The “Ask Humanitas” section has been created so that the specialists of Humanitas can answer to the most frequently asked questions on Google of a specific topic.

On this occasion, Dr. Lara Fratticci, assistant in the Autonomous Section of Emergency Neurology and Stroke Unit in Humanitas, and Dr. Vincenzo Tullo, head of the Encephalic clinic, will talk about sleep.

Sleep ‘without dreams’: is it possible?

The sleep phase known as REM sleep is the stage of sleep in which an individual usually dreams: during the night there are about five cycles this phase.

Many people wonder if it is possible to not dream during the sleep. According to Dr. Fratticci it is almost “impossible that an individual, during an entire cycle of sleep, does not dream. It’s more likely that he doesn’t remember it”.

The feeling of a fall during the sleep: what causes it

During the sleep, our nervous system may “feel some anomalies caused for example by a reduction of the rhythm and frequency of the breath. These anomalies could be perceived by our organism as an alarm and can lead to some spasms, the so-called hypnic jerks, which give the sensation of falling asleep,” explained Dr. Tullo.

Sleep after meals

Sleepiness after meals is often due to excessive consumption of carbohydrates or sugars – as Dr. Fratticci explained – which reduce the activity of neurons that produce orexin- a substance that keeps our bodies awake.

How to monitor the sleep

It can be done with polysomnography: through different types of examinations and investigations such as the electroencephalogram in order to monitor the phases of sleep and to know the brain activity of the patient; with the saturimetry the level of oxygen in the blood is monitored while with an abdominal and thoracic band the movements of the body of the patient are recorded.

“I’m always sleepy”: the advice of experts

As explained by Dr. Tullo, a constant feeling of drowsiness during the day can be simply due to the fact that you have been sleeping little and poorly, or because there are underlying problems. If this feeling persists over time, it is advisable for the patient to consult a doctor and an outpatient clinic for sleep disorders that can check and possibly diagnose the problem.