A Good Night’s Sleep Isn’t A Luxury. It’s A Necessity.
Quality sleep is as important to health as a healthy diet and regular exercise. In fact, it affects how you look, feel, and perform on a daily basis and can have an immense impact on your long term health.
While you sleep, your brain and body work together to rest and to recharge your body and mind. Sleep refreshes your brain, boosts your immune system, and repairs damaged cells. It also affects how you think, work, learn, react, interact, perform and feel throughout the day.
The benefits of better sleep:
Achieve peak performance and productivity
Enhance learning, focus and creativity
Maintain a healthy weight
Support emotional and physical well-being
Boost immunity and improve recovery time from illness
Reduce risk of chronic diseases linked to a lack of sleep
A measuring stick for your vitality in life
Five full sleep cycles per night is considered optimal, each lasting about an hour and a half. Within each cycle you can progress from light to deep to REM sleep, sometimes followed by a short wake. While this is typical progression, these stages aren’t always sequential. It’s quite common to switch from and to light sleep multiple times per night.
The 4 main stages of sleep within each cycle:
Considered your baseline, half of the time spent sleeping is in this restful stage. Your brain activity slows and your body relaxes as your heart rate and breathing decrease. It’s ideal to wake up from Light Sleep
After going through your first light sleep, you enter a slow wave stage. Your brain waves, heart rate and breathing slow considerably as your blood pressure lowers and muscles relax. Deep Sleep is vital for physical and immune system restoration. Subsequently , it’s essential for memory, learning, next day cognitive performance and the feeling of being being refreshed and recharged the next day. After each cycle, your need for deep sleep diminishes, so time spent in this stage becomes progressively shorter.
Rapid Eye Movement (REM) Sleep
After deep sleep, you enter periods of REM sleep that become progressively longer throughout each cycle. This is the mental restoration stage of sleep and where most dreaming occurs. Your brain activity levels increase significantly to help process, store and link information, which is critical for creativity, memory, and learning. It also processes the emotional experiences of the day and prepares for upcoming challenges, which greatly impacts your wellbeing. This cycle is more prominent the later cycles.
While preparing for bed, your body starts in a state of wake as you enter the early onset into the light sleep stage. As you continue into the stages of your sleep cycle, you enter brief stages of wakening at night, between the other stages, which is a normal part of sleep. Whether you realize it or not, while in light sleep, its not unusual for your body to become more sensitive to short periods of wake.