Evenings are probably the best time of day for most of us. It’s time to wind down, get in your pajamas, possibly have a glass of wine with a good read, and slowly doze off into an amazing night’s sleep. Truth is, it doesn’t always happen that way. Some of us have a hard time sleeping, and some people can fall asleep with no problem. For more on the biology of the ZZZs, continue reading to learn about the 5 stages of sleep.
Stage one, the introduction to sleep, is a brief stage that lasts about seven minutes and is considered non-REM sleep. Once your brain activity begins to slow down and your muscles begin to relax, you are in stage one of sleep. You can be easily woken at this stage, which is why you will find yourself waking up for no reason. This is also the stage that you will experience muscle jerks or the falling sensation, known as hypnic myoclonia.
Stage two is another NREM light stage of sleep and is the stage we spend most of the night sleeping in. Brain waves slow and eye movement stops, along with spontaneous and sudden increases in brain wave frequency known as sleep spindles. You can also be easily woken at this stage but will feel slightly more rested. If you were planning on taking a power nap, ideally, after this stage you would want to wake up.
Finally, your body is beginning to fall into the beloved deep sleep stage – otherwise known as stage three. The brain waves begin producing lower delta waves, so you won’t experience any eye movement or muscle activity. The body is less bothered or affected by outside stimuli, making it more difficult to be woken up.
During stage four, the brain begins producing even more delta waves, and you fall into an even deeper sleep. This is the stage of sleep when your body begins to rejuvenate and restore itself. This includes the repairing of muscles and tissues, provokes growth and development, increases immune function, and builds up energy storage for the next day.
Rapid Eye Movement Sleep is different than any other stage of sleep because your brain is flourishing with activity. REM sleep occurs after about 90 minutes of being asleep and each cycle can last up to an hour. The average person will have five to six REM cycles a night.
During REM sleep, the brain re-energizes itself, much like the body did in stage four. Your brain is even processing to remember what occurred during the day, storing it in your long-term memory. Additionally, most dreaming occurs during REM sleep because the brain is so active.
That wraps up the five stages of sleep! If you’re searching the market for a new mattress, consider purchasing a latex mattress. It’s absolutely vital for you to achieve the best sleep possible in order to maintain your health.