Home Tools and Applications Health and Wellness Pathways to Sleep: Invitation to the World of Sleep Coaching

Pathways to Sleep: Invitation to the World of Sleep Coaching

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It is also important to note that this interweaving of these three stages is particularly prevalent as we grow older. These are interesting tradeoffs as we age and may have significant implications for our own physical and mental health. What does all of this mean? The pattern of sleep stages is an important factor in determining quality of sleep – it is not just the amount of time we spend in bed.

Amount of Sleep Disruption

This third criterion of sleep quality is particularly important for those of us who are a bit (or a whole lot) older. It also is a criterion that is somewhat controversial—not as straight forward as the stages of sleep. Put simply, sleep disruption is about the number of times we wake up during the night and the amount of time we stay awake during the night. The critical questions to ask are: Is our sleep fragmented with many periods of wakefulness? Do we make infrequent (or frequent) decisions to get up out of bed and do something else – a midnight snack, a few minutes (or hours) or reading or watching TV, even getting a breath of fresh air by walking outside for a couple of minutes.

As we grow older, the tendency in our sleep pattern is to experience at least one major break. We sleep for part of the night and then wake up. We can’t fall back to sleep right away, but either lie in bed, frustrated by our inability to fall back asleep, or we get out of bed and perform our mid-evening ritual. Then, at some point we do return to our bed and fall asleep or we have remained in bed and eventually drift off to slumber land. The critical issue is often how we manage this bridge between the two sleep segments.

For many of us, the sleep bridge plays a central role in determining the quality of sleep. Experts in the field of sleep improvement are still at a loss regarding how this bridge can be successfully crossed in the minimum amount of time. We hope eventually to find answers to this sleep bridge challenge, but at the present time can only offer some recommendations. These helpful suggestions are made by folks who have found their own unique way of crossing (or at least navigating) the bridge—be it by consuming certain foods, moving between hot and cold sleep environments, or engaging in certain kinds of visualization). So, stay tuned . . .

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