When we think about how much sleep we should be getting each night, we generally turn to how many hours we receive on average, compared to how many we SHOULD be getting. While this is an important factor of a good night’s sleep, it isn’t the only fundamental that we should be looking at. The quality of sleep you receive is also a major player – especially on how it affects your day-to-day lifestyle. So, what are the stages of sleep?

In the first part of this blog series, we will break down the stages of sleep, and broadly focus on how they can positively and negatively impact not only the duration of rest you’re receiving, but the quality of your sleep as well.

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What are the Stages of Sleep?

The two main stages of sleep are Non-REM (Non Rapid Eye Movement) and REM (Rapid Eye Movement). These stages consist of several sub-stages (which we’ll touch on). Generally, sleep cycles last 90 minutes, and it is recommended for an adult to experience four to five sleep cycles per night.

Non-REM Stage 1

This stage, also known as the light falling asleep stage of sleep, typically lasts 5-10 minutes and is the transition phase between being awake and falling asleep. We generally call this “drowsiness” because your breathing, heart rate, and body temperature begin to slow down. During this stage, your eyes are closed but you are still conscious and can easily be awoken by noise or other external stimuli. If awoken during this stage, individuals report feeling as though they were not fully asleep. This is the lightest stage of sleep we experience.

Non-REM Stage 2

This stage is the light stage of sleep and lasts around 20 minutes. During this stage of sleep, your heart rate and breathing become slower and more regular, while your body temperature begins to drop. Your brain waves also slow down during this time.

Non-REM Stage 3

This stage is known as the deep sleep stage and provides the most restorative sleep. It typically lasts around 30 minutes and is when the body begins to heal and repair itself from any physical activity done throughout the day, in addition to strengthening our immune system. During this stage, your brain waves slow even further, producing Delta Waves (which is the deepest level of sleep). It is also during this stage that individuals experience night terrors and sleepwalking. In addition, it is during this phase that individuals find it hardest to be awoken from their sleep.

REM Sleep

This final stage is the one we are probably most familiar with,  the REM stage of sleep. It typically lasts around 10 minutes during earlier cycles and up to 60 minutes later in the night and is known as the “dream” or “active” sleep cycle. During this stage, our eyes move rapidly in different directions as well as breathing becomes shallow and irregular. This type of sleep is important for consolidating memories and storing information. It is during this stage that we experience the most vivid dreams due to increased brain activity.

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What are the Stages of Sleep: Overview

To sum up, we all cycle through different stages of sleep through the night. Understanding the different stages of sleep can help you get the best possible rest each night and make sure you feel refreshed for the day ahead. By understanding how your body works and when it needs to rest, you can maximise the quality of sleep you’re getting each night. In the next blog post in this series, Awake Stage of Sleep, we will look at how to optimise these stages of sleep to get the quality sleep that you need.

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If you’re ready to invest in your quality of life or learn more about what are the stages of sleep, browse our range of devices to help you sleep online now or reach out through our online form for more information. With a collection of sleep devices for insomnia and so much more, we’re confident you’ll experience a night of rest like never before thanks to our specially crafted products.

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