Although made up of five different stages, sleep is typically characterized by two states: REM and non-REM.
Non-REM sleep is broken down into four stages, ranging from drowsiness to deep sleep; REM sleep is where dreams occur, breathing and heart rate increase and become irregular, muscles relax, and the eyes move back and forth-hence the name “rapid eye movement.”
Here’s how the five stages work:
- Non-REM Stage 1: The transition phase between waking and sleeping. Eye movement is slow, and you have trouble staying awake.
- Non-REM Stage 2: Where real sleep begins and bodily functions slow down. You fall deeper and deeper into sleep, although you can still be easily awakened by sounds.
- Non-REM Stage 3: The transition into deep sleep. The heart rate slows down and the muscles relax completely.
- Non-REM Stage 4: Where breathing and heart rate are at their slowest. If you awaken during this phase, you will probably be groggy or disoriented.
- REM Stage 5: Rapid eye movement occurs during this phase, known as “the dream stage.” If you wake, you may be able to explain a dream you were having.
Something as simple as incorporating bedtime rituals into your routine can help signal your body to slow down for sleep. Try listening to soft music or sip a cup of herbal team to give your body cues to end the day.
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