President's Column - January 2024

President's Column,

When is the last time you got a good night’s sleep? 

Most experts agree that adults should get between seven to nine hours of sleep per night to be healthy, while newborns and children require more.

Getting a good night’s sleep is crucial for maintaining overall health and well-being. It is important to know the quality of your sleep cycles matters too. 

A sleep cycle is a recurring physiological process that occurs during sleep. It’s like the brain’s nightly maintenance routine. A sleep cycle is made up of four stages: three non-REM and one REM. Over the course of a night, you typically go through four to six of them. A sleep cycle lasts approximately 90 minutes; but they are not uniform through the night. The duration spent in each stage shifts as the night progresses. You will spend longer in REM during your third and fourth sleep cycle than in your first. During the evening, you’ll typically spend 25% of your sleep in the N2 stage (light sleep), 50% in N3 (deep sleep) and 25% in REM. 

A sleep cycle consists of four distinct stages:

•    Stage 1 (NREM N1): This stage lasts about one to seven minutes. The body has not fully relaxed yet. Body and brain activities start to slow with periods of brief movements. N1 is the lightest sleep stage where you’re easily awakened.

•    Stage 2 (NREM N2): This stage takes between 10 to 25 minutes. Your body temperature drops, brain activity slows, your breathing and heart rate slow as well.

•    Stage 3 (NREM N3): This stage is also known as slow-wave sleep (SWS) or deep sleep. It lasts 20 to 40 minutes. During this stage, tissue repair, growth and immune system strengthening occur. Deep sleep helps process emotions. There is even evidence that deep sleep contributes to insightful thinking and creativity!

•    Stage 4 (REM): Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. Lasts 10 to 60 minutes. This is when you’re dreaming. It is also when your brain processes memories.

Failure to get enough deep sleep and REM sleep can impact thinking, emotions and overall health.

Many things can affect the quality of sleep you’re getting. Some issues people commonly complain about when it comes to their sleep are too much light, too much noise and racing thoughts. Take action though! Sleep-aids and solutions are available. Try out some blackout blinds or an eye mask to help control too much light. Test out a sound machine or ear plugs for the noise. And never underestimate the power of meditation to calm your racing mind.
Improving your sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your health. So, remember to prioritize your zzzz’s and get a good night’s sleep tonight, my loves!

Sweet dreams!

Jennifer Thoroe is Director of Customer Service & Business Development for National Steel Rule, a steel rule manufacturer based in Linden, NJ, USA. She joined forces with National on November 1, 2018 after working in the industry and volunteering with the IADD for over 15 years. She moved up to NJ from GA in the summer of 2019. One pandemic and three moves later, Jennifer is finally settling into her home near the Jersey Shores with her awesome super-fantastic brother Tom and his even cooler dog, Kelowna.

She has consistently used her time and talents to bring greater value to IADD members, whether through chapter activities, managing volunteers, Board service or overseeing myriad membership recruitment and retention activities. For this, Jennifer received the 2017 IADD Cutting Edge Award, one of the Association’s highest honors. She is the first woman to serve as IADD president.

The President's Column appears in The Cutting Edge, the IADD's monthly magazine.