Body processes

Sleep Patterns and Sleep Types – Function, Task & Diseases

Sleep patterns and sleep types

Why do people actually sleep? The recovery phase is based on a command in the brain , because it uses the sleep phases to give itself and the body a break. Many people interpret sleep differently. There are people who can only get by with a few hours as long as they can take a short 20-minute nap at midday, while others cannot start the day properly if they have slept less than eight hours. Some, in turn, suffer from insomniaand cannot recover properly for a long period of time. There are also those who only become really productive in the evening hours and others whose circulation slows down after work. Accordingly, sleep research is still very up to date and for this reason deals with different sleep patterns and types. Reason enough to explain the different characteristics of the sleep types.

Sleep patterns – different situations in life have different sleep patterns

A distinction can be made between several sleep patterns, which can change again and again over the course of a lifetime. While newborns have multiple periods of sleep and wakefulness, for most adults, the body’s recovery lies in an eight-hour sleep period over the course of the night. In old age, on the other hand, behavior changes again, because then people no longer need as much sleep and the duration is shorter. Due to the differences, experts differentiate between five sleep patterns that are used in different situations.

  • Monophasic sleep pattern
This represents the conventional eight hour sleep that is standard in today’s society.
  • Biphasic sleep pattern
Is also typical for adults, but more for the older generation. The sleep at night amounts to only six hours. In addition, a 20-minute nap serves to catch up on the deficit. Alternatively, a 90-minute nap can also be chosen. In this case, only 4.5 hours of night sleep is enough.
  • “Everyman” sleep patterns
Divided into several sleep phases during the day and a longer main sleep phase at night, this pattern is particularly characterized by several short “naps”. Accordingly, the sleep requirement at night is only 1.5 to 4.5 hours.
  • “Dymaxion” sleep patterns
This “dynamic maximum tension” does not require a main sleep phase at all. In return, there are four half-hour rest periods, but these must be done strictly every six hours. In this way, the need for sleep is also covered. The duration is around two hours a day.
  • “Superman” sleep patterns
In this pattern, too, the sleep duration is only two hours, but here a “nap” of 20 minutes has to be taken every four hours. In this way, a person gets a maximum of two hours a day, but still covers their entire sleep requirement.

Sleep types – more than just “lark” & “owl”

For a long time, sleep types were only characterized by these two types. In the meantime, however, it is clear that this topic is much more complex, which is why at least two other terms are needed to adequately represent the sleep types. The Russian sleep researcher Arkady Putilov is researching the definition of new sleep types.

According to him, there are people who are highly alert in the mornings and evenings and those who are lethargic at all times of the day . According to the researcher, this does not depend on the lack of sleep or the quality or duration of sleep, but simply differs between individuals.

Nevertheless, the types “lark” and “owl” are socially recognized. The “larks” get tired early in the evening and in return wake up early the next day. This has to do with the circadian clock, which for some people is only 23 hours instead of 24. With the “owls”, on the other hand, this clock lasts between 24.5 and 25.5 hours. As a result, you get tired later, but sleep longer the next day. Mentally, these are able to perform late at night, while “larks” on the other hand are capable of greater exertion in the morning.

In an adult, the genes decide which sleep type they belong to. An extreme in this respect is the so-called “Familial Advanced Sleep Phase Syndrome”. With this hereditary disorder, people are already so tired by 6 p.m. in the evening that they have to go to bed. In return, they wake up at four o’clock in the morning and are well rested.

This is due to a mutation in the PER2 gene, which in turn results in feedback. For this reason, the inner clock runs faster or in a different rhythm than the actual time of day. This is just a genetic mutation that affects people’s sleep habits. Several different ones have since been discovered, further supporting Putilov’s claim.

processes in the body during sleep

DasErste.de describes in an article the processes in the body during a normal night. For most people, fatigue is caused by the change in light, i.e. dusk. 

Because this activates cells in the retina, which in turn leads to an increase in melatonin levels. After falling asleep, the recovery phase of the body begins. The muscles regenerate and skin , hair and bones also begin to grow. The body slowly falls into deep sleep .

After another hour, the REM sleep phase finally begins. The term REM stands for “Rapid Eye Movement”, because in this phase the eyes move behind the closed eyelids. During this time, the visual and emotional centers are particularly active. A wide variety of dreams are the result, in which, according to the theory, the human emotional balance is regulated.

Those who have restless sleep phases, suffer from sleep disorders or have problems falling asleep can counteract this with homeopathic remedies. Since ancient times, hops have been considered a medicinal herb that helps with restlessness and sleep disorders, among other things . For this reason, the herb is also used in pharmacy as the basis of many medicines, including drugs that are intended to promote sleep.

Lisa Newlon
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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.