Different Stages in a Sleep Cycle

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Sleep cycle is very interesting to talk about. The mind goes through several stages while we’re sleeping, but you may not realize any of them until you reach the phase of dreaming. The sleep cycle is generally divided into 2, REM and NREM. REM stands for Rapid Eye Movement, while NREM stands for Non-Rapid Eye Movement.

Sleep Cycle

NREM sleep

This is the very first stage of a sleep cycle. It’s further broken down into 3, which are stage N1, N2, and N3. The stage N1 refers to light sleep. This typically occurs for 5 minutes. As you go deeper into your sleep, you’ll reach the N2, which normally happens for approximately 15-25 minutes. At this time, there are changes in the heartbeat and body’s core temperature.

And then, there is the stage N3. This is deeper than the previous stages. Since someone is at a considerably deep state, it will be hard to wake him up. Basically, the body is no longer responsive to stimulants coming from the environment.

REM sleep

You may be familiar with the term already because it’s brought up a lot. This stage is known as dream sleep. As the name suggests, one of the signs that someone has entered this state is that he would experience rapid eye movement. We normally reach this depth after sleeping for over 70 minutes. This is the time when we have a dream although it could also happen in the previous phases.

Despite the body falling into deeper unconsciousness, the mind, on the other hand, is very active. There are also several bodily changes throughout this time, such as an increase in blood pressure and heart rate. At the same time, the breathing feels shallower. The mind goes through NREM and REM alternately as we sleep.

However, the experience isn’t exactly similar for everyone. There are many factors that affect our sleep patterns, which include exercise, stress, and age. If you have insomnia, you may not be able to go through these stages as they should be. Remember that deep sleep is imperative for health because at this time, the body is in repair mode. Therefore, if you have trouble sleeping, you should find a way to solve the issue.

Otherwise, it may adversely affect your health. REM is also important for memory. For your information, this is the stage where the brain processes the information that you’ve collected when all day long. It also stimulates the formation of neural connections. So, how much sleep do we need at night? It’s advised to sleep for about 8 hours a night. So if you go to bed at 9, you should wake up not earlier than 5 in the morning.