Stages of Human Sleep, What are the Phases?

The stages of human sleep include the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) and non-REM phases. In the REM phase, the eyes move rapidly in all directions. Meanwhile, during the non-REM phase, that doesn’t happen.

Table of Content

1. Non-REM sleep stages
2. What about the REM phase?
3. Tips for getting a good night’s sleep so that the stages of sleep are not disturbed

When a person is asleep, there are so many things that happen. The stages of human sleep are not just falling asleep and waking up again, but much more complicated. There is a cycle that occurs between the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) and non-REM phases.

One feature that distinguishes REM and non-REM phases is that during REM, the eyes move rapidly in all directions. Meanwhile, during the non-REM phase, that doesn’t happen.

If for many people sleep becomes a time of peaceful rest, this is not the case with people with Congenital Central Hypoventilation Syndrome (CCHS). They may not wake up again when they ‘forget’ to breathe while asleep.

According To PhysioPathoPharmaco Stages of Sleep – non-REM, REM, Sleep Studies

Non-REM sleep stages

Of course, many are curious about what stages of sleep occur. Before reaching the REM phase, there is a non-REM phase. After these two phases are passed, the phase will continue to repeat itself.

Here are the stages of a human’s sleep in the non-REM phase:

1. Level 1

In this first stage, a person’s eyes will be closed but still easy to wake up. Usually this first stage of sleep lasts for 5 to 10 minutes.

2. Level 2

After passing the first stage, enter the light sleep stage. Heart rate begins to slow down and body temperature drops too. The body is ready to enter the deep sleep phase.

3. Level 3

The third stage is when deep sleep occurs. At this stage, the body repairs tissues build bones and muscles and strengthen the immune system.

In this phase, a person is more difficult to wake up. When you wake up suddenly, you will feel disoriented for a few minutes.

What about the REM phase? 

The REM phase usually occurs 90 minutes after a person falls asleep. It is in this phase that a person’s breathing becomes faster and irregular so that the heart rate and blood pressure are at levels as if they would be awake again.

The first phase of REM usually lasts 10 minutes. Each stage will be longer until it reaches 1 hour.

Most dreams occur in this phase when the body becomes ‘paralyzed’ so that it does not move when dreaming.

Interestingly, there are contrasting differences between adults and infants. In adults, this stage of REM sleep only occurs for 20 percent. While in infants, 50% of their sleep is in the REM phase.

Tips for getting a good night’s sleep so that the stages of sleep are not disturbed

Reporting from the Mayo Clinic page, good sleep directly affects your mental and physical health. Lack of sleep can affect your productivity, emotional balance and even your weight. While you may not be able to control the factors that can disrupt your sleep, you can adopt habits that promote better sleep. Here are tips you can try.

1. Adhere to a sleep schedule

The recommended amount of sleep for a healthy adult is at least seven hours. However, it would be nice if you can get eight hours of sleep to optimize your activity.

Try to limit the difference in your sleep time at night and on weekends to no more than an hour. If you’ve hit bedtime but haven’t fallen asleep in about 20 minutes, leave your room and do something relaxing, like listening to music. Return to bed when you are tired and repeat as needed.

2. Watch what you eat and drink

Avoid sleeping when you are hungry or full. Stop heavy eating habits within a few hours before bed. Your discomfort may keep you awake and make it difficult to fall asleep.

Nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol are also worth watching out for. The stimulatory effects of nicotine and caffeine take hours to wear off and can impair sleep. And although alcohol can make you sleepy, it can interfere with sleep at night.

3. Create a calm environment

Create the ideal room for sleeping. A cool, dark and quiet bedroom can generally improve sleep quality. Avoid using light-emitting screens such as laptops and cellphones for a long time before bedtime. Consider using darkening curtains, earplugs, fans, or other devices to create an environment that suits your needs.

4. Limit daytime naps

Long naps can disrupt your night’s sleep. If you choose to take a nap, limit yourself to only getting a 30-minute nap.

However, if you work at night, you may need to take a nap before work to help pay off your sleep debt.

5. Include physical activity in your daily routine

Regular physical activity can improve the quality of your sleep. However, avoid physical activity that is too close to bedtime. Spending time outdoors every day may also improve the quality of your sleep.

6. Manage worries

Try to resolve your problem or concern before going to bed. Write down what’s on your mind and set it aside for tomorrow. Stress management may be able to help. Start with the basics, like organizing, setting priorities, and delegating tasks. Meditation can also relieve anxiety.

7. Know when to go to the doctor 

Almost everyone sometimes can not sleep at night. However, if you experience protracted sleeplessness, contact your doctor immediately for further examination. Identifying and treating the underlying cause can help you get better sleep.

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