The Science of Sleep: Understanding the Different Sleep Stages

Sleep is essential for our physical and mental health. Learn about the five stages of sleep ranging from non-rapid eye movement (NREM) to rapid eye movement (REM) and how understanding them can help you get a better night's rest.

The Science of Sleep: Understanding the Different Sleep Stages

Sleep is a complex process that is essential for our physical and mental health. While most adults are aware that they should aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night, the science of sleep is quite intricate. There are five stages of sleep that range from non-rapid eye movement (NREM) to rapid eye movement (REM) and include sleepiness, light sleep, moderate to deep sleep, deep sleep, and REM sleep. Each stage plays an important role in helping us to feel rested and energized.

Slow wave sleep, also known as deep sleep, is an important stage in the sleep cycle that allows for adequate brain function and memory. Deep sleep plays an essential role in memory, so the body may struggle to create new memories or retain information if it doesn't get enough sleep. Aging is also linked to shorter sleep periods, although studies show that you still need to sleep as much as when you were younger. In addition to marking the beginning of your sleep period, stage 1 sleep also occurs between each later stage of sleep.

It effectively eliminates the accumulated need for sleep that accumulates during a normal waking day, and can play an important role in helping to clear the brain for new learning the next day. REM sleep is interesting and almost science fiction material. It further delves into brain recovery, sleep, and processing memories and emotions. A key step in improving your overall quality of sleep is to focus on improving your sleep hygiene, which refers to your sleep environment (the best mattress, the best pillows or sheets, etc.).Experts have recommended that adults should aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night.

New research aims to identify not only the total amount of sleep you need, but also the amount of each stage of sleep you need. Understanding the different stages of sleep can help you get a better night's rest and improve your overall health.

Sue Ashauer
Sue Ashauer

General food junkie. Extreme zombie buff. Extreme coffee trailblazer. Hipster-friendly travel guru. Devoted food trailblazer. Tv buff.

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