Sleep Timing and Time Tangles


Thoughts about TIME,
Attention Management and Focus

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, A.C.T, MCC, SCAC

TangledPyramid

TANGLES . . .

Piecing together all of the elements impacting our ability to live a life on purpose is a complex puzzle that is often little more than a mass of tangles.

Something as seemingly simple as SLEEP, for example, seems especially tangled when we are looking at the impact of chronorhythms (brain/body-timing, relative to earth timing cues).

Understanding is further complicated when we lack familiarity with certain words – especially scientific terminology.

We have to call objects and concepts something, of course — and each piece of the what-we-call-things puzzle has a mitigating effect on every other.

Unfortunately, new vocabulary often delays the aha! response, perhaps obfuscating recognition of relationships entirely – in other words, those times when we can’t see the forest for the leaves, never mind the trees!

The need to become familiar with the new lingo is also what I call one of those tiered tasks. It pushes short-term memory to its limit until the new terms become familiar. That, in turn, creates complexities from a myriad of “in-order-to” objectives inherent in the interrelationships of what is, after all, a distributed process.

See also: The Importance of Closing Open Loops:
Open Loops, Distractions and Attentional Dysregulation

Connections

There is something slippery in this sleep-timing interweaving I can’t quite put my finger on; something that no one else is looking at – at least no one published anyplace I have been able to find!!

Melatonin + corticosteroid release + light cues + core body temperature + gene expression + protein synthesis (and more!) combine to produce individual chronorhythms.

Individual chronorhythms influence not only sleep timing, but ALSO one’s internal “sense of time” — each of which further influences the effectiveness of other domains.

They do not operate in isolation — even though we usually focus on them in isolation, hoping to fully understand their individual contributions.

Here’s the kicker: prior associations

Whether we like it or not, the underlying, less conscious interpretations we associate with whatever words we use “ride along” with the denotative (dictionary) meaning of every single word.

In addition, the moment the terms become integrated into our understanding of the topic, they boundary the conversation — in other words, tethering it to old territory rather than opening new vistas. (See the linguistic portion of What’s in a Name?  for a bit about how and why).

Where we begin biases our understanding of new concepts we move on to study, which skews the inter-relationship.  Not only that, the relationship between the extent of our understanding of each piece unbalances our understanding of the whole.  Or so it seems to me.

Ask Any Mechanic

mechanicUnderHood

Setting automobile spark-plug firing efficiently affects engine performance which, in turn, affects a number of other things — gas mileage and tire wear among them.

I doubt that anyone has ever studied it “scientifically,” but every good mechanic has observed the effect in a number of arenas.  What we can “prove” is that the engine runs raggedly before spark-plug gapping and smoothly afterwards.

I doubt the entire inter-relationship has been quantified to metrics, so The Skeptics may still scoff at our definition of proof, even while the car-obsessed among them will take their engines to be “buffed.”

It makes me crazy!

To my mind, the overfocus on quantification has become its own problem.  Yes, co-occurance does not prove causation, but I prefer a more observational approach day to day.  At least, I do not discount it.

“Doctor, it hurts when I do this/don’t do that! is ignoring deeper problems, no doubt, but at least it avoids a prescription for pain medication that may well create a problem somewhere else.

But back to sleep timing and inner time sense — problematic for most of us here in Alphabet City.

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This is your Brain on Sleep – Stages of Sleep


Cycling through the Sleep Stages
Part of the Sleep Series

© by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, A.C.T, MCC, SCAC

“Sleep is not a luxury or an indulgence but a
fundamental biological need, enhancing 
creativity,
productivity, mood, and the ability to interact with others.”

~ Russell G. Foster, a leading expert on chronobiology

zzzzz_in bed_blue 298x232Gettin’ those Zzzz’s

Until the mid-twentieth century, most scientists believed that we were asleep for approximately a third of our lives — experienced, primarily, in a uniform block of time that was the opposite of wakefulness.

THAT was pretty much it.

