SLEEP SERIES: All the World’s a Stage

Apr 10, 2018
Categories: Sleep Series
Staebler blog logo
Part three in a five part series
There is a lot more to sleep than meets the eye.
During the night we pass through five distinct phases of sleep which repeat through the night. On average a complete sleep cycle takes between 90 and 110 minutes. The first sleep cycles each night contain relatively short Rapid Eye Movement (REM) periods and long periods of deep sleep.
As the night progresses, however, REM sleep periods increase in length while deep sleep decreases.
Light sleep           
 In Stage 1 we drift in and out of sleep and can be awakened easily. If someone is watching you in this stage they would note slow eye movement and low muscle activity. If you have ever experienced sensations of falling or weird muscle jerks in your sleep then you have been in this stage.
 In Stage 2 we are preparing for deep sleep. Our temperature drops and our heart rate slows. Scientists notice that our eye movement also stops and brain waves become slower with occasional bursts of rapid waves, called sleep spindles.
Deep Sleep       
 In Stage 3 brain waves become very slow (called delta waves), begin to appear interspersed with smaller, faster waves. It is very difficult to wake people in this stage of sleep. It is during this stage that a person may experience sleepwalking, night terrors, talking during sleep, or bedwetting.
 In Stage 4 the brain produces delta waves almost exclusively. It is very difficult to wake in this stage and if forced awake we feel quite disoriented.
REM Sleep 
 Stage 5 is the dream stage. Our brain activity is very similar to when we are fully awake and our eye movement is rapid. We experience several REM sleep stages each night.
You will notice as the night progresses, REM sleep periods increase in length while deep sleep decreases. By morning, people spend nearly all their sleep time in stages one, two, and REM. The first REM sleep period usually occurs about 70 to 90 minutes after we fall asleep.
Good night, sleep tight, hope the bed bugs don’t bite!
– Kim


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts

SLEEP SERIES: Drunken Monkeys

SLEEP SERIES: Drunken Monkeys

Part Four in a Five Part Series Part I: The Land of Nod | Part II: The Dark Ages | Part III: All the World's a Stage Buddha described the human mind as being filled with drunken monkeys, jumping around, screeching, chattering, and carrying on endlessly. His teachings...

read more
SLEEP SERIES: Drunken Monkeys

Sleep Series: The Dark Ages

Part two in a five part series | Part I: The Land of Nod...Why should we go? We humans react to light exposure. This ancient regulatory system controls our sleep/wake cycle by means of naturally occurring hormones called Melatonin. Melatonin causes us to feel sleepy...

read more
SLEEP SERIES: Drunken Monkeys

Sleep Series: The land of Nod…why should we go?

Scientists are pretty clear that sleep is necessary for our survival but they are still trying to learn exactly why people need sleep. Too little sleep leaves us drowsy and unable to concentrate. It also impacts our memory function, physical and cognitive performance....

read more