While we all know that too little sleep leaves us drained, it’s not been clear how sleep affects our energy levels. We decided to dig into the research to better understand the impact.
Does Sleep Increase Energy?
Intuition tells us that after sleeping we often wake up with more energy. It’s only recently, however, that this connection has been explained through research. In a sleep study conducted by Harvard University researchers, lab rats were tested for adenosine triphosphate (ATP) levels when awake and asleep. (ATP is a primary source of energy transfer within our brains.) The Harvard team found that when awake, the rats’ ATP levels remained constant; however, when they were in extended, non-REM sleep, ATP levels increased in four central regions of the brain that are critical to performing activities when we’re awake.
Increases in ATP levels don’t occur during the day--our brains are depleting ATP to manage activities--or when we sleep less than 6-8 hours. When we sleep the recommended 7-9 hours, though, ATP stores increase--providing us with more daytime energy.
Interestingly, caffeine similarly affects ATP, giving us the boost we associate with a coffee or caffeinated beverage. When we begin to fall asleep, adenosine molecules--the “A” in ATP--bind together and signal our brain that our energy levels have been depleted and it’s time to sleep. Caffeine interrupts the signals adenosine transmits to brain neurons, in effect tricking our brains into perceiving that energy hasn’t been depleted and is available for use--thus the “boost.”
Why Do I Sometimes Feel More Tired After Napping or Sleeping?
A 10- or 20-minute nap can be helpful in giving us a quick boost of energy by providing our brains a chance to reset. In fact, many medical professionals advocate taking naps over relying on caffeine (restoring your body vs. tricking it would seem to make sense, no?).
But why do we sometimes feel groggy? There’s a good explanation. When we sleep more than 20 minutes, our brains enter slow-wave sleep (SWS), the deepest part of sleep. To get the most benefit from naps, try and keep them under 20 minutes, and target between 1:00 and 3:00 pm, when we naturally become drowsy. Limiting naps to early afternoon also helps avoid interfering with nighttime sleep.
Sleep Quality versus Sleep Quantity
Like other sleep experts, Level Sleep advocates 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Some of us find, however, that we arise feeling tired. One cause relates back to SWS--when we’re jolted out of sleep by an alarm or external factors, we don’t allow our bodies to wake up at a natural, non-SWS sleep stage. To address this, try avoiding an alarm clock and head to bed early enough that you get enough sleep to avoid needing to be awakened.
The other issue is sleep quality. Our bodies rely on multiple, full sleep cycles of 90 to 120 minutes, during which restorative sleep occurs. When we interfere with these natural cycles, we deprive ourselves of this restorative sleep, spending the night tossing and turning. So while we might be sleeping enough, we’re not getting the beneficial sleep we need.
Why the Right Mattress Makes All the Difference
The three zones of Level Sleep’s TriSupport’s mattress work together to prevent pressure buildup, especially at key contact points such as your shoulders and hips. Less pressure and less pain directly translates to less tossing and turning and better sleep.
- The firmer lumbar zone supports your back and spine, maintaining alignment and reducing stress on soft tissues.
- The soft shoulder zone absorbs and comforts your shoulder’s bone structure and tissues
- The medium zone supports your hips and works with the lumbar zone to naturally align your hips and back
This patented design is why our clinical trial participants experienced 34% less tossing and turning and woke up with 43% less fatigue and 63% less daytime dysfunction due to sleepiness.
We also offer the Restore Pillow, which combines with our mattress to provide neck support and limit snoring, helping you--and your partner--sleep more soundly.
For Help and Additional Information
We encourage you to take a look at theLevel Sleep blog for to learn more about sleep and health.We also invite you to give us a call at 888-999-8831 or to visit levelsleep.com for sleep tips and more on how our products can help you live with more energy.
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