Their assumption was that sleep was a homogeneous state.  It’s most salient feature was considered to be the fact that you were NOT AWAKE.  Duh!

The main side-effect of sleep deprivation, so it was believed at the time, was that you got sleepyOh my.

  • It was assumed that we needed some sort of down-time to recharge our batteries somehow.
  • There was so little curiosity about sleep, very few scientists felt that it was worthy of the time or money for research.

In the 1950s, the breaking news from one of the few sleep labs was that sleep actually consisted of two distinct states:

  1. Rapid eye movement sleep [REM], which distinguished dreaming sleep, according to what they knew at the time
  2. AND . . . the rest of it!
    (imaginatively referred to as “non-rapid eye movement sleep” [NREM])

You probably already know that REM sleep was so named because it was noticed that the eyes moved quickly back and forth under closed eyelids – rather like they might if the sleeper were speed-reading a teeny-tiny English-language book.

BRAINonSleepLooking More Closely

In rapid succession, with the advances of electro-physiological studies, new findings were announced.

These findings came about thanks to the use of technology known as an electroencephalogram [EEG].

An EEG measures the brain’s electrical activity and translates these measurements into a pictographic representation of what we now refer to as brainwaves.

With the help of measuring technology, NREM sleep revealed itself to be composed of a series of distinct stages of what was then presumed to be un-consciousness: NREM1, NREM2, NREM3 and NREM4.
(No prizes for nomenclature creativity were awarded!)

This four stage division became the standard in 1968, what is called the Rechtschaffen and Kales (R&K) standardization.

And then there were three

Almost forty years later, in 2007, non-REM sleep was reduced to three stages by The American Academy of Sleep Medicine [AASM], combining stages 3 and 4. You will still see both classification systems in internet articles and older books.

My personal belief is that R&K Stage-4 sleep, distinct from R&K Stage-3 and more specific than the AASM Stage-3, will prove to be important in research on sleep disorders — so I prefer to pay attention to non-REM sleep in the original four categories rather than the relatively recently collapsed three.

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Health, Success and Successful Sleeping


Like Driving on Empty

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, A.C.T, MCC, SCAC

liftarn_A_person_sleeping_90x90I’ll Sleep when I’m Dead . . .
That’s how I began Sleep and Cognition, the article before this one. I went on to say:

In my hurry-up-there’s-so-much-more-to-DO experience of living, almost everything auxiliary to my current attempt to focus frequently seems like a necessary but unwelcomed interuption to what I liked to think of as “life” — as annoying as ants at a picnic. 

But I know better now where SLEEP is concerned!

The graphic below, illustrating the effects of sleep deprevation,
takes a closer look at what I meant by that assertion.

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Related Content: Sleep Struggles and Disorders


Off-Site ADD Comorbid SLEEP Links
ongoing updates – check back for more

compiled by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Last update: November 4, 2013 -3:41 pm Eastern

LONG list of links (by category) to posts about sleep and sleep disorders
Articles to help keep you busy
between MY posts!

Below is my ongoing attempt (since February, 2011) to organize some links to “related content” to help navigate to articles RELATED to what a reader may be interested in reading – in this case, sleep and sleep disorders.

There’s this wonderful Zemanta application that suggests a few of these guys whenever I write a post for ADDandSoMuchMore.com. As time permits, I will continue to collect them and move them here, categorizing them by title when I have the odd moment to do so. (No guarantees about the quality of the content, however.)

I will eventually get around to reading them all, and will remove ones I don’t agree with or don’t find relevant, or sufficiently info-dense (hey! my list, my mindset!)

  • The ones I think are really cool, I pepper around in the posts they “relate” to, and they may no longer appear here as a result. (So if your link’s no longer here, it doesn’t mean you flunked or anything!!)
  • There are ALSO links to content I run into as I browse the web, as well as content from some of the blue-bazillian lists I subscribe to.
  • Finally, there is content I search for directly as I write, endeavoring to keep the articles here as current as I am able, given time constraints and my need to keep a roof over my head.

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