In this article you will learn more about stages of your normal sleep cycle. You’ve probably heard that adults require somewhere between 7 and 9 hours of sleep every single night. However, the caliber of your slumber is an additional factor to consider.
As you sleep, your body progresses through a series of stages that make up the sleep cycle. For example, if you want to feel rejuvenated when you wake up in the morning, you need to make sure you get enough deep sleep the night before. In contrast to REM sleep, deep sleep is characterized by a slowing of both the body’s and the brain’s wave patterns.
When you wake up from a deep sleep, you could feel extra foggy because it is so difficult to do so.
Continue reading to learn more about this stage of your normal sleep cycle.
What exactly are the various stages of sleep cycle?
There are two distinct types of sleep: rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-REM sleep. You begin the night in a stage of sleep known as non-REM sleep, and then move into REM sleep for a short while. The cycle repeats itself approximately once every hour and a half throughout the night.
In the final stage of non-REM sleep, deep sleep typically takes place.
As you transition from being awake to being asleep, you enter Stage 1 of non-REM sleep. Stage 1 of non-REM sleep lasts for many minutes.
During stage 1:
- Your body functions, such as your heartbeat, respiratory rate, and eye movements, start to slow down.
- Your muscles are able to relax, exhibiting only slight twitches here and there.
- Your brain waves begin to change from their awakened state into a more relaxed condition.
The second stage of sleep constitutes approximately half of the entire sleep cycle. During the course of the night, you might find that you enter this stage of sleep more frequently than any other.
During stage 2:
- The functions of your body are continuing to slow down and relax.
- your core temperature lowers
- You suddenly cease moving your eyes.
- Your brain waves are moving slowly, yet there are occasional brief periods of activity.
During stages 3 and 4, you are in a more profound state of sleep.
In the course of these stages:
- As your muscles relax, your heartbeat and respiratory rate both decrease to their lowest possible levels.
- While you are sleeping, your brain waves will eventually reach their slowest state ever.
- Even with the help of loud noises, waking up is a challenge.
Deep sleep is often referred to as “slow wave sleep” (SWS) or delta sleep.
It can take anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes for a person to reach the first stage of deep sleep. The initial half of the night is when it lasts for lengthier lengths of time, and it gets shorter with each sleep cycle that passes.
Approximately one hour and a half after progressing through the non-REM stages, you will enter stage 5, also known as the first stage of REM sleep.
During this stage:
- The fast movement of your eyes from side to side is noticeable.
- As your brain activity shifts from a more sleep-like state to a more awake one, you start having dreams.
- Your heart rate accelerates to a level that is almost identical to when you are awake.
- Your rate of breathing quickens, and at times it even becomes erratic.
- It is even possible that your limbs will become paralyzed.
Benefits of Deep Sleep Cycle
Deep sleep is associated with an increase in glucose metabolism in the brain, which helps to sustain both short-term and long-term memory as well as total learning.
When a person is in a deep sleep, the pituitary gland secretes vital hormones like human growth hormone. These hormones are necessary for the body’s continued growth and development.
Other benefits of deep sleep include:
- recuperation of lost energy
- cell regeneration
- enhancing the amount of blood that is supplied to the muscles
- encouraging the development of new tissue and the healing of existing bone
- enhancing one’s resistance to disease
What happens when you don’t get enough deep sleep?
The ability to comprehend the new information you are exposed to each day is dependent on the quality of your deep sleep. If there is not enough, the brain will not be able to store this knowledge in the memory.
Lack of quality sleep has also been connected to conditions such as the following:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- coronary artery disease
The stage of sleep known as deep sleep has been linked to specific conditions, including the following:
- night terrors
- sleep eating
How much deep sleep do you need?
You enter a non-REM sleep stage for around 75 percent of the night and a REM sleep stage for the remaining 25 percent of the night. Deep sleep accounts for between 13 and 23 percent of the entirety of your complete sleep time.
