Many times we get up after a night of “tossing and turning” and realize the result was a poor night of sleep. But did you realize that basically everyone moves position many times through the night? The reason we realized we were tossing and turning was because we were awake during those episodes. But unless a sleeping partner realizes and tells us, we really do not know how much we actually do move around. During those movements we were not totally awake and therefore were not cognizant of our restlessness. These movements are called micro-arousals.

Many of us may know about REM sleep, or rapid eye movement. Scientists tell us this is the time when the brain is being rejuvenated. And some of us may know about Slow Wave sleep, when our bodies are resting and repairing. But did you know that there are 4 stages of sleep, with REM being stage three and Slow Wave being stage 4. (More on the importance of these stages in future articles.)

The general process of sleep is to go through these 4 stages in sequence. Unfortunately each time our sleep is disturbed, even those times when we are not fully awake, we usually have to drop back in the process to start again. The more this happens during the night, the less truly restful and restorative sleep we get.

So what causes these disturbances in our sleep pattern? Though of course environmental issues from light to noise to the movement of our sleep partner can cause us to be aroused from our deepest stages, the most likely culprit is our sleep equipment, especially the mattress. Excessive pressure to the pressure points of the body, especially the shoulder, caused by capillary shutdown and/or nerve entrapment (again more on this in future articles) sends the signal to the brain that the body must adjust position. Because we cannot control movement during these 3 and 4 restorative stages, we must return to either full awakening or at least to 1 or 2, thereby starting the process all over again. The more this process has to restart during the night the less restorative sleep we receive.

And poor sleep, usually from not receiving enough REM and Slow Wave, can have both short term effects on our daily life as well as a long term affects on our total health. That is why the selection of a mattress that will not put excess pressure on the pressure points, particularly the shoulders, is so important to your life’s complete healthy regimen. Just remember this simple statement…

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