The 5 Stages of Sleep
Friday, June 26, 2015
Stage One Sleep is the lightest and comes as a person just doses off. This is a light sleep where people drift in and out of sleep. The eyes move slowly and muscle activity slows. They can be awakened easily. Some may experience sudden muscle contractions after a sensation of falling.
Stage Two Sleep is when eye movement stops and brain waves become slower although there will be an occasional burst of rapid brain waves.
Stage Three Sleep is when an EEG (ElectroEncephaloGram) records very slow brain waves (SWS – Slow Wave Sleep) called delta waves that are interspersed with smaller, faster waves.
Stage Four Sleep is when most of the slow delta waves are seen. Stages 3 and 4 are called deep sleep. It is very difficult to awaken someone from these levels. There is no eye movement or muscle activity during these stages. Bed wetting, sleep walking or night terrors happen during stage four.
Stage Five Sleep, the last stage, is called REM or Rapid Eye Movement sleep. Breathing is more rapid, irregular and shallow. The eyes jerk rapidly. The arm and leg muscles are temporarily paralyzed. The EEG brain waves during this stage are similar to levels experienced by an awake individual. The REM stage is when most dreams occur. Our circadian rhythms, which are hardwired, contribute to a variety of hormonal releases, and these in turn contribute to the production of an optimal sleeping environment that will facilitate the greatest possible restoration for our bodies.
What is the good news in all of this? We can choose to synchronize ourselves with these natural rhythms and reap the benefits. In order to do this, we should get to bed early on a regular basis.