If you wake up after seven to eight hours of sleep and still feel unrefreshed, your problem may not be about quantity but rather quality. The quality of sleep is as vitally important to our health and well-being as is the quantity. Why? Our sleep has a complex pattern, or architecture, those cycles through five stages during the night.
During certain stages and times of the sleep cycles, we secrete hormones and other substances that help regulate our metabolism and support our general health. What happens in our brains during REM sleep is how we retain information, organize our memories, and prepare to learn something new or perform a special task. If our sleep patterns are altered, it may leave us feeling unrefreshed, tired, and sleepy, as well as put us at risk for a host of minor and even serious medical conditions.
Science is still trying to understand completely how our body clock work, and even how many body clocks we have. Currently, we think w have two body clocks: one that is set by outward cues of light and darkness, and a second one that has an internal schedule set in the brain. It is when these two clocks don’t agree on the same schedule, and compete with each other, that we feel “off.” Synchronizing these two clocks comes with hitting the “reset” button every twenty-four hours.
We can do this by exposure to light and by activity. For example, when you want to be alert and awake but your body doesn’t want to follow, you can stimulate your body to reset itself just by going outside into the sunlight for ten or fifteen minutes or engaging in some physical activity, preferably outside in the bright light.