The Type of Sleep You Get Matters!
Are you getting enough shut-eye but still feeling groggy when you wake up? The type of sleep you get matters, and a sleep schedule can help ensure you’re cycling through all the stages of sleep your body needs.
Sleep is broken up into four different stages. During the first stage, which only lasts about 5–10 minutes, your body is softly drifting off, and as your brain slows down, your breathing and heartbeat slow as well. When you transition to the second stage, you become less aware of your surroundings, your eye movements cease, and your body temperature drops.
Moving into the third stage, your body will drift into a deep sleep, where you will not be awakened by small noises and your muscles are completely relaxed. In the fourth stage, your body is in a deep, restful state. In stages three and four, you’re getting REM sleep, which is when your body is in its deepest sleep, and your breathing, heart rate, and temperature all reach the lowest level. In these stages, your body is able to fight sickness, begin repairing itself, and commit information to memory. During REM sleep, which occurs about 90 minutes after your head hits the pillow, your body is completely relaxed, and you begin to dream.
Throughout the night, you will progress through these stages of sleep multiple times, but usually not in a perfect sequence. You will likely be in each stage of sleep about 4–5 times per night, and one cycle typically lasts about 90–110 minutes. Too much or too little REM or non-REM sleep can affect the quality of your sleep and how refreshed you feel.
Quality sleep is important to make sure you are recharging your body, strengthening your mind and immune system, and prioritizing your health. If you never achieve deep sleep throughout the night, sleep deprivation sets in, and you won’t get the proper rest you need to recover.
By setting a sleep schedule, you can make sure you are hitting the hay each night at a reasonable hour and allowing yourself to properly cycle through the different stages of sleep. Be sure to clear your mind before tucking yourself into bed and make sure your bed is comfortable to promote the best possible sleep — your body counts on it!
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