What Are The 4 Stages Of Sleep- And How A Good Mattress Can Help You
Every night you go to sleep you begin your journey through the different cycles of sleep. Though you are fully unaware of what is happening while you sleep or snooze, your body and your brain are still very much active and are busy working away.
Each cycle of sleep plays a very different role in how you will feel the next day. Below we take a look at the cycles of sleep including the stage that helps your brain, the cycle that restores your body and if you have that good balance between each stage of sleep.
So What Are The Stages of Sleep?
Sleep has always been traditionally divided into 4 categories: awake, light, deep, and REM sleep. Each one plays an important role in bot maintaining your mental and physical health.
The stages of sleep are as follows:
- Light sleep
- Deep sleep
- REM Sleep
REM sleep stands for rapid eye movement and is also known as stage R
Light and deep sleep can be grouped together as ‘NREM’ which basically means non-rapid eye movement sleep or as they are more commonly referred to as stages 1-4
So What Does Each Stage Do?
Each stage of sleep plays a vitally different role in preparing your body for following next day.
Awake time as an example happens before you fall asleep and after you fall asleep. It also includes those brief awakenings during your sleep.
During the light sleep cycle, your respiration slows down and your heart rate decreases, your body temperature also drops and waking up is much easier.
The deep sleep cycle promotes muscle growth and body repair. It also flushes out brain waste and shows long, slow brain waves.
REM Sleep supports your brain. During the REM cycle is where vivid dreams occur and your body becomes immobile (you can’t move) which stops you acting out your dreams (kicking out etc). It also improves your memory, your learning abilities, and also your problem solving.
So What Does A Normal Night’s Sleep Look Like?
The amount of each phase of sleep can vary quite significantly between nights and the individual. During an ideal night’s sleep, your body will have enough time to go through four to five of the 90-minute cycles that sample different phases of sleep as the night progresses.
In general, each cycle moves sequentially through each stage of sleep: wake, light sleep, deep sleep, REM, and repeat. Cycles earlier in the night tend be more a deep sleep while later cycles have a higher proportion of REM. By the last cycle, your body may even choose to skip deep sleep altogether and has decided that the time is right to come out of sleep or simply wake up!
Deep sleep tends to occur more in the first half of the night’s sleep while REM tends to occur during the later sleep cycles.
Overall, your body will spend the majority of the night in a light sleep. How much time you spend in REM or deep can vary quite a lot and depends on the individual but below we outline the averages you can expect for each cycle in a single night’s sleep.
You will spend an average of 2-5% of your sleeping time awake
You will spend on average of 45-55% of your sleeping time in light sleep
You will spend an average of 13-23% of your sleeping time in deep sleep
You will spend an average of 20-25% of your sleeping time in REM
It is more than normal to spend most of your night’s sleep in a light sleep.
Tips for Improved Sleep
Stick To a Sleep Schedule
Set aside no more than eight hours for sleep. The recommended amount of sleep for a healthy adult is at least seven hours
Go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Try to limit the difference in your sleep schedule on weeknights and weekends to no more than one hour.
If you don't fall asleep within about 20 minutes, leave your bedroom and go and do something relaxing. Read or listen to some relaxing music. Then go back to bed when you are tired.
What you Eat and Drink
Do not go to bed hungry or if you feel a bit stuffed. Avoid heavy or large meals within a couple of hours of bedtime.
The stimulating effects of nicotine and caffeine can take hours to wear off and can cause absolute havoc on quality sleep. Even though alcohol might make you feel lie you could sleep for hours, it can cause disruption to sleep.
A Relaxing Environment
Make your home ideal for sleeping. This can mean a dark and quiet room. Avoid watching TV or being on your phone or tablet as this can make it more challenging to fall asleep. Read a book or take a bath this can help improve your sleep.
Limit Your Daytime Naps
Daytime naps can interfere your night time’s sleep. If you choose to nap, limit yourself to 30 minutes and avoid doing so later in the day
Regular physical activity can help you sleep better. Avoid being active too close to bedtime though! Also spending time outside every day can help promote a good night’s sleep
Try to resolve any worries or concerns you have before bedtime. Write down what's on your mind and just leave it until the next day.
A Good Mattress
AN absolute must! A good and comfortable mattress can help you have achieve that night’s sleep!