Sleep is, without a doubt, one of the most critical things for improved health. When we sleep, our bodies take the following steps:

  • repair muscles
  • grow bones
  • manage hormones
  • sort memories

At night, we cycle through four phases of sleep, including both REM and non-REM.
In this post, we will look at these periods of sleeping, as well as disorders and advice for having a decent night’s sleeping.

Stages of sleep

There are two forms of sleep: REM (rapid eye movement) sleep and non-REM sleep. Non-REM has several phases, while REM has only one.

Stage 1

This non-REM stage occurs as you decide to fall asleep and lasts just a few minutes.

During this stage:

  • heartbeat and breathing slow down
  • muscles begin to relax
  • you produce alpha and theta brain waves

Stage 2

This next stage of non-REM is a period of light sleep before you enter deep sleep, and it lasts for roughly 25 minutes.

During this stage:

  • breathing and heartbeat slow down even further
  • and no eye gestures
  • the body’s temperature falls
  • Brain waves oscillate up and down, resulting in “sleep spindles.”

Stages 3 & 4

These are the darkest phases of non-REM sleep. Slow-wave, or delta, refers to stages three and four. During these final non-REM cycles, the body performs a series of critical health-promoting functions.

During these stages:

  • It is impossible to awaken from a deep sleep.
  • The heartbeat and breathing rate are at their slowest,
  • There are no eye movements in the body.
  • delta brain waves are present
  • tissue repair and growth, and cell regeneration occurs
  • The immune system is strengthened.

Stage 5: REM sleep

The rapid eye movement stage happens approximately 90 minutes after you fall asleep and is the main “dreaming” stage. The first REM cycle lasts about 10 minutes and gets longer with each subsequent REM cycle. The final REM loop normally lasts about 60 minutes.

During this stage:

  • eye movements become rapid
  • breathing and heart rate increases
  • limb muscles become temporarily paralyzed, but twitches may occur
  • brain activity is markedly increased

When you fall asleep at night, you cycle through all of these stages of sleep multiple times – roughly every 90 minutes or so.

Facts about sleep

We really don’t know a lot about sleep, despite the fact that it is so important to our health and well-being. However, here are seven amusing facts of which we are aware:

  1. We really don’t know a lot about sleep, despite the fact that it is so important to our health and well-being. However, here are seven amusing facts of which we are aware:
  2. Newborn babies need 14 to 17 hours of sleep per day, while teens require 8 to 10 hours a night. Most adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night.
  3. Sleep deficiency can be extremely harmful to one’s health. Even 72 hours of sleep deprivation will result in mood swings, trouble functioning, and altered vision.
  4. Energy levels naturally fall at two points during the day: 2:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. This is why some people have post-lunch exhaustion in the middle of the day.
  5. Dreams can appear in color or entirely in greyscale. One studyTrusted Source from 2008 found that access to black and white television has an impact on the color of one’s dreams.
  6. Higher altitudes can have a negative impact on sleep quality. According to researchTrusted Source, this may be because of a reduced amount of slow-wave (deep) sleep.
  7. Although there’s still much to learn about it, the biggest thing we know is that sleep is just as crucial to good health as nutrition and exercise.

Sleep disturbances

According to the American Sleep Association, roughly 50 to 70 million adults in the United States have a sleep disorder. Energy levels naturally fall at two points during the day: 2:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. This is why some people have post-lunch exhaustion in the middle of the day.

Insomnia

Insomnia is a chronic sleep condition characterized by difficulty sleeping. Some people struggle to fall asleep, whilst others struggle to remain asleep, while even others struggle with both. Insomnia also results in extreme daytime sleepiness and exhaustion.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the primary treatment for insomnia. CBT may also be combined with sleep medications, and will assist people in falling and staying asleep Improving napping hygiene can also be beneficial for certain individuals.

Sleep apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition in which the body stops breathing during sleep. These pauses in breathing, known as apnea, occur when the airways of the throat become too tight to accommodate air passage. This disease, like insomnia, may have a negative impact on sleep quality.

A constant positive airway pressure (CPAP) system is the first line of treatment for sleep apnea. The CPAP generates enough ventilation to enable a person with nap apnea to breathe normally while sleeping. If CPAP is ineffective, bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP or BPAP) is the next step. Surgery may be needed in serious cases.

Restless leg syndrome

Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a neurological disorder that causes an uncomfortable feeling in the legs, which often appears when resting or trying to rest. People with RLS often have trouble getting enough rest because of their symptoms.

To better treat RLS effects, certain drugs, such as sleep aids and anticonvulsants, may be recommended. Strong sleep hygiene can assist in relaxing the body before bed and making it easier to fall asleep.

Shift work disorder

Shift work disorder is a condition that commonly affects those who work outside of a regular 9-to-5 schedule. This condition can lead to an inconsistency in the normal circadian rhythm, which can result in sleeping during the waking period. People with this condition are more likely to experience excessive daytime sleepiness and health problems.

Taking daily naps, minimizing stimulants, and decreasing the number of hours worked are all treatments for shift work disorder that can help encourage improved nap quality. People who sleep during the day can benefit from using light-blocking equipment such as glasses or curtains.

Narcolepsy

Narcolepsy is a nervous system disorder that causes extreme daytime drowsiness and “sleep attacks”, or sudden bouts of it. Cataplexy, a rapid, physical breakdown accompanied by a lack of muscle function, is often caused by narcolepsy. Narcolepsy patients also suffer severe disturbances in their daily lives.

Narcolepsy signs are treated with medications such as stimulants and SSRIs. At-home therapies, such as eliminating stimulants and walking on a daily basis, may aid in the promotion of restful sleep. Changes in lifestyle, such as avoiding certain behaviors and making accommodations, are often critical in limiting accidents.

Tips to get quality sleep

Practicing good sleep hygiene is the best way to get quality sleep at night. Here are some ways you can improve your rest hygiene:

  • Spend time outside in the sun during the day. During the day, exposing the body to natural light will aid in the maintenance of a stable circadian rhythm.
  • Exercise or move your body throughout the day. Getting at least one workout or activity session per day is an excellent way to increase the consistency of your sleep.
  • Limit your nap time to no more than 30 minutes. Getting at least one workout or activity session per day is an excellent way to increase the consistency of your sleep.
  • Avoid stimulants and certain foods before bed. Caffeine, nicotine, or alcohol before bedtime, as well as foods that cause indigestion or stomach discomfort, may disrupt your sleep.
  • Limit your screen time an hour before sleeping. TVs, phones, and other electronic devices emit blue light, which can interrupt the hormones that help you fall asleep.
  • Create a comfortable bedroom environment. Purchasing a high-quality mattress, cushion, and blanket, as well as other soothing bedroom accessories, will make you sleep better.

Slowly implementing these tips over time will significantly increase your sleep quality. If you’re either having trouble falling or staying asleep, you should see a doctor explore your options.

Conclusion

Any night, the body goes through five periods of sleep: four non-REM and one REM. Our breathing, heart rate, muscles, and brain waves are all affected differently during these processes.

It is essential for health-promoting activities such as digestion, development, and memory. Certain conditions, such as insomnia, can impair its quality and make it difficult to perform during the day.

Addressing any underlying problems and working on your hygiene are the only things you can do to increase your sleep quality.

Read more about 16 Proven Tips to Sleep Better at Night