The book Deep Sleep Formula was designed to help readers understand ‘sleep’ much better and to encourage them to learn the techniques of taking charge of their sleep patterns.
In this brief Q&A, deep sleep coach and author Ignatius Raphael talks about the topics discussed in his book.
1. As a deep sleep coach, we heard your concern that there is a growing population who are suffering from sleep-related disorders. What do you think is the reason for it?
Sleep design evolved in the prehistoric man (over a million years ago). Humans used to sleep 3 hours after sunset and wake up just before sunrise. In the last 100 years, electric lights have started changing our habit because we can recreate day at night.
In the last 20 years, the internet and social media have become big distractions and the global economy has given rise to more and more night shift work. These factors combined to give rise to increased human FOMO (Fear of Missing out) and have eaten into the traditional sleep timing and duration.
2. Could you explain Sleep Hygiene a little more elaborately for your readers?
Sleep hygiene is a set of habits that we follow consciously or unconsciously to help us to get our natural sleep. Those who are struggling to get sleep naturally need to examine what their unconscious habits are that are preventing them from getting the sleep they need and adopt the right habits that can promote natural sleep.This set of habits could have developed because of what they eat, drink, exercise, think or what they do a few hours before sleep,including how they prepare the bedroom environment to promote sleep.The right set of habits and practices can lead to healthy natural sleep at the right time.
3. Is there something called ‘Too Much Sleep’? What happens with too much sleep?
Too much sleep on a regular basis can increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke and even death. Too much sleep is as bad as too little sleep. Life is about balance. Find the right balance and you can stay healthy and happy.
Too much sleep can cause a host of medical problems, just as too little sleep does.
Those who oversleep could be suffering from conditions such as:
This must be checked by a sleep doctor to rule out any inherent medical conditions. If there are none, then find a sleep coach who can help you find the right mindset and habits to sleep just right.
4. Do you have any recommendations on the ‘Best Temperature’ for sleep?
Core body temperature needs to drop by around 1 to 2 degrees. This can be done by setting the room temperature of your AC to 18 to 20 degrees Celsius.This can also be achieved by having a warm shower one hour before bedtime. Melatonin production starts when the core body temperature drops.
5. How many times a day is our body programmed to feel sleepy?
For some people it may be just once. For some others it could be twice or even thrice. Several famous people (Thomas Alva Edison, Albert Einstein, etc.) have been known to sleep/nap multiple times. Our sleep is governed by our sleep drive and the circadian rhythm. Sleep drive increases as our awake time progresses. Circadian drive increases when night falls and the temperature drops. When both fall in sync, you shall be able to fall asleep easily.Some people feel sleepy after a heavy meal or eating a particular type of food. This is a temporary phenomenon that can be overcome, or you could succumb to it.
6. Have you,as the author of your book, had any sleep issues? If yes, how did you deal with it?
I have been blessed with the ability to fall asleep easily. But there have been long periods (months and years) when I needed to be awake to care of family members who were ill and this affected my ability to fall asleep at my natural times. Since I am into meditation and mindfulness practices, this helped me to get the sleep I needed or feel refreshed even when I had to make do with less sleep.
7. What is‘dream’ according to you?
Everyone dreams. Some people remember, many don’t. It is a part of REM sleep when the brain is trying to solve problems or bring a better understanding of sensorial triggers and impressions it received during the day. I am aware that in India, dreams can have very different interpretations and meanings. Since there is no direct evidence, I would not like to comment on them.
8. Can you pleasename the most important factors for creating the best sleep environment?
For those who are struggling to get sleep naturally or who wake up feeling tired or unsatisfied, they need to take care of the sleep environment.
It needs to be dark or use an eye mask.
It needs to be quiet or use a sound muffler.
It needs to be cool so lower your surrounding temp before going to sleep.
The bed should be clean and comfortable.
9. Are sickness and other diseases related to the amount of sleep that your body gets?
If one sleeps at the right time for the right duration and gets quality sleep, healing and rejuvenation takes place naturally. The human body produces all the right medicines in the world naturally if we give it the right sleep. It builds immunity, fights diseases, repairs damaged cells and replenishes the power in every cell of your body.
Of course, your diet and your body movement and activities also play a big part in your ability to be and stay healthy.
10. We would love to know more about the common sleep disorders and how to keep away from them.
This could be a book of its own. I will attempt to classify them broadly and as briefly as possible.
Insomnia is a condition where one has persistent problems falling and staying asleep.Most cases of insomnia are related to poor sleeping habits, depression, anxiety, lack of exercise, chronic illness or certain medication.Symptoms may include difficulty falling or staying asleep and not feeling well-rested.
Sleep-related breathing disorders or sleep-disordered breathing is characterized by abnormal respiration during sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common category of sleep-disordered breathing. The obstructive sleep apnea syndromes include those in which there is an obstruction in the airway resulting in continued breathing effort but inadequate ventilation. Snoring is a typical symptom of such a condition, though it does not mean that everyone who snores have this condition.
Central hypersomnia includes narcolepsy with and without cataplexy, recurrent hypersomnia, idiopathic hypersomnia, with and without long sleep time, behaviorally induced insufficient sleep syndrome, hypersomnia and narcolepsy due to medical conditions and finally hypersomnia induced by substance intake.
Circadian rhythm sleep disorders involve either difficulty falling asleep, waking up during the sleep cycle or waking up too early and being unable to fall back to sleep.
Parasomnias are disruptive sleep-related disorders. Abnormal movements, talk, emotions and actions happen while you’re sleeping although your bed partner might think you’re awake. Examples include sleep terrors, sleepwalking, nightmare disorder, sleep-related eating disorder and sleep paralysis.
Sleep-related movement disorders (SRMDs) are conditions that are primarily characterized by relatively simple, usually stereotyped, movements that may disturb sleep, or by other sleep-related monophasic movement disorders, such as nocturnal cramps
11. Why do you insist on the time to sleep being 10 to 5 in particular? Why not from 9 to 4 or maybe 11 to 6?
Traditionally, sleep comes naturally 3 hours after sunset, and we sleep for 7 to 9 hours. Our body repairs our organs during deep sleep, and this happens between 11 pm and 3 am. It takes us 30 to 45 minutes after we fall asleep to reach deep sleep. So, if we sleep between 10 and 10:30 pm, we would be in deep sleep by 11 pm and we would get the best benefit of our sleep.I found that if we go to sleep between 9:30 and 10:30 pm, we can get the maximum benefit from our natural sleep.
12. Why would you say this book is a must readabout sleep, while there are many other books on the same subject out there?
Oh, there are many good books out there and you can read as many of them as you like. This is my offering to those who are interested in knowing more about the science of sleep, the deep sleep formula and how to claim the full powers of your natural sleep. If you choose to read this, I will be happy and honoured to receive your feedback and make further improvements where it is needed.