Stages of Sleep

When you start your morning after having a proper night’s rest is an empowering feeling. We often forget that sleep affects how we look and feel and as such, has a significant impact on the quality of our lives. If your sleep is cut short for various reasons, your body doesn’t have sufficient time to finish all the phases essential for memory retention and muscle repair, amongst other functions. You then wake up feeling disoriented and sometimes, this sets the tone for your day.

Your sleep follows an alternating pattern of rapid eye movement (REM) and non-rapid eye movement (NREM) throughout a night that repeats itself roughly every 90 minutes. The majority of the time you spend sleeping is within NREM at 75% while the remainder is spent in REM, or more commonly known as the dream phase. You start to enter NREM sleep when you begin to fall asleep and this is made up for four stages.

Stage 1

The state between being awake and falling asleep.

Stage 2

You start to become disengaged from your surroundings. Your breathing and heart rate are regular.

Stage 3/4

Your breathing starts to become slower and your blood pressure drops. This is also when the blood supply to your muscles increases, and tissue growth and repair is heightened. Growth hormones essential for development are also released. Stage 3 is the deepest and most restorative sleep.

REM

Your body becomes relaxed as they’re turned off. This phase of dreaming happens 90 minutes after you fall asleep. This is important because it provides energy for both your brain and body which will prevent sluggishness during the work day. Interestingly, your brain and eyes are very active during this phase when dreams occur.