Sleep is as essential as food to keep us alive. It is a biological process that cannot be substituted and to be healthy human bodies need to get a good night’s sleep every night. Although sleep seems to be such a restful state, in reality our brain keeps working even when we sleep. Nowadays sleep issues are very common due to a range of reasons. Unhealthy lifestyle and stress are the main factors that cause sleep disturbances. Sleep cycle involves 5 series of stages that we are going through while sleeping and if one stage is disrupted it can disrupt the entire cycle. If you have trouble sleeping, understanding the stages of sleep will be very helpful in readjusting your sleep cycle. Read here to learn about the stages of sleep.

Stage 1

Stage 1 is a transition between waking and sleep. It is a stage of very light sleep where you can be easily awakened. Your muscle activity slows down here and eyes start moving slowly.  It is a stage of falling asleep so it should last a couple of minutes, but if the person has difficulty falling asleep it will take longer. To help you fall asleep you need to make some behavioural changes and relax your mind and body very well before going to bed.

Stage 2

During stage 2 your heart rate slows and body temperature drops to prepare for the next stage which is deep sleep. Eyes stop moving and brain activity becomes slower. This stage lasts 5-10 minutes.

Stage 3 & 4

These are the stages of deep sleep. Here you body gets rest and energy. Your brain and muscle activity are significantly decreased with the long and slow delta waves beginning in the brain. When roused from this state a person will feel disoriented for a few minutes. During stage 4 the sleep is even deeper and here the unconscious activity of the night may occur, such as sleep walking or nightmares.

REM

REM (rapid eye movement stage) is the deepest stage of sleep. During this stage your eyes move rapidly because of high brain activity. It is a stage when you have vivid dreams which you can then remember upon waking up. Heart rate and blood pressure increase, body temperature decreases, and muscles are temporarily paralyzed in this stage.

Insomnia and other sleep issues affect the sleep function thus we have an overall disruption in these stages. The most common problem is falling asleep, trouble passing through the first stage of sleep. Coming into a restful relaxed state before going to bed is what you need to achieve. But if you find it hard to relax you can try Ambien or over-the-counter medications. Sleep aid will help you to get and stay asleep.