Sleep Stages

As mentioned in the last post about sleep, people who struggle with falling asleep and/or staying asleep often feel like they are not sleeping at all. But in reality they may just be experiencing too much “light sleep”. When it comes to sleep there are 3 stages, Light Sleep, Deep Sleep and Dream Sleep.

Light Sleep is the pathway to Deep Sleep and Dream Sleep. So a night of sleep may follow the following pattern.

▫️Wake
▫️Light Sleep
▫️Deep Sleep
▫️Light Sleep
▫️Dream Sleep
▫️Light Sleep
▫️Wake

Light Sleep👁‍🗨

Light Sleep is the first stage of sleep between awake and deep sleep or dreaming. We spend 50% of our night in light sleep, which isn’t very restorative. So if light sleep is interrupted we actually feel like we receive less sleep. This is why people feel like they haven’t slept at all. They were likey in light sleep more than usual, leaving them feeling tired.

REM Sleep = DREAM sleep 〰️

Brain activity in REM sleep mirrors wakefulness
Muscle Activity during REM sleep is minimal. 25% of the night is spent in REM sleep which is typically experienced in 20-40 minute cycles 4-5 times per night. The longest cycle is typically just before you get up. When REM sleep is interupted people tend to experience

-Cognitive difficulties
-Attention problems
-Poor concentration
-Potential mood disruptions.

One little known benefit of REM Sleep is pain regulation. Less REM sleep = less pain tolerance
An additional little known fact about REM sleep is temperature regulation stops during REM/ dreaming.

Deep Sleep 💤

25% of the night is spent in deep sleep with the majority of sleep acitvity occuring during the first half of the night. This type of sleep is the most restorative type of sleep and it makes people feel more rested and not sleepy the next day. This is attributed to the fact that we produce growth hormones during Deep Sleep. You may think you don’t grow anymore, but these Growth Hormones help

🛌 Strengthen your muscles and fortify your bones
🛌 Recovery from injuries
🛌 Boosts your immune system.

As we get older Growth Hormone and Deep Sleep Reduces.

I hope this helps you understand sleep stages a little better. In our 3rd post about sleep I will be sharing tips on how to get better.

Until then, Sweet Dreams!

Donna Minter Durham | Donna Durham Therapy

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Photo by Pim Chu at Unsplash