Sleep Architecture – what exactly is this?

Do you find yourself feeling curious about the structure of your sleep? How exactly does sleep unfolds and develop throughout the evening? I would like to help you learn about a concept called sleep architecture.

Like regular architecture, sleep architecture simply refers to the way that sleep made.

The ideas behind sleep architecture are to helps us understand fully the patterns of the various stages of sleep. How these sleep patterns change for us all as we get older and what impact sleep disorders may have upon our sleep architecture.

The definition of Sleep Architecture

Sleep architecture is the representation of the cyclical pattern of sleep as it shifts between the different sleep stages. Involving non-rapid eye movement (NREM) and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. It is through the sleep architecture we have been able to collect and produce the full picture of what our sleep. Looking at the sleep throughout a full night. Ensuring we can consider all the variations of depths of sleep, From arousal to wakefulness. To represent Sleep architecture, it displayed on a graph called a hypnogram.

During Sleep

During our sleep there are generally four to five different sleep cycles occurring during a given night sleep. Each one of these different sleep cycles will lasts for between 90 to 120 minutes.

The cycles split up into different sections. With different fundamental functions and stages. In early in the night, sleep transition is from a lighter sleep stages (called N1 sleep) to more in-depth, slow-wave sleep (called N2 and N3 sleep). Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep appears and becomes more common during the latter part of the night. Then alternates with N2 sleep. When you are in REM sleep, this is the most profound state of sleep you can be. It is during this state of sleep that our dreams occur. It is during this stage of REM sleep is occurring that when consistent interruptions happen. Leading to a host of potential issues, such as sleep paralysis.

Aging and the Impact on sleep.

A long with other aspects of in our life, sleep architecture alters with age. You will have heard of older adults complaining about experiencing difficulties in sleeping. There is a reason for it. Let me explain.

The older we get, the amount and the quality of our sleep changes. With a decrease in the Slow wave sleep the older we get older and an increase in the lighter N1 sleep. The result in this shift means it becomes easier to awaken throughout the evening and becomes harder to fall asleep initally and continue to stay, asleep at night.

Therefore, this leads to the situation of more time being spent awake. Meaning a higher chance of insomnia developing and a host of other potential problems. The solution is found to be the most common is to nap. Those people then need to take naps during the day to make up for lost sleep.

Sleeping Disorders and their impact.

Certain sleeping disorders that can also impact sleep architecture. Specific sleep architecture abnormalities may exist in the context of sleep disorders.

It is found that when REM sleep occurs in the sleep cycle earlier than 90 to 120 minutes, it can suggest a variety of other responsible disorders which include some of the following:

Narcolepsy:  This is when an individual suffering may suddenly fall into a deep REM state of sleep at a rate much quicker than average.

An Sleep-wake Irregular rhythm

Withdrawal from MAO inhibiors or a tricyclic antidepressants

Various types of Depression

Some other sleep disorders include sleep apnea may lead to disruptions of the natural sleep architecture, too. When frequent arousals occurs, the outcome is a change to numerous sleep stage shifts and abnormal cycling of sleep.

These changes most effect adult sleep.

My sleep programs look at the routine to help create a good sleep foundation. Ensuring wherever possible the best sleep architecture to occur naturally and as smoothly as possible. I offer FREE 15 min introductory call where I would be happy to discuss your sleep concern and help you establish if your current situation is normal and if I can work with you to improve your sleep.