While asleep, the body moves through a cycle of five different stages: 1, 2, 3, 4 and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. The sleep cycle lasts an average of 90 minutes and throughout the night, the body goes through this cycle four-six times. Each stage of sleep performs a different restorative function, which is why without a full night of sleep, your body and mind lack the essentials to help you get through the day. Learn about each stage below:
Stage 1: The Lightest Stage
During this phase, you drift in and out of consciousness. Your muscles begin to relax and your brain activity slows down. You still remain somewhat alert and can be easily woken.
Stage 2: Beginning of Sleep
The second stage is also rather light. During this stage, your brain and muscle activity slows down further and your brain produces waves that are called sleep spindles. Your body temperature starts to drop and your heart rate slows down as preparation for deep sleep.
Stages 3 & 4: Slow Wave Sleep
These two stages are deeper stages of sleep. These stages are often the hardest to wake up from and are known as “slow wave sleep” because the brain waves slow to delta waves (extremely slow brain waves). This type of sleep is comprised of the deepest stage of NREM. These phases are extremely rejuvenating to the body.
Stages 5: (REM) Rapid Eye Movement Sleep
Dreaming occurs during this phase. This phase is unlike the previous four phases because the brain is very active while skeletal muscles remain atonic. Your mind energizes itself while your body is immobile. During this phase, your eyes remain closed but move rapidly from side to side. This stage revitalizes the brain to support daytime function.
Summer has begun! As temperatures rise, you may find yourself struggling to fall asleep because it’s too hot. The temperature of your sleep environment is crucial to a good night’s sleep. The suggested bedroom temperature for quality sleep is 60-67 degrees (Sleep.org) – due to the fact your body decreases temperature to initiate sleep. So how can you still get quality snooze time in during the hottest months of the year? We’ve put together some tips to help you stay cool and get adequate sleep during the summer.
- Type of bedding – Linen and cotton both wick moisture and are breathable fabrics. If you’re getting cotton sheets for summer, a lower thread count is suggested because the higher the thread count, the more tightly knit and less breathable the fabric.
- Windows – Use blinds during the day to keep out the sunlight if the temperature is hotter outside. If it’s colder outside at night, open your windows to help increase air circulation and cool the room down.
- Fan – If you don’t have an air conditioner, using a high-powered fan will be helpful. However, if you leave the fan fixed to your face, it will cool your body unevenly. A solution for this is to bounce the breeze off of a wall by pointing the fan towards a wall. Doing so will help spread the breeze along a wider area, helping cool your body more evenly. (Yawn Central)
- Shower – Take a refreshing shower before bed to help you cool off. Going to bed with wet hair can help you to stay cool throughout the night.
- Water – Dehydration is more common during the summer because of the heat. Not getting an adequate amount of water can make you feel tired all day. Try drinking some water 30 minutes before you go to bed. (POPSUGAR Fitness)
A few recommendations by the Sleep Council include:
– Remove your duvet and use cotton sheets
– Tie back long hair
– Drink plenty of water
– Chill socks and pillowcase in the refrigerator
For more information on sleep disorders and how to discover quality sleep, please visit www.amerisleepsd.com or contact us at 619-717-8102.