Did you know? Sleep researchers divide sleep into four stages—stages 1, 2, 3, which are NON-REM and stage 4 which is REM. During the course of an eight-hour sleep period, a healthy sleeper should cycle through the various sleep stages roughly every 90 minutes.
Here we’ve given you an overview of the different stages of sleep. It’s fascinating to understand what your body goes through and the changes it experiences during these vital eight hours.
The sleep cycle begins here. This is the lighter stage of sleep. It’s when you’ve just drifted off to sleep, you’re still hearing things and have a sense of awareness so you can still be easily woken. During stage 1, your brain produces alpha and theta waves and your eye movements slow down. This stage usually only lasts around 7 – 10 minutes.
Fun fact: It’s common for people to experience sudden jerks or a sensation of falling during this stage.
during this stage, you are in a slightly deeper sleep which means you are less likely to awaken. It is during stage 2 where your body temperature drops and your heartbeat slows down. The brain produces sudden increases in brain wave frequency known as sleep spindles. Following a spindle, the brain waves slow down again. Typically, we spend roughly 50% of our sleep time in stage 2.
Fun fact: If you were to schedule a “power nap” you’d want to wake up after this stage, before you head into a deeper sleep.
This is the restorative stage. Stage 3 is the beginning of deep sleep, when the body repairs muscles and tissues, stimulates growth and development, boosts your immune function, and builds up energy to set you up for the day ahead.
Fact: it is during this stage when parasomnias like sleepwalking, talking or night terrors happen.
This is the deepest of the four stages. It is during this stage when most dreaming happens, usually vivid ones too.Your eyes move rapidly in different directions (Rapid Eye Movement), your heart rate increases and breathing becomes more irregular. REM sleep helps the brain consolidate and process information it has gathered from the previous day, storing and filing it away into long-term memory. You tend to enter REM sleep about 90 minutes after falling asleep and it can last up to an hour.
Fun fact: we often have customers saying they experienced more dreams than usual when they have had Sleep Well before bed. We take this as Sleep Well doing the trick at getting our happy sleepers into a deep sleep.