Stages of Sleep
Before the mid-1900’s, scientists were convinced that when people went to sleep their mind and bodies would shut down which would allow them to rejuvenate and re-energise for the next day. We now know that sleep is far more complicated than scientists ever imagined.
When we get into bed at night and fall asleep our brains go through a number of phases. Whilst you are sleeping you go through five sleep stages in a rotation. In order to wake up feeling refreshed you usually need to wake up at the end of a sleep cycle. The five stages are: 1, 2, 3, 4 and REM (which is rapid eye movement). Once you reach the REM stage then you begin again with stage 1. A complete sleep cycle takes an average of 90 to 110 minutes. Each stage lasts from 5 up to 15 minutes. During the first sleep cycle of the night, the REM sleep is the shortest. And the longest periods of deep sleep. Later in the night, the REM sleep periods lengthen and deep sleep time decreases.
Sleep in necessary for all ages and without we would not be able to survive. Most healthy adults need between 7 to 9 hours per night in order to function properly. Teenagers need even more than this- at least 8 hours and on average 9.25 hours. For teens, when sleep is interrupted or cut short then the body cannot complete all of the phases needed for muscle repair, memory consolidation and release of hormones regulating growth and appetite.
This stage is known as the introduction of sleep. During stage one your eyes are closed and your muscles begin to relax. When you see someone’s head jolt forward when on transport or in a long meeting they are entering stage one of the cycle. During this stage, there is your brain activity slows down and you can often experience the well know hypnic jerk. This is when you are drifting off and in your mind you trip off the side of the pavement and startle yourself awake. You can be easily awoken from this stage, if this happens you are likely to feel very tired. This stage lasts from 5-10 minutes.
This stage is the official start of your sleep. Your brain and muscle activity slows down either further and your body temperature decreases. When at this stage someone could wake you up and you would be able to engage in conversation quite easily without sounding too groggy. You are able to become quickly alert. This is the stage where people may begin snoring.
Stage 3 and 4:
Stages 3 and 4 are known as the slow wave sleep stages. Your brain and muscle activity decreases significantly. Stage 4 is more of an intense deep sleep than stage 3. If you were awakened in this stage of sleep you would find it difficult to interact and hold a conversation. At this stage, there is so much relaxation of the muscles in the throat that people who are susceptible to sleep-related breathing disorders such as sleep apnea can experience difficulty breathing.
This stage is known as REM sleep or rapid eye movement. This is the time of sleep when dreaming occurs. This stage is characterised by eye movement, increased breathing rate and increased brain activity. Although your brain is active your voluntary muscles become paralyzed. This period of paralysis is biologically built-in as a protective measure to keep you from harming yourself. This is the reason why in a bad dream when you are trying to run away or escape from something, you are unable- your body physically can’t move. This muscle paralysis has significant implications for sleep apnea or those suffering from sleep disorders. Their airways can easily completely collapse due to relaxation in their throat. Additionally, these people have far more difficulty resuming a normal breathing pattern after the airway has collapsed. REM sleep grows longer after about six hours of sleep hence why you often wake up mid-dream.
In order to get the best nights sleep possible, it is incredibley important to have a mattress that is high quality and comfortable. Elephant beds stock a huge selection of beds and mattress so you will have no problem finding the perfect mattress and bed that suits you.
If you are looking to purchase a new mattress or bed that allows you to get the best nights sleep you’ve had in a long time, please do not hesitate to get in touch with one of our expert and professional team today on 02920 008849. Alternatively, visit our store and showroom today!