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A Quick Guide to All 4 Sleep Stages

All 4 Sleep Stages

There are many reasons why quality sleep is so vital. Even though there is an obvious benefit of healthy sleep – our ability to rest, not everyone knows that having a quality night’s rest affects mental and physical health. When we have enough sleep each night, we are happier, have balanced hormone levels, tend to eat healthier, be more active and productive and, therefore, live our life to the fullest.

However, if you have a chronic lack of sleep, you can experience many problems, like poor concentration, low energy, mood swings, and tension. And it may even lead to severe health diseases related to the heart and digestive system, to name a few. Regardless of how much information there is on how to achieve better sleep, not everyone knows how sleep works. However, knowing sleep stages and their effects is the key to a quality night’s rest.

How Much Sleep Do You Need?

First, let’s explore how much sleep you need to stay healthy and active during the day. There is one rule – the younger you are, the more sleep you need. For example, toddlers require a lot more sleep than adults. As we grow, our sleep needs decrease. Doctors say that healthy adults need somewhere between 7-9 hours of sleep.

Even though statistics show that we all need at least 7 hours of sleep regardless of our age, there are some people who need less or more. For example, people who need 5-6 hours of sleep are known as short sleepers, but they are pretty rare. Professional athletes require 10-11 hours of sleep to stay predictive and achieve their goals.

We also need more sleep when we are ill since our bodies need more time to get better. That is because ill people feel sleepy. While teenagers believe they don’t need as much sleep as before, they still should get 7-9 hours of sleep as their bodies are growing.

What are Sleep Stages?

Experts say that an average sleep cycle lasts somewhere about 90-120 minutes. Ideally, people need four to six cycles of sleep every day to let the body and brain recharge and be ready for the next day. Here we are going to talk about 4 stages that present in each sleep cycle: 3 that create non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep and a (REM) sleep. Even though the time we spend in each stage also varies over time, and we can also bounce between stages depending on several reasons, each stage usually remains the same for everyone.

1st NREM Stage

NREM is the abbreviation for non-rapid eye movement (NREM). This stage is known as light sleep, and it lasts for about 10 minutes. This stage happens as the transition from wakefulness to sleep. In case you wake up during this stage, you won’t even notice that you have already fallen asleep. During this stage, our bodies usually show the following signs:

  • Slow and rolling eye movements;
  • We slow down our heartbeat and breathing;
  • The body begins to relax.

2nd NREM Stage 

This stage is also considered light sleeping. Here our bodies become fully relaxed thanks to the dropping body temperature drops and slowing heart rate. During the second NREM stage, our eye movement stops, and our brain becomes relaxed as well, opening the door for dreams. This stage of sleep is also associated with occasional bursts of brain waves known as sleep spindles that may take part in processing and storing your memories while also shutting down your senses, making it harder to wake up.

However, you still can’t wake up during this stage, and it will be much harder for you to fall asleep again. If this happens, you can always use a fall asleep app which includes a mix of voiceover, music and sound effects to help you sleep better at night. You can also download a mesmerize app, which has been carefully designed to help soothe the stress your body experiences when you can’t fall asleep and promote relaxation. This, in turn, will help you achieve a better night’s rest. This stage is vital since it helps you enter deep sleep and usually lasts up to 25 minutes.

Also, Check – Extra Tips For Better Sleep

3rd Stage Three

This stage of sleep is deep. Our body, eyes, muscles, and brain are fully relaxed. This is the key stage of sleep, where our organism recharges and repairs itself by regrowing tissue, strengthening the immune system as well, and building bones and muscle. 

It is really hard to wake up during this sleep stage, but if you still wake up, you may experience disorientation and brain fog for 30-60 minutes. The third stage lasts between 20 to 40 minutes. As you grow, you will spend less time in the third stage and more time in the second one.

4th REM Sleep

The REM sleep stage is the stage where we see dreams. That is because our brain activity significantly increases. In fact, studies show that sometimes this activity may even overcome or match your usual brain activity during the day.

During this stage, our muscles enter a state of temporary paralysis, but our eyes don’t. Instead, eyes move rapidly during this stage thanks to dreams and brain activity. Our breathing gets faster, the temperature rises, and our heart rate and blood pressure increase. The period of this sleeping stage lasts for about 90 minutes. The more this stage lasts, the more we remain asleep.

Final Thoughts

Sleep issues are so common in modern society. Stress and work affect our daily lives but also make it much harder to fall asleep. The internet contains lots of information on how to improve sleep, but the key to a healthier and deeper night’s rest lies in knowing how your sleep works and what happens during the night. Here we listed 4 stages of sleep so you can explore in what stages you wake up and how you can help yourself sleep better.

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