Dr. Kolesnik--What is the sleep wake cycle?
Hello, I am doctor Kolesnik, I am a medical director at Vector Sleep Diagnostic Center in Queens, New York. I am board certified in neurology and sleep medicine and I have been in practice for the past 12 years.
What is the sleep wake cycle?
Sleep wake cycle is a part of so called Circadian Rhythm which is a biological rhythm that repeats every 24 hours. Over a period of 24 hours, we go through different stages of wakefulness and different stages of sleep. From light sleep to deep sleep to dreaming stage of sleep, so called “rem sleep”.
Most of us need about eight hours of sleep to function normally. Throughout this 24 hour cycle, our bodies change. There are changes in some physiologic parameters; brain waves, body temperatures and hormonal levels. This rhythm is a fine mechanism that at times we intentionally or unintentionally disrupt.
We travel, we attend to our small children that wake up at night, we work night shifts. Disrupting sleep wake cycle may have short term consequences but at times it may result in long term consequences and multiple medical problems, among them insomnia. Part of staying healthy is to maintain normal and healthy sleep wake cycle.