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The significance of sleep cannot be stressed enough. Resting for a few hours can rejuvenate your body and refresh your mind. It can ensure that you wake up feeling revived and relaxed to stay alert for the rest of the day. Sleeping peacefully through the night can help you focus on the tasks at hand and ensure high productivity. For those interested in learning more about sleep and what makes you rest at night, here is some information. Have a look!

Overview of sleep

Sleep stimulates your body and senses and ensures good health. Basically, it is of two types, rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, and non-rapid eye movement (Non-REM) sleep. The latter is also known as deep sleep or slow-wave sleep. Generally, both types of sleep occur at regular intervals of 3-5 cycles each night. A person’s ability to function and operate through the day relies upon whether or not he is getting enough rest. If he is resting at the time when his body is prepared to sleep also influences his ability to stay alert.

What makes you sleep?

Several factors decide when you are ready to rest. One of them is your internal body clock. It works on a 24-hour body rhythm, also known as circadian rhythm. It is synced with certain environmental cues like light, darkness, and sound to determine when you should be feeling drowsy. 

Two processes, including the pressure to sleep that builds every hour you spend staying awake and the drive for rest that peaks during the evening, interact to control this rhythm. A compound, namely adenosine, is associated with the drive for sleep. So, when a person is awake, it keeps building in the brain and signals a shift towards rest. And, when you finally fall asleep, adenosine breaks down in the body. 

Also, your body discharges certain chemicals in daily rhythm to control your internal clock. When it is dark, melatonin is released to signal your body that it is time to sleep. As a result, the amount of melatonin present in your bloodstream peaks as the evening arrives. Experts believe that this peak has a vital role in preparing your body for rest. But, exposing yourself to bright artificial light can disrupt this process. So, if you are watching TV late at night or using your phone until midnight, it can make it hard for you to fall asleep. 

Just as there is a hormone that induces sleep, your body also releases a hormone called cortisol that naturally prepares your body to wake up. However, the timing and rhythm of this clock can alter as you age. Children and adults fall asleep early than teens. One of the reasons for this is that in teens, melatonin is released and peaks later in the 24-hour cycle. 

Sleep is as essential as food or oxygen for your body. Your internal body clock controlled by pressure to sleep and drive for rest are responsible for making you rest at night.

Jakson Mar 23 · Tags: types of sleep
jakson lee

Sleep is an essential part of your routine, and you spend a significant part of your day resting. Quality sleep recharges your brain and body and strengthens your mind to create new memories. People who fail to achieve a good night’s sleep find it hard to concentrate and respond. It is so because sleep supports several brain functions, including how nerve cells communicate with each other. Recent findings also reveal that resting plays a housekeeping role and removes toxins in your mind that build up when you are awake. Here is some vital information for those interested in knowing more about sleep and its stages. Have a look!

Sleep stages

Basically, there are two types of sleep, rapid eye movement (REM) and non-REM sleep. Both are linked with specific brain waves and neural activity.

In Stage 1of non-REM sleep, you go from being awake to asleep. Here, your heartbeat, breathing, and eye movements slow down, and your muscles start relaxing. In addition, in stage 1, the brain waves slow down from the daytime wakefulness patterns.

Stage 2of non-REM sleep features light rest. At this stage, your breathing slows, muscles relax, and your body temperature drops. The brain activity slows even further and is marked by brief bursts of electrical activity. 

Stage 3of non-REM sleep is the period where you enter deep rest. At this stage, your muscles get relaxed, and it becomes hard to awaken you. 

REM sleephappens in the first 90 minutes of falling asleep. Your eyes move rapidly, and breathing gets faster and irregular during this stage. Most dreaming occurs during REM sleep, although some people also dream during the non-REM phase. 

Sleep mechanisms

Two internal biological mechanisms work in sync with each other to regulate your sleep and wake cycle. These are:

Circadian rhythmscontrol your sleep-wake cycle and cause you to be sleepy. This system is responsible for waking you up in the morning without an alarm. It is controlled by your body’s biological clock and syncs with environmental cues like light and temperature.

Sleep-wake homeostasistracks your need for rest. It is responsible for reminding your body to sleep after a certain time and controls sleep intensity. The sleep-wake homeostasis makes you more sleepy with every passing hour and causes you to rest longer after a period of sleep deprivation.

How to sleep better?

  • Consuming caffeine past the afternoon in any form should be avoided for a peaceful night of rest.

  • Don’t lie awake in your bed. If you can’t sleep, get up and do something else. 

  • Exercise for some time, like 20 to 30 minutes a day, no later than a few hours. 

  • Follow a sleep timetable so that you wake up and rest at the same time every day.

  • Follow a sleep ritual, like listening to music or taking a hot water bath before heading off to bed.

Sleep can be classified into REM and non-REM sleep. It is controlled by sleep-wake homeostasis and circadian rhythm mechanisms. 

Monika sharma

It is no secret that sleep is essential for your body. It is one of the most vital activities you carry out during the day. It is so because the time you devote to sleep is used to sort through the memories, grow bones, repair muscles, and manage hormones. It is allocated to re-energize your body.

As you sleep, the brain cycles through four stages of sleep. While stages one to three are non-rapid eye movement phases referred to as quiet sleep, stage 4 is rapid eye movement (REM) sleep called active or paradoxical sleep. Let's understand these cycles in detail!

What happens during non-REM sleep?

When you rest, first comes the non-REM sleep, during which your eyes move rapidly in a range of directions but do not send any visual information to the brain. This types of sleepconsists of three stages that can last from 5 to 15 minutes.

Stage 1

During this stage, even if your eyes are closed, you are not in a deep sleep. The phase can last for 5 to 10 minutes, and in this stage, you can be easily woken up.

  • Stage 2

In this stage, you are in light sleep. Here, you are ready to enter the deep sleep stage. The phase is marked by a slow heart rate and body temperature drop. It can last for 10-25 minutes.

  • Stage 3

Stage 3 is the deep sleep stage of non-REM sleep. It isn't easy to arouse anyone from this phase. And, even if someone wakes up, he is bound to feel disoriented and confused for at least a few minutes after getting up.

The deep stages of NREM sleep are devoted to repairing and re-growing tissues, building bones and muscles, and strengthening your immune system. Unfortunately, people tend to sleep lightly and get less deep sleep as they grow. 

What is REM sleep?

Generally, one enters the REM stage of sleep after resting for 90 minutes. The first REM period lasts for 10 minutes, while the later stages tend to get longer, with the final one stretching up to at least an hour. By the time you reach this stage, your heart rate and breathing quicken. The phase is characterized by intense dreams since your brain is very active in REM sleep. While babies spend about 50% of their resting time in this stage, the period gets shorter and reduces to only 20% in adults.

REM is a significant part of the sleep cycle as it stimulates those areas of the brain that help with learning and are associated with the increased production of proteins. 

So, non-Rem and REM are two types of sleep you enter while resting. They allow you to drift off into deep rest and give you an opportunity to re-energize and rejuvenate.

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