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If you’ve never slept in your life than you’re probably working as an extra zombie on the set of ‘The Walking Dead’ and you may be excused to leave this blog. However, if you do sleep, than it’s good to know you’re a human being and humans sleep. In fact we humans spend a third of our lives sleeping. That roughly estimates to be 25 years of just sleeping. Since sleep is such an important component, it’s essential to get a brief understanding of stages of sleep.
The Non Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) occurs 75% of the night, just when we’re about to fall asleep and composes of stages 1 – 4.
The stage 1 phase occurs allot, well that’s if you’re a university student trapped in a 3 hour long lecture. You know that feeling when your head is tilting down, your elbows glued on the miniature desk, only to be awoken abruptly by sniggering peers. A quick glance at the time and to your disappointment only 30 seconds passed. So that is basically stage 1 in a nutshell, but to be more specific Stage 1 consists of;
- Light sleep
- Between being awake and asleep
- Onset of sleep slowly progresses
- Disengaged from your surroundings
- Breathing and heart rate are regular
- Your body temperature starts to drop, hence why its ideal to sleep in a cool environment
Stages 3 and 4
- Deepest and restorative sleep
- Blood pressure drops
- Your breathing becomes slower
- Muscles are relaxed
- Bloody supply to muscles increases
- Tissue growth and repair occurs
- Energy is restored
- Hormones are released, such as growth hormone critical for growth and development as well as muscle development
Rapid Eye Movement (REM)
It happens 25% of the night and usually occurs after the first 90 minutes of falling asleep and recurs about every 90 minutes, only to increase later at night.
- Provides energy to brain and body
- Support daytime performance
- Brain is active and dreams start to occur
- Eyes tend to dart back and forth
- Body is immobile and relaxed as muscles are switched off
- Hormone cortisol drops at bed time, increasing overnight to promote alertness
Sleep is essential to make us properly function and prepares our body to tackle the next day.
Sam & Sara