention of doctors and sleep experts,

who are qualified to provide expert tips and facts about sleep. They can also introduce patients to sleep

calendars and other tools that help people get quality sleep.

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Powerful Ways On How To Get Ideal Amount Of Sleep Nightly


1 Why Do We Need Sleep? (2016). National Sleep Foundation. Retrieved from

2 How much sleep do we really need? (2016). National Sleep Foundation. Retrieved from

3 What Are REM and Non-REM Sleep? (2016). WebMD. Retrieved from


4 What happens when you sleep? (2016). National Sleep Foundation. Retrieved from

5 Gordon, Amie M. (2013, July 26). Your Sleep Cycle Revealed. Psychology Today. Retrieved from

6 Winter, Christopher (2013, January 9). Stop Trying to Get Eight Hours of Sleep. The Huffington Post.

Retrieved from

7 Sleep Disorder Categories. (2016). American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Retrieved from

8 Insufficient Sleep Is a Public Health Problem. (2015, September 3). Centers for Disease and Prevention.

Retrieved from

9 Klein, Sarah. (2015, February 16). 8 Health Risks Of Sleeping Too Much. The Huffington Post.

Retrieved from

10 Caba, Justin. (2015, November 5). Oversleeping Is Just As Bad For You As Not Getting Enough Sleep:

How To Find The Happy Medium. Medical Daily. Retrieved from


11 Harris, Nadia-Elysse. (2013, June 25). Michael Jackson’s Death Four Years Later: Was He The Only

Human In History To Go 60 Days Without REM Sleep? Medical Daily. Retrieved from


12 Duke, Alan. (2013, June 24). Expert: Michael Jackson went 60 days without real sleep. Cable News

Network. Retrieved from

13 Five tips to help manage stress. (2016). American Psychological Association. Retrieved from

14 Turn Your Bedroom Into a Sleep Haven. (2016). Health. Retrieved from,,20306887,00.html/view-all.

15 Study: Physical Activity Impacts Overall Quality Of Sleep. (2016). National Sleep Foundation. Retrieved


16 Davis, Jeanne Lerche. (2016). Sleep Supplements: Melatonin, Valerian, and More. WebMD. Retrived


17 Circadian Rhythms. (2016). UCLA Sleep Disorders Center. Retrieved from

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