The Stages of Sleep and How They Benefit the Body
by J Wall
divided into 4 different stages of sleep. Each part of the sleep cycle benefits us in a
The stages of sleep actually start with the Non-REM stages. The beginning stage or
stage one is where a person first lies down and closes their eyes. The brain begins to
ramp down activity and start the process of shifting the body into sleep mode. The
person is still aware of things and can be easily awakened at this point. On average
this part of the process only lasts a few minutes.
Stage two of the sleep stages is the following period of light sleep. The heart rate
slows and body temp lowers. The body is finalizing the process of falling asleep and is
getting ready for deep sleep. It is during the deep stages of sleep that the body
performs a number of functions including repair of various tissues, constructing bone
and muscle mass and recharges our energy and immune systems. Most of our
health issues from sleeplessness are a result in a decrease or a lack of the next two
stages where deep sleep occurs as well as REM sleep.
Sleep stages 3 and 4 are really similar with one being deeper than the other.
Sometimes called delta sleep after the type of brain wave activity recorded while
studying people during sleep at these stages, the body is fully asleep. Trying to wake
someone during these two periods of rest is difficult and a person will most likely
take awhile to fully awaken if aroused during one of these stages of sleep.
REM sleep is a sleep stage that occurs after a person has been asleep for a while
(hour and a half to two hours). It lasts for several minutes and then the body shifts
out of it back into deep sleep. The body then shifts back into REM again later and for
a longer period of time. This back and forth pattern can happen several times during
an 8 hour rest. The exact reasons behind this are not fully known. What researchers
do know is that brain activity during REM sleep is almost as active as when a person
is awake. The REM sleep stages are where most of our dreaming happens.
In order for our sleep to be effective we must have enough time to allow for several
cycles of Non-REM and REM sleep. If we miss out on any of these stages of sleep
then our sleep is less restful and we tend to suffer increased risk of health issues
either physically or mentally. When considering how to get a good nights sleep it is
important to look at lifestyle, diet, exercise and other factors that affect our sleep.
Changes in these areas tend to bring about the most lasting results in our sleep
If that doesn't work or you have difficult with any of the for other
reasons it may be necessary to look at prescription sleep medicines or natural
supplements to help you get your full rest. Be care though and discuss this with a
knowledgeable health professional familiar with both. Drugs can have serious side
effects and should be a last resort. Supplements are safer in general, but can interact
with other prescriptions you may be taking so it is a good idea to check. Just know
that it is possible to get solid rest if you really want to. All it takes is some effort and
research on your part.
About The Author
J. Wall has an avid interest in natural remedies for the treatment of Sleeplessness. He
is a regular contributor to the section of
, a site dedicated to improving sleep for everyone.
While sleep is still something of a
mystery, researchers have
determined that there are distinct
stages of sleep that a person goes
through if they get a full night's rest.
The exact function behind each is still
being studied, but scientists have
come up with at least a few reasons
behind the stages. Here's a brief look
Some of you may already be familiar
with the sleep stages of REM and
Non-REM sleep. REM stand for Rapid
Eye Movement and is a distinct period
of rest by itself. Non-REM is actually
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