According to a 2011 study entitled: Functional Neuroimaging Insights into the Physiology of Human Sleep. by researchers Thien Thanh Dang-Vu, MD, PhD, Manuel Schabus, PhD and others, it shows that when “sleep spindle” shaped brainwaves are present, the auditory sound input is blocked out. So for all intents and purposes you can snooze right next to your human buzz-saw of a partner and never hear a peep.
Conversely however, if your brain is producing a separate set of “K-complex” brainwave frequencies, your brain simply won’t shut off one iota. “K-complexes are vital for setting the stage for restorative rest”, says David Dubin, MD, medical director for the Sleep Recovery Centers, Inc. “But if there’s an abundance of ambient sound in the room, the brain will have trouble progressing into the deeper stages of sleep”.
Left panels : Auditory brain regions remain active in response to sounds during human non-rapid eye movement sleep. Right panels : When sounds occur during brain waves called sleep ‘spindles’, their transmission to the auditory cortex is distorted. Only a small region in the brainstem (arrow) remains activated in response to sounds. (c) ULg CRC
So what’s a girl to do?
The solution for your sanity is actually quite simple. But it may not be what your wanting to hear.
Cuddling before bed as all well and good, but one can’t have everything. Going to bed 30 minutes before Paul Bunion does should help you to wake up feeling rested and refreshed the following day. And please believe me when I tell you, feeling rested is by far the most romantic thing you can do for your relationship, family and personal well-being.
But what if the woman of the house is naturally a light sleeper by design? Counter to most medical opinions, the human brain and central nervous system is heavily influenced by genetics and heredity. We seem to borrow an over-active or under-active brain from our parents or grandparents. And in women, it’s usually the over-active brain that causes one to be a light sleeper. Thus moving into the deeper stages of sleep even in a quiet room is a problem.
This type of brain has a hard time reaching the sleep spindle stage and is also prone to frequent awakenings. Once you’ve regained conscientiousness, your brain has to start all over again from square one. This, as you’ve probably noticed, creates lots of anxiety, irritability and sadness the following day that wouldn’t have there if you had slept better.
Most mom’s have heard of a treatment called neurofeedback for childhood ADHD, but did you know it happens to well work for normalizing sleep too? Several peer reviewed and published studies have shown great promise with improvements in decreased sleep latency, (the time it takes to fall asleep) increased total sleep time, (less awakenings) and considerable deepening of sleep quality over a period of 10-20 sessions. And the really cool thing about these studies is that the treatment was conducted within the patients home and clinically supervised over a simple WiFi connection.
Deep down in my heart I feel that being able to wake up rested and refreshed needs be considered a women’s right. The horrible toll inflected on a woman, her family and especially her children due to daily exhaustion is incalculable. New treatments like neurofeedback for snore victims and light sleepers has the potential to allow for woman to turn the corner and start living a full life again.
David Mayen is the founder and CEO of the Sleep Recovery Centers, Inc. A neurofeedback practice specific to the sleep medicine field.
Copyright 2011 Sleep Recovery Centers, Inc. All rights reserved.
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