In spite of this, the quality of one’s deep sleep diminishes with age. If you are younger than 30 years old, you might only get two hours of quality sleep per night. On the other side, if you are above the age of 65, you might only receive a half an hour of deep sleep each night, or you might not get any at all.
The amount of deep sleep a person needs is not mandated by anybody or anything, but younger people may need more of it because it helps them grow and develop. Even as they age, people still require deep sleep, but just because they don’t receive as much of it doesn’t necessarily mean they have a sleep issue.
How do you determine the amount tof deep sleep you are obtaining?
If you find that you are waking up feeling fatigued on a regular basis, this could be an indication that you are not receiving enough deep sleep.
Wearable technology can monitor your sleep quality by following the movements of your body while you are in bed at home. This technology is still in the early stages of development. It is possible that it will assist in identifying sleep patterns; nevertheless, it is not likely to be an accurate predictor of the amount of deep sleep you are obtaining.
Your physician may suggest that you get a sleep study known as a polysomnography (PSG). During this portion of the exam, you will be required to stay overnight at a laboratory where you will be hooked up to monitors that measure:
- rhythm of breathing
- oxygen levels
- body motions
- rate of the heart
- waves of the brain
This information can be used to help determine whether or not you are attaining deep sleep as well as various stages of sleep during the night.
Tips for better sleep
The presence of heat has been shown to induce increased slow-wave sleep. For instance, before to going to bed, improving the quality of your sleep by taking a steamy shower or spending some time in a sauna may be helpful.
Although additional research is required in this area, there is some evidence that taking some antidepressants or following a diet low in carbohydrates may also enhance deep sleep.
It’s possible that getting enough sleep in general will help you sleep more deeply.
Here’s some tips:
- Establish a regular nighttime routine for yourself, in which you will go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day.
- Get plenty of physical activity. A reasonable starting point for daily exercise is between 20 and 30 minutes, although you should try to avoid exercising in the hours leading up to night.
- Drink only water or other beverages that are caffeine-free before going to bed. It may be more difficult to get a decent night’s sleep if you consume caffeine, alcohol, or nicotine.
- Develop some sort of ritual to follow before going to bed in order to wind down from the activities of the day, such as reading a book or taking a bath.
- Get rid of any distracting bright lights or loud noises in your bedroom. It may be difficult to unwind if you spend too much time in front of the television or computer.
- You shouldn’t be tossing and turning in bed all night. Think about getting up and doing something simple, like reading, until you feel like you need to sleep again.
- If you’ve had the same pillows for more than a year and still can’t seem to get comfortable on your bed, you might want to think about acquiring new ones.
Read Also – Purpose of Sleep
What constitutes a healthy pattern of sleeping?
Be consistent. Maintain a consistent sleep schedule by going to bed at the same time every night and getting up at the same time every morning, including on the weekends. Make sure that your bedroom is calm, peaceful, dark, and pleasant, and that the temperature is just right for you. Take all televisions, computers, and mobile phones, as well as any other electronic gadgets, out of the bedroom.
How long is the ideal sleep cycle?
You go through the various stages of non-REM sleep before entering a brief period of REM sleep. The cycle then restarts at step 1. A whole sleep cycle lasts 90 to 110 minutes.
Do dreams indicate a good night’s sleep?
Dreaming is a natural element of healthy sleep. Good sleep has been related to improved cognitive function and emotional wellness, and studies have also linked dreams to effective thinking, memory, and emotional processing.
How do you know if you got enough sleep?
In general, the following characteristics describe good sleep quality: You fall asleep within 30 minutes or less of getting into bed. You usually sleep soundly during the night, waking up no more than once. You can sleep the suggested number of hours for your age group.
What exactly are unhealthy sleep patterns?
Inadequate sleep and persistent insomnia can result from an inconsistent sleep schedule, such as going to bed too late and sleeping in. Sleep Tip: Stick to a regular sleep pattern based on when you need to get up each day. Experts recommend getting at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night.
- American Sleep Association. (n.d.). What is deep sleep? How to get more of it.
- American Sleep Association. (n.d.). Stages of sleep.