Leading Integrated Healthcare

Sleep cycles and insomnia by Stefan Chmelik

Understanding sleep and your own sleep cycles is an important part of improving insomnia because there is a lot you can do for yourself (indeed you must if your treatment is to have a chance of working). See these sleep hygiene habits for more on what you can do right now to improve your sleep.

Everyone’s sleep has a cyclical element to it. In a baby, a sleep cycle will often be only short – maybe 40 minutes – whereas in an adult it can be much longer – 90 mins on average.

There are 5 stages to a sleep cycle. The first 4 stages are your non-REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep and the final stage is REM sleep. During REM sleep your body is in a deep state of relaxation and this is the most restorative stage of sleep. As the name suggests your eyes move rapidly during this type of sleep and this is when you are most likely to dream. The REM stage of sleep is quite short, however – often lasting just 8-10 minutes at the end of a 90-120 minute cycle. This precious short stage is essential for you to awaken feeling restored.

Why not track your own sleep cycle using sleep app such as Sleep Cycle? Sleep Cycle is an intelligent alarm clock that analyses your sleep and wakes you in the lightest sleep phase – this is the most natural way to wake up feeling rested and relaxed. Then, when you can see how long a cycle takes and when the lightest and deepest parts of your cycle are (and most importantly that beautiful period of REM) you can do everything possible to maximise your sleep and the benefits you feel from it.

This is where the Zen Satori chair and the SENSATE come in handy… Used together (or separately) these two devices can dramatically improve your sleep quality and reduce the effects of stress. When I treat people for insomnia, often the first place I begin is on the Zen Satori chair as it just allows the body to open and relax from what can often be a very tense and anxious place. Then, using herbs and acupuncture, I make a diagnosis from a Chinese medicine perspective and treat them accordingly, using acupuncture and Chinese herbs. It is very unusual for insomnia sufferers not to see a dramatic improvement within the first 6 sessions of treatment.

Want to give it a try? Call now on 0845 67 69 699 to book an appointment.