Sleep stages/cycles

Ok, first of all, every day we go through two processes.

Process 1 is called process S. Process S is a drive that we all have and that is the drive to go to sleep. From the very moment we wake, we start the drive to go back to sleep again and this increases all day and then drops once we go back to sleep!

The second process is process C.

Process C is our Natural Circadian Rhythm. Our circadian rhythm works on a 24 hour basis but for many of us, 24 and a quarter.

90 minute sleep cycle, this cycle repeats through the course of the night, around 4-6 times.

Sleep stages

Stage 1– Our brain waves slow down, we are warm and cosy in our beds, this is the interim period between sleep and wakefulness.  This stage lasts around 5 minutes.

Stage 2– NON REM-We are getting deeper into sleep our sleep cycle. This is the official onset of sleep. Our brainwaves slow down again and become more rhythmic and our body temperature drops. At this stage, we can sometimes experience Hypnagogic jerk, you know when you sometimes wake up with a jolt, one explanation for this happening, is that your body is excreting the excess cortisol you have within your body quickly, hence the jolting. Stage 2 is also where the majority of our memory consolidation occurs, and we also dream in this stage but is black and white dreams. We spend around 45-55% of our night in sleep stage 2.

Stage 3 is called Slow wave sleep or Delta stage of deep non REM sleep.

Our brain waves have really slowed down now and for good reason. Slow wave sleep takes up around 13-23% of our night sleep.

Our immune system is working at 100% in this stage, releasing hormones to cleanse and heal our body, producing those good fighting bugs is what I tell my kids, producing anti-cancer fighting cells, anti-allergens. Blood flow is also directed towards our muscles to restore our physical energy, ready for our day ahead. This is why we sleep a lot when we are unwell, our body is producing more fighting bugs and healing itself, our bodies really are amazing!

Delta stage show smaller and faster brain waves of high amplitude. During this stage a person may experience sleepwalking, night terrors, talking during sleep, and sometimes bed wetting. These behaviours are known as parasomnias. These behaviours tend to occur during the transitions between non-REM and REM sleep.

Back to Stage 2!

Although we don’t wake u when we go back to stage two, we are conscious enough to check our environment is safe and them we move on to REM cycle.

REM cycle

REM stands for Rapid Eye Movement. This stage is also really important. REM cycle takes up around 20-25% of our night.

REM sleep first occurs about 90 minutes after falling asleep.

 The first period of REM typically lasts 10 minutes, with each recurring REM stage lengthening, and the final one lasting an hour.

This stage is where most of your dreaming will occur, although you can get some dreams during non-REM sleep.

 Your breathing becomes irregular and faster and your blood pressure/heart rate increase to near waking levels. Your eyes move rapidly from side to side behind closed eyelids.

 In this stage, your muscles become paralysed, this ensures that you do not act out your dreams. So, your brain safeguards you while you sleep. Our brains really are amazing!

Have a lovely day! x



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