Would you like to have a better understanding of what’s happening in your brain and body while you sleep? It’s more than just your body going dormant for your night; in fact, they both remain quite active. From the moment your eyes start to feel heavy until you wake up, there are stages of rest that you experience. Read on to discover more information about the different stages of sleep.
After you start falling asleep, the brain starts producing alpha and theta waves. This stage can last for a very brief time or up to several minutes. This is considered the first and lightest stage of sleep. This is the stage that most people are referring to when they talk about taking a cat nap. It’s also much easier to be awakened in this stage.
Stage two is the stage best characterized by sleep spindles. These sleep spindles refer to a sudden increase in brain activity which then begins to slow down. Power naps are usually taken in this stage of sleep.
Here is when you start to enter the phase of deep sleep. Your brain starts producing delta waves, which are much slower than the previous wave production. Your eyes and muscles will remain still due to inactivity. In this stage, it’ll take a little more nudging to wake you up because your muscles will be less responsive to stimuli.
Stage four sends you deeper into sleep with your brain producing even more delta waves. This is known as the most restorative stage of sleep, and it becomes even more difficult to wake you up. At this stage, your body begins doing the working of relaxing and repairing your muscles and tissues and begins stimulating growth and development, boosting your immune system, and building energy.
More than just a legendary rock band, REM is short for rapid eye movement. REM sleep starts about 90 minutes after stage one and lasts for about an hour. On average, an adult will go through up to six REM cycles throughout the night. It gets its name from the quick and jerky eye movement that you experience, which coincides with an increase in your heart rate and blood pressure. During this stage, your brain processes information related to your long-term memory.
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