Understanding the Stages of Sleep and How to Feel Refreshed
We spend about one third of our entire lives asleep. While this may sound like we spend a large part of our time being unproductive, getting the right amount of sleep each night is vital to a person’s overall health and daily productivity. Not getting enough sleep over a certain period of time can lead to a lack of preparedness and willingness to participate in our own daily lives. To be certain you are sleeping well each night it is important to note whether you are completing all the stages of sleep.
The sleep cycle begins with a relatively light, transitional period of sleep in which our brains begin to produce theta waves as part of the process of slowing down activity. This period typically only lasts 5-10 minutes before the next stage of sleep sets in.
In this stage the brain continues to produce waves, but in a more rapid and rhythmic way compared to the previous stage, almost as if an autopilot switch for the brain has been flipped. During this stage, the heart rate begins to slow and body temperature decreases. This stage typically takes about 20 minutes to complete.
This stage acts as a transitional period between light and very deep sleep, and can often be mistaken for the final stage of sleep given the behaviour sometimes exhibited by a person in this sleep stage (bed wetting, sleep walking, etc). In this stage, the brain slows right down, emitting very slow waves known as delta waves. The sleeper becomes unresponsive to noise and any other activity that occurs around them.
The final sleep stage is known commonly as the REM (rapid eye movement) stage. It is in this stage that our brain activity increases, causing our eyes to move and dreams to occur. Contrary to our brains, our bodies are completely relaxed, and muscle activity is quite limited. This is the final stage of a sleep process that occurs on average over a period of 90 minutes. After the cycle is complete, our bodies typically return to the second sleep stage and continue the process over again.
To ensure you wake up feeling refreshed and ready for the day it is recommended that you sleep long enough for your body to go through these for stages of sleep about four or five times. If you find yourself often waking up feeling tired or unprepared to face the day, you might not be getting the right amount of sleep. If you have more questions on what you can do to make sure you wake up refreshed, feel free to contact us, or if you’re in the Surrey, White Rock or Langley area, drop by our store where we will be happy to answer your questions.