Identifying stages of sleep

Every good sleep necessarily occurs in five stages of sleep. In order to wake up fully rested and with enough energy to keep you active and productive during the day, you need to get well rested, ideally without disruptions and sudden waking up during the night. If your sleep times are too short, you may not go through all the stages of sleep. This may have consequences for your health because your body will not get enough rest and will not be able to function normally. It is immensely important to get a good night’s sleep because it has many benefits for your health. However, there are also some shorter kinds of sleep, which do not require going through all the stages of sleep because they have a slightly different purpose than “proper” sleep.

Descriptions of stages of sleep

Five stages of sleep have been identified. The first stage is light sleep, where it is possible to drift in and out of sleep and be easily woken up. People often have the feeling of falling during this stage. It usually lasts about five to ten minutes. The second stage takes up about half of the time you spend sleeping. In this stage, the brain activity level is reduced. In the third stage, deep sleep begins. In this stage, slower brain waves, the so-called delta waves, combine with faster waves. The fourth one of the stages of sleep is actually the second stage of deep sleep. The brain makes only delta waves in this stage and that is why people are not easily woken up in this stage. The last stage is known as REM (Rapid Eye Movement) and is the stage in which dreaming occurs. A person is most likely to sweat and breathe deeply and heavily during this stage. All of these stages of sleep in order to feel rested and full of energy.

Stages of sleep in power naps

Power naps work through fewer stages of sleep than “regular” sleeping. The main characteristic of power naps is that they bring maximum rest in a short period of time. Not all stages of sleep are necessary nor is there enough time for all of them to occur. Power naps typically include only the first two: the first stage includes lightly falling into sleep, where breathing slows down and there is some eye and jaw movement. In the second stage, body temperature lowers and muscles relax. Power naps will typically last for 15 to 30 minutes and not include the last three stages of sleep.

Sequence and significance of stages of sleep

Each one of the stages of sleep has its own importance. For example, stage two has enormous benefits for energy restoration and is most important for power naps. During the later stages of sleep, your brain activity will slow down and your muscles will relax. It is important to note that the stages do not appear in a linear way during sleep. When we go to sleep, the stages of sleep appear in a cyclical way – we go through stages 2, 3 and 4 a couple of time before going into REM, and afterwards we return into stage 2 before waking up.

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