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Get extra sleep

Sleep and recovery

Brain waves 

Brain activity can be measured using brain waves. These are small electrical currents that can be measured by the number of vibrations or waves per second. Brain waves are expressed in Herz (Hz) and can be divided into five different categories, based on the number of Hz: 

  • Gamma waves: 38 to 80 Hz 

  • Beta waves: 14 to 38 Hz 

  • Alpha waves: 8 to 14 Hz 

  • Theta waves: 4 to 8 Hz 

  • Delta waves: 0.5 to 4 Hz 

The brain waves become higher the more attention is focused outward. While delta waves often occur during deep sleep, theta waves occur just before waking up or falling asleep. Alpha waves are mainly measured during relaxation and daydreaming, while beta waves are measured most often when you experience stress and gamma waves when you concentrate on something.  



The more you are in the orange or red area (fast brain waves: worrying, stress, anxiety, panic) during the day and especially in the evening, the more difficult it is for you to fall into a deep sleep at night. It makes sense to be in the yellow zone regularly during the day. Then you can more easily cross the line from awake to sleep in the evening and enjoy a deep sleep. 


Quote: Sleep problems are noticeable at night but are caused during the day

Sleep in the afternoon

  • A power nap of up to 20 minutes is very good. This ensures that the working memory is emptied so that you feel fresher and clearer afterwards. What you have learned before will be stored well. Tip: take coffee just before going to sleep, it takes 15 minutes for the effect of coffee to start: you wake up extra fit.

  • Sleep between 20 and 70 minutes and wake up by an alarm clock: you will wake up in your deep sleep, you will probably not feel fit.

  • Sleep an entire wave of sleep (90 minutes) you will wake up refreshed, but there is a good chance that you will sleep less well at night because you have broken down the substances that are built up through exercise. This means there is less 'sleep debt'.

build-up of sleep pressure
sleep in the afternoon

Sleep and weight

If you sleep poorly you will be more tired during the day, so you will do less and need less energy. But when you are tired you will have a stronger urge for (unhealthy) food and less resistance to sweets. Poor sleep stimulates the production of a hormone that makes you hungrier. So you will consume more calories. More energy intake and less energy expenditure will ensure that the energy is converted into fat and you will probably gain weight. Conversely, losing weight benefits sleep.


 'One hour of T.V. replacing it with one hour of sleep results in a weight loss of 7 kg per year'


Sleep and hypersensitivity

The sensitivity of the nervous system may be increased. You can notice this by irritability, sensitivity to physical signals (which may manifest as pain), difficulty withstanding bright light, crowds, strong smells and sounds. We call this sensitization. Sleep is disturbed in 50-80% of people with chronic pain. What is cause and what is effect, probably there is a chicken and an egg? The deep sleep phase in particular is important to calm the nervous system again so that hypersensitivity disappears. Extra relaxation (e.g. slow yoga/meditation), especially in the evenings, is essential.


Sleep disruption:

Possibly the primal function of the sleep waves is safety. If you wake up every hour and a half you can check whether everything is still safe. This was important in prehistoric times. The chance that you would be attacked by wild animals, hostile tribes or fire was therefore reduced. Now, there are no such dangers, but it is quite possible that a feeling of insecurity is one of the most important disruptors of sleep. You have to see this broadly: danger of losing your job or your relationship, worries about a loved one, insecurity caused by emotional trauma, insecurity, high demands on yourself. 

Sleep can be disturbed in several ways:

  • Difficulty falling asleep:

Causes: Usually due to too much stress, too little exercise or screens on for too long

  • Difficulty sleeping through the night

Causes: alcohol, caffeine, worrying, intestinal parasites

  • Wake up early

Causes: depression, chronic inflammation, too much to do, nicotine need (in smokers)

  • Getting enough sleep but not waking up rested

Causes: Missed the super sleep (10:00 PM - 2:00 AM), apnea, poor quality sleep (e.g. sleep medication or stress), You have slept too long, you wake up due to cortisol (activation hormone), you then feel less fit. Advice: get into the light/outside quickly and exercise a lot.

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