The thing I think people have a problem with is they mistake quantity for quality in terms of sleep.A lot of people will say well if I get the right number of minutes, then I'm going to be good to go.But if you get eight and a half hours of bad, crappy, sleep, here's what's going to happen, you're still going to feel bad.But if you got six and a half hours of great, high quality sleep, you'll probably feel better.
Ok, if you want to lean on back.
Michael Breus, PhD:
The quality of your sleep is kind of hard to determine. It's one of those things that you have to wake up and sort of see how you feel.If I were looking at you in a sleep lab, I could actually look at your EEG recordings and I could look at how much stage three, four and REM sleep you getbecause that really is the determinant of quality sleep. The problem is that that is very age dependant.So, if you're an infant, you actually only get stages three, four and REM sleep. You don't have any stage one or two sleep,which is one of the reasons why 3 year olds and 4 year olds have a tendency to wake up in the middle of the night when they didn't when they were youngerbecause their brain has now developed to the point where they have stages one and stage two, lighter sleep, which allows them to wake up, which isn't so much fun for parents.So, when you're looking at elderly individuals, so people who are ages 60, 65, 70, we know that they get very little stage three and stage four sleepbecause their brain wave amplitude, or the height of the brain waves, actually decreases over time.So their brain isn't putting out as powerful a wave form anymore, which is a good indicator of quality sleep.
Is there something I can do to increase that wave length?
Michael Breus, PhD:
Well, you may not be able to increase the wave length as much, but you may be able to do things that will prevent the wave length from decreasing much more.So your brain is what your brain is and it's going to age as it does. However, it's best if you're in the lighter stages of sleep to not be interrupted as much.So one of the things I talk about with people is their sleep environment.This is a big thing for me, but I have people look at their bedroom and see what they can do in their bedroom that can actually help them maintain a better restful night.