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The Five Stages of Sleep

There are five stages of the natural Sleep Process, stage one is REM (Rapid Eye Movement) whilst stages two to five, fall under the umbrella of SWS (Short Wave Sleep or non REM) as shown in the diagram.

The Sleep Stages

There are five stages of the natural Sleep Process, stage one is REM (Rapid Eye Movement) whilst stages two to five, fall under the umbrella of SWS (Short Wave Sleep or non REM) as shown in the diagram.

Starting in phase 2 adults pass through stages 3, 4, 5, and then onto REM sleep, the cycle is then repeated three or four times. Each time the cycle is repeated it shortens slightly, resulting in us spending less time in deep sleep and more time in REM sleep.

Infants, by contrast, spend about half of their sleep time in REM sleep.

REM (Rapid Eye Movement)

Stage 1 - Dream sleep. When we switch into REM sleep, Stage 1, our breathing becomes more rapid, irregular, and shallow, our eyes jerk rapidly in various directions, and our limb muscles become temporarily paralyzed. Our heart rate increases and blood pressure rises. When people awaken during REM sleep, they often describe bizarre and illogical tales — dreams.

SWS (Short wave sleep or non REM)

Stage 2 – Drowsy. During stage2, which is light sleep, we drift in and out of sleep and can be awakened easily. Our eyes move very slowly and muscle activity slows. People awakened from stage 2 sleep, often remember fragmented visual images. Many also experience sudden muscle contractions called hypnic myoclonia, often preceded by a sensation of starting to fall. These sudden movements are similar to the "jump" we make when startled.

Stage 3 - Light sleep. When we enter stage 3 sleep, our eye movements stop and our brain waves (fluctuations of electrical activity that can be measured by electrodes) become slower, with occasional bursts of rapid waves called sleep spindles.

Stage 4 -Deep sleep. In stage 4, extremely slow brain waves called delta waves begin to appear, interspersed with smaller, faster waves.

Stage 5 - Deep rejuvenating sleep. By stage 5, the brain produces delta waves almost exclusively. It is very difficult to wake someone during stages 3 and 4, which together are called deep sleep. There is no eye movement or muscle activity. People awakened during deep sleep do not adjust immediately and often feel groggy and disoriented for several minutes after they wake up. Some children experience bedwetting, night terrors, or sleepwalking during deep sleep.

Please sleep well, but at the same time, Sleepcheaper!

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