The 4 Stages of Sleep

The Perfect Sleep, Did you know there are 4 important stages of sleep according to the Better sleep Council. To feel the most well rested, generally, you need to wake up at the end of the sleep cycle. If you wake up during the wrong stage you will feel rough, so here is a quick guide to those important stages of sleep.

STAGE 1.

  • Between being awake and falling asleep 
  • Light sleep

This is everyones favourite part of sleep, and the only one they ever remember. The eyes are closed during Stage 1 sleep and you can be awakened without difficulty, however, if aroused from this stage of sleep, you may feel as if you havenʼt slept. Stage 1 may last for five to 10 minutes. During this time, you may feel like youʼre falling, which may cause you to jump suddenly, (called hypnic myoclonia).

STAGE 2.

  • Onset of sleep 
  • Becoming disengaged from surroundings 
  • Breathing and heart rate are regular 
  • Body temperature drops (so sleeping in a cool room is helpful)

During this light period of sleep the heart rate slows and the body temperature decreases. At this point, the body prepares to enter deep sleep. Some people can wake suddenly with dreams of falling off walls, or sudden shocks, you can end up kicking your partner.

Sleep

STAGES 3 & 4

  • Deepest and most restorative sleep 
  • Blood pressure drops 
  • Breathing becomes slower 
  • Muscles are relaxed 
  • Blood supply to muscles increases 
  • Tissue growth and repair occurs 
  • Energy is restored 
  • Hormones are released, such as: Growth hormone, essential for growth and development, including muscle development 

These are deep sleep stages, with stage 4 being more intense than Stage 3. This is when REM sleep occurs. These stages are known as slow-wave, or delta, sleep. If aroused from sleep during these stages, a person may feel disoriented for a few minutes.

REM (25% of night): First occurs about 90 minutes after falling asleep and recurs about every 90 minutes, getting longer later in the night.

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