5 Stages Of Sleep Explained

3 min read

stages of sleep
Anindita Bhuyan
Anindita Bhuyan, a graduate of BBA in International Business and a native of Assam. I crave to experience an odyssey and share that via words, that is where I have an eternal love for writing.

We all are well aware of the different stages of human life; a denarian would bravely answer questions about the life cycle of a moth, or the water cycle, and many more such universal activities. 

But the question here is, can you point out any ubiquitous nature of the facts that are being studied? Yes, you are correct! It is the STAGES. Everything in this world follows some stages.

You might be flabbergasted hearing that even the slumber you go to every night, includes five very unique yet interrelated phases that are termed as the 5 STAGES OF SLEEP

Welcome to this article with the stages, you might have already got an idea that here you will be provided with all the details of the 5 stages of the sleep cycle, sleep stages waves, how long is each stage of sleep, what are stages of sleep cycle, and a heck of a lot of sleep-related to knows.

5 STAGES OF SLEEP

While we wake up in the morning, our mind loses track of time and hence feels like we slept for only an hour or so, when it actually is 8 hours. But that is about the mind; how does your body feel? 

Do you feel fresh and energized? Does your body regain its strength?

So you see, when you sleep, your body performs a lot of tasks. They surpass different stages, which can be broadly categorized into two categories: REM and the Non-REM.

The Rapid Eye Movement aka REM sleep comprises only one stage contrary to which the Non-REM category consists of four stages. The stages in detail are:

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Non-Rapid Eye movement (REM)

Stage1: Wake

Wake can be dignified the initial stage of the sleep cycle. This is the period when you go to bed, make quick plans for the coming day, close your eyes in order to sleep, and then start hallucinating.

It is usually not possible for someone to directly go to bed and get engulfed by deep sleep. Seldom you may find a case like this when the person is completely exhausted or drunk.

During this stage

  • Two of the sleep stages waves that our brain produces include Alpha and Theta.
  • Your body might give sudden jolts, vibrations, or shakiness which might wake you up for a second, and then again you will be hallucinating. This phenomenon is known as the hypnic myoclonia.

This period extends a few minutes after you fall asleep until you move to light sleep, which is the next stage.

Stage 2: Light Sleep

This is the period when you get tired of hallucinating and your mind starts to completely detach itself from consciousness. This is where you will not know you are sleeping but you are. 

You might get up if someone moves around you or calls you since you are still not completely enveloped with sleep. This stage will continue for some 15-20 minutes.

During this stage

  • Our brain starts to generate brain waves known as sleep spindles
  • Your ticker starts to relax, decreasing the rate at which it beats
  • Your body temperature starts to drop down
  • Your body parts start gaining weight as a result of your muscles relaxing
  • Respiration slows down

Stage 3: Transitional Stage

This is the shortest phase among all the 5 stages of sleep. In this stage, you will move from light to deep sleep. The sleep waves that your brain will produce include delta waves (these are quite deep and slow waves).

Stage 4: Deep Sleep

You must have already started hankering about the last time you had a deep sleep. Deep sleep is the saga where your mind is completely asleep. 

In a direct sense, this is the stage where you are completely taken over by sleep. You tend to lose contact with whatever is going around you. This NREM stage will last for somewhat around 30 minutes.

During this stage

  • Your heartbeat will drop to the lowest point,
  • Cells start to grow and repair themselves,
  • Releases repair hormones, also known as the growth hormone,
  • The brain continues to produce Delta waves,
  • The body rejuvenates itself by extirpating all the waste, such as mental stress, body aches, eye pain, etc.
  • You might also sleepwalk to the end of this stage.
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Stage 5: Rapid Eye Movement (REM)

Our body gains consciousness way after our mind gains them. This is the stage from when our brain starts to activate. So in a gist deep sleep is the only period when our mind sleeps.

All those utopian dreams that you see are at this stage. Dreams are a result of our mind working fast as hell, and since our body sleeps we are unable to recall some of the dreams until morning.

During this stage

  • Heartbeats start to increase
  • Respiration also fastens, ultimately leading to normal frequency
  • The flow of blood increases
  • Less fluctuation of temperature i.e. stays the level at which it was during deep sleep and finally gets adjusted to the surrounding.
  • Your body stays immobile which helps our unconscious body to not react to nightmares.

Sleep Cycle

All the 5 stages of sleep as you can see in the above section do not mandatorily follow the first- second-generation third- fourth and then fifth sequence. They are not so disciplined. 

We start with the wake stage and then the second, third, and fourth, but before moving to REM sleep, we circulate between the second and third stages for approximately 2-3 times. Finally, we move to REM sleep and then again back to the stage of light sleep. From here we jump a lot from one step to the other.

To sum up, the sleep cycle is not a 1-2-3-4-5 cycle. Instead, it is more of a 1-2-3-4-2-3-2-4-3-5-2-5….(we hope you got the idea).

In a nutshell, what we can conclude from the 5 stages of sleep are

  • Each stage takes an average of 20-25 minutes and they repeat the process many times in the whole sleep cycle, which suggests that people should have ample sleep.
  • What is the most important stage of sleep!!!? What do you think? Deep sleep can be thought of as the most important stage of sleep since this is the only stage where our brain rests. Also, a lot of developmental activities take place.

Have a good sleep!!!