The Different Sleeping Stages

February 25, 2011

Sleeping involves more than just lying on your comfy mattress, and it’s not as simple as going to a state of uniform unconsciousness either. In fact, a lot of things happen while we’re sleeping and not all hours of sleep are the same. Indeed, there’s a sleep cycle that gets repeated about 5 times during an 8 hour sleep. You might have heard of terms such as deep sleep and dreaming — they all happen in different stages of a cycle.

There are two basic types of sleeping stage: the non-REM sleep and the REM sleep. REM stands for rapid-eye movement. The non-REM sleep is further divided into four stages:

  • Transition to sleep – this stage lasts for about 5 minutes. Your body starts to relax and muscle activity begins to slow down. This can be very closely related to dozing off. If you’ve been in class where your head starts to nod off out of boredom, you’re probably at this stage. People are easily awakened at this stage.
  • Light sleep – the first stage of true sleep, this stage lasts for about 15 to 25 minutes. Heart beats slow down, muscles relax, and people are not as easily awakened as in the previous stage. This is the stage that most power nappers experience, that’s why power naps are often called light sleep.
  • Deep sleep – people already find it very difficult to awaken at this stage. Those who manage to wake up feel very groggy and disoriented.
  • More intense deep sleep – the deepest stage of the sleep, it is at this stage where blood flows away from your brain and into your muscles to restore their physical energy.

Interestingly, dreams don’t occur in any of these stages. It happens during the REM sleep. This stage happens about 90 minutes after falling asleep. Eyes start to move rapidly. Heart rate speeds up, blood pressure increases. Your arms and legs  feel like you’ve been paralyzed. When you suddenly wake up at this stage, you’ll feel that you can’t move at all. After the REM sleep, your body starts to relax and goes back to the non-REM sleep and this cycle repeats for about 5 times in an 8-hour sleep.

So the next time you climb into bed, remember that those 8 hours of sleep are vital in restoring and refuelling your body. And if you’re going to spend such a long time sleeping  anyway, you might as well get the most comfortable sleep you can with a Uratex mattress.