Fragmented sleep is not restorative sleep.
When we sleep, our minds delve into intricate cycles and patterns. We experience five discrete sleep stages, each playing a vital role in physical repair, mental rejuvenation, and emotional regulation.
The natural flow of sleep is most restorative when it is allowed to continue uninterrupted. When our sleep cycles are disrupted by unnatural wake events, the progress halts and we’re pulled back to the start.
The measure of this consistency is sleep efficiency. By comparing the total sleep time to time spent in bed, sleep efficiency reflects the continuity of our sleep - a key enabler to quality sleep.
We devote one-third of our lives to the act of sleeping. But we spend far less time actually asleep, partly due to something called sleep latency - the time it takes us to fall asleep.
Our screens blast artificial light into our eyes, tricking our brains into believing it’s early morning, not bedtime. Caffeine wires our bodies and minds, keeping them alert. We toss and turn and check our phones out of boredom. Sleep comes to us late, but our alarms arrive right on time.
Humans are not sleeping the way nature intended. The number of sleep bouts, the duration of sleep, and when sleep occurs has all been comprehensively distorted by modernity.
Param Dedhia, MD
But getting to sleep is only half the equation. Although people perceive sleep as something that can’t be wrong, we’ve learned that it’s a very active process.
We cycle through five discrete stages, each uniquely contributing to our rejuvenation and wellbeing. Unnatural arousal events like discomfort and apnoea disrupt the cycle. Unfortunately, the cycles don’t pause when our sleep is interrupted. Instead, they reset, hauling us back to the start of the process.
Poor sleep efficiency decreases the opportunity for restorative sleep. If we are in bed for eight hours but asleep for less than seven, it’s simply not enough.
A high arousal index disrupts the natural cycle of sleep. If consistent interruption prevents us from reaching the physically reparative deep sleep stage, we may wake feeling physically weary. If interruptions wake us before the emotionally restorative REM sleep stage, we may wake feeling fraught and unsettled.
Achieving consistent, efficient, less-fragmented sleep requires a concerted effort to both modify our waking behaviors and improve our nighttime environment.
Investigate consistent unnatural arousal events. Stress, pain, and environmental interruptions can all wrench people from sleep.
Physical interruptions drive the bulk of these “micro-arousals.” When our bodies experience pain, discomfort, or even unconscious factors like reduced circulation, they will wake the body just enough to reposition. While we may not remember these waking moments, they rob you of consistent sleep.
These interruptions were once an unavoidable reality - but no more.
The Bryte Balance Smart Bed by Bryte is purpose-built to sense and rebalance spikes in pressure that drive such disruptions. Not only that, it adapts temperature, firmness, and positioning to stave off micro-arousals and protect your sleep.
Home remedies like alcohol and tea can disrupt your ability to sleep. The same is true for medical aids like sleeping pills. Tobacco is another culprit in disrupting sleep. Where possible, reduce or remove all to promote natural sleep.
Improving your sleep efficiency - something that happens when we are unconscious - may seem difficult. But it is possible.
By making small, impactful changes to our behaviors and environment, we can maximize our sleeping efficiency and enjoy the full restorative benefits of every hour of sleep.