Sleep Inertia

So sleep. It’s the thing that causes me to lose more productivity than anything. I end up sleeping most of the day, or until I have to go to my minimal wage position at Office Max. And previous searches on the internet have led me into the same bullshit advice about getting up early.

So here’s what I found.

First off, Prozac and Tricyclic anti-depressants can affect the body’s natural Circadian rhythms. This is simply a side effect of the meds and is something that an ambitious mental freak will have to deal with. Being freakish myself, well, that’s something I have to deal with too. But the way in which these meds affect the sleep process is in the NREM phase of sleep.

NREM is non-REM sleep, or non-rapid eye movement sleep. This is a three phase part of sleep that is where the deepest sleep occurs. NREM sleep takes place before REM sleep and though REM sleep is the brain’s way of dealing with processing events and physical reactions from the day, NREM sleep is deep sleep, and without it you are left with a groggy and cognitively whacky lack of ability. It affects cognitively challenging actions more than physically repetitive actions. Sleep Inertia can last anywhere from fifteen minutes to several hours depending on the individual and the point at which deep sleep was interrupted by waking.

One more point before I discuss possible solutions, and there are some promising homeopathic solutions, is the nature of this sleep pattern. Each cycle of sleep, including both NREM and REM sleep is approximately 90 minutes long. Thus if one were to take a nap, the ideal times are thirty minutes (long enough to get some rest but not so long as to be submerged into deep sleep), or 90 minutes (long enough to cycle completely through a sleep cycle.) Naps are actually one of the recommended actions, though the timing is vital lest you awake and empower the Sleep Inertia.

And now, a few recommendations.

Napping, as discussed above, though it is important to awake at the right times. Sleeping in multiples of 90 minutes. So if you wake up at seven, you’d want to go to sleep at either ten or eleven thirty pm. That way you time your wake-up to match your body’s natural rhythms. Then there is the waking up gradually, using something that lulls you out of deep sleep before waking you up. Soft music that grows slowly in volume, or natural light–meaning keep your curtains transparent enough to allow light in.

And then there’s the regular tips. Keep a regular sleep schedule, going to sleep and waking up at the same time, even though it may mean an early night and morning on the weekends.

Now, I don’t know how well these tips work, though I’m going to experiment with them over the next few days and weeks. I will return with results once I have them.






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