Understanding the Five Stages of Sleep

Sleep is something that we take for granted. Not only do we barely get the recommended amount of sleep per day, but we are not really putting a lot of effort into making our bodies go into a relaxed state for better sleep at night. These are just a few reasons why we end up feeling groggy the following day or even feeling out of sorts. Educating ourselves a little when it comes to sleep, can actually make us appreciate it even more.

For those who are not familiar with the different stages of sleep, there are actually five sleep stages that we cycle through every night. Here’s what you need to know about each stage.

The first stage is basically the light sleep. This is where we are slowly drifting off to sleep which means that you are easy to waken at this stage. Your eye movement, as well as muscle activity, slows down. It is at this stage where sudden contractions of the muscles are felt. This is also the time where that sensation of falling tends to occur.

Once you enter the second stage of sleep, your eyes’ movement will stop completely as your brain waves go slower. There are sudden bursts of brain wave activity, but this happens occasionally. It is at this stage when your body is preparing itself for entering deep sleep. What else happens in the second stage of sleep? Your body temperature drops while your heart rate slows down.

The third stage is referred to as deep sleep. It is here where delta waves are more prominent, with occasional rapid brain waves happening. It is also in the deep sleep stage where you are more prone to sleepwalking, talking, and even night terrors. These disorders actually belong to parasomnias and are most likely to happen as you transition from non-rem to rem sleep.

In the fourth stage, you are still in the deep sleep stage. Your brain is producing more delta waves. You may feel disoriented when woken up from deep sleep.

REM or rapid eye movement means that your brain is entering the stage that mimics waking. Since your eye movements become rapid, it is possible that you are experiencing an intense dream.

We will cycle through each stage several times during the night, until it is time for us to wake.

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