During Sleep: Our Tour through the Depths of Sleep

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Sleep research has given us the ability to monitor sleep-related activities.

According to Michelle Drerup, a Behavioral Sleep Medicine Specialist

the knowledge of what happens during sleep is derived from ongoing sleep laboratory studies of brain activities, breathing, heartbeat, muscles and eye movements

In this article, I’ll be writing about the research findings on changes in our sleep depth

Have you ever been awakened from a nap and felt as though you hadn’t slept at all?
Or perhaps you felt confused and dazed once you woke up?

It is possible to fall asleep so deeply to the point where it is difficult to wake up. On some nights, our dreams are just as vivid and simple to remember as the events of the day. All of these represent the various depths we experience during sleeping.

As you sleep, your brain transitions through four separate sleep stages. Each with distinct patterns of brain and body activities, playing a pivotal part in helping you get a good night sleep. When the brain drifts through the four different stages of sleep, it completes a sleep cycle. One cycle lasts 90 – 120mins. If you’re getting a solid 7 – 8 hours of sleep at night, you can go through four to six sleep cycles

Stage 1: Drifting-off stage

This first stage kicks off sleep – when one is just taking off to travel in the sleep world. The brain activities, heartbeat, eye movement and breathing all slow down, and muscles relax with random jerks. If someone wakes up at this stage, they feel as if they had not slept at all. Although it’s easy to wake people up in this stage, and if they aren’t interrupted they can swiftly drift into stage 2 with stage 1 often lasting for 5 to 10 minutes.

Stage 2: Light Sleep stage

The heart rate, breathing, and brain activity all become slow. The muscles are fully relax. Short-term memories, such as the day’s events are processes into long-term ones. Typically, we spend 10 to 25 minutes on this stage.

Stage 3: Deep Sleep stage

The brain, muscles, heart, and eyes all begin to function more slowly. At this stage, awakening is the most difficult. If someone is awoken during this stage, they will have a transient moment of mental fogginess and confusion, known as sleep inertia, which lasts for roughly 30 minutes to an hour.
The body grows, heals, and strengthens its immune system during this time, which is crucially restorative. Stage 3 typically lasts between 20 and 40 minutes. One experiences fewer deep sleep stages as they age.

Stage 4: Dream Sleep Stage

The body muscles temporarily become paralyzed at this stage, with the exception of the muscles controlling breathing and vision, as brain activity increases and approaches awake levels.
Even though the eyes are closed, they can be seen moving quickly, which is why this stage is called Rapid Eye Movement (REM) Sleep. This phase is crucial for cognitive processes like learning, memory consolidation, and creativity. Here, our dreams are the clearest. Until you have slept for roughly 90 minutes, you are not in a deep sleep state. This stage extends throughout the night, from a few minutes to an hour. To enter the further cycles, stage 1 which is kicking off stage is skipped, because sleep is already ongoing.

In conclusion…

We now know that during sleep, a lot happens in the body and brain. This is why it’s crucial to get both enough and good quality sleep. Our ability to go through the various stages of sleep determines whether or not we are getting high-quality sleep.

According to John Cline, a fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine

Think of sleep comparable to nutrition, where we should have a balanced collection of sleep stages (much like we include different food classes in a balanced diet), as each stage serves an important purpose

Adopting healthy sleeping practices will ensure that we cycle through all the stages of sleep

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Are you currently facing any sleeping difficulty or looking for the best way to maintain quality sleep for generally wellbeing and healthy living?

A certified specialist is best fit to offer relevant advice for maintenance of quality sleep, sleep difficulties and solution.

Do you want to contact the Orthopaedic Sleep Consultant, Dr Charles Uzodimma, kindly send your request to sleepinfo@vitafoam.com.ng or Whatsapp 08129982143

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