There’s a lot more to getting a good night’s sleep than you might think. A lot happens to your body and mind between the time you close your eyes at night and wake up in the morning. While you may not be aware of it, you pass through several stages of sleep each night.
The Four Sleep Stages
What are sleep stages? The first thing to know is that there are two kinds of sleep: rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-REM (NREM) sleep. NREM sleep consists of three different stages. Most people experience each of these sleep stages during the night:
A light stage of sleep, considered to be the transition stage between wakefulness and the deeper sleep stages. The NREM 1 stage lasts for a brief period of time, usually around 5 – 10 minutes. Your brain waves begin to slow. During NREM 1 sleep, your mind still responds to external stimuli and you are easily awakened.
This is when you really start to fall asleep. Your body temperature starts to drop and heart rate begins to slow. While your brain waves continue to slow, your brain also begins to produce short bursts of rapid, rhythmic brain wave activity known as sleep spindles.
The NREM 2 stage lasts approximately 20 minutes. During this time, you will become less aware of your surroundings and external stimuli.
The deepest of the NREM sleep stages. Your brain begins to produce deep, slow brain waves known as delta waves. Both your blood pressure and respiration rates fall during NREM 3. Sleepwalking and sleep talking usually occur during this stage.
During Sleep Stage 3, your body begins to produce growth hormones, regulates your immune system, and builds and repairs muscle tissue. Loud noises and other external stimuli may fail to produce a response.
Stage 4: REM (Rapid Eye Movement) Sleep
REM sleep usually begins about 90 minutes after Stage 1. You go through different periods of REM sleep, with each period getting longer. Your first period in REM sleep may only last 10 minutes, but later periods may continue for up to an hour.
Most adults spend about 20 percent of their total time asleep in this stage of sleep; infants and young children may spend up to 50 percent of their sleep time in REM sleep.
REM sleep is often referred to as paradoxical sleep. That’s because while your blood pressure, heart rate, respiration rate are reduced and your muscles are relaxed, the brain and other body systems are running full blast.
REM sleep is when we dream. Our brain processes the information from the day before while our bodies repair and rejuvenate themselves in preparation for the day ahead.
The Progression of Sleep Stages
It’s important to note that you don’t always progress through your sleep stages in a linear sequence. Sleep stage 1 progresses through sleep stages 2 and 3. However, you may return to stage 2 before falling into REM sleep. It’s also common to return to stage 2 after REM sleep. You may go through all the sleep stages 4 or 5 times a night.
Not Getting Enough Sleep? Stop by Nap Bar.
The busy lifestyles of most Houstonians often means we don’t get all the sleep we need. A short nap is the perfect way to recharge low energy levels during a long and busy day!
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Contact Nap Bar today to schedule your nap time.