Know The 5 Stages Of Sleep For Better Rest

From Lifehack - February 26, 2018

We get it. Theres nothing better than an extra 30 minutes of sleep on a warm, cozy bed.

But did you know that it could actually make you more tired?

I know, it sounds counterintuitive. More sleep = more tired doesnt seem like an equation that makes sense, but hear me out.

After launching my language learning company, Rype, my sleep was completely out of wack. Some nights I would only get 2-3 hours of sleep, while other nights I would get 10, and still feel exhausted. If you can relate, I hope to share the 5 different stages of sleep we all experience, and some actionable tips to help you sleep better!

The 5 Stages of Sleep

It turns out that there are 5 major sleep stages that we all go through during the night. Starting with

Stage 1 (NREM)

In this first stage, youre in a NREM (non-rapid eye moment) stage. This is when youre floating in and out of consciousness. Its that moment when you feel awake but you also notice your mind is drifting away. You may also feel your muscle jerk that wakes you up into consciousness, also known as hypnic myoclonia.

Stage 2 (NREM)

Stage 2 is when you start to enter the lighter phases of sleep. About half of our sleep time is spent during this NREM stage. This is when your muscle and heart rate begins to relax, and your brain slowly dwindles down.

Stage 3 & 4 (NREM)

These next two stages are combined as they have very similar effects on your sleep, called slow wave sleep (SWS). This is known as the deepest part of the sleep cycle, and one must not be woken up during this stage. If youve ever been abruptly woken up in a groggy state, you were probably experiencing slow wave sleep.

The other reason why SWS is vital is because the body rejuvenates itself during this stage. Growth hormones are released, which is used to heal muscle and tissues, and provides important oxygen and nutrients to the body.

Fun fact: these are also the stages when children (or adults) experience sleep walking and bedwetting.

Stage 5 (REM)

This is the final stage of the sleep cycle, and the only stage where you experience REM (rapid eye moment) sleep. While we only spend 20% of our time during this stage, its when the brain is most active. Its likely the most important stage as well because the brain is revitalized for daytime functioning.

The majority of our dreams are also occuring in this final stage of sleep, and the brain waves appear as if were awake.

How to Improve Your Sleep Quality

The real question is, how do we actually sleep better? Ive spent hundreds of dollars and hours experimenting with different solutions, and these are the best tips I have found to be helpful.

Next steps


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