Some days may feel refreshed when you wake up, and other days you can't get out of bed. Although you get enough amount of sleep constantly, sometimes it just becomes hard to stay up. You may feel drowsy even after getting the same amount of sleep constantly. Have you ever thought why that is?
You find yourself sleepy during the day after consistently sleeping right because it's not about how long you sleep. It would be best to consider sleep cycles and stages, which your body experiences every night when you sleep. Now, you may think, "how much sleep do I need?" It depends on your sleep cycle since not everyone has the same process. However, sleep calculators can help you determine what time you should go to sleep and wake up. This practice will keep your mind sharp and body active.
This article will help you understand everything about the sleep cycle, stages of sleep, and how long you should sleep, depending on your age.
What is a Sleep Cycle?
Many people think that sleeping for a more extended period can guarantee them to have quality sleep. However, it is not true. Yes, it is best to have an appropriate sleep duration, but at the same time, it is essential to have a sleep cycle.
The sleep cycle comprises the stages you go through when visiting the dreamland at night. There are a total of four stages in the sleep cycle, and each stage lasts for a different amount of time. These stages combine to become one sleep cycle and are not the same for everyone.
On average, we can say people experience four to six sleep cycles, each cycle lasting for 90 minutes. Although not all sleep cycles are of the same length, there is no long gap among them for most people. Sleep cycles differ based on other factors like age, sleep patterns, sleeping positions, personal preferences, mattresses, and others.
Below is a table for various sleep cycle numbers depending on your sleeping times.
It is entirely normal for your sleep cycles to change throughout the night. The first sleep cycle you experience is the shortest and ranges between 70 to 100 minutes. The later sleep cycles are longer and last for about 90 to 120 minutes. However, the overall composition of every process keeps changing as the night progresses.
What are the Stages of Sleep?
As mentioned above, there are a total of four sleep stages. These sleep stages are divided into two types. The first stage is called Rapid Eye Movement (REM), and the other three stages form Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) sleep. Every stage of sleep is calculated based on the brain's activity while sleeping—the different patterns of sleep help determine the various stages we experience.
Different Stages of Sleep
There are four sleep stages, and they do not have any names, so you can call them by numbers, as mentioned in the above table. Following are the details to know more about all four sleep stages.
- Sleep Stage One
- This sleep stage is the transition stage, which lasts for only one to five minutes. During this period, your body doesn’t relax completely, but the brain starts to slow itself and associate with falling asleep. The body then begins to follow but with occasional twitch movements before transitioning to the next stage.
- Sleep Stage Two
- Once the second stage begins, your muscles start to relax, your heart rate slows down, and your body temperature drops. Simultaneously, eye movement stops as the brain activity also changes. It becomes harder to be woken up by external factors like people or noise during this sleep stage. This sleep stage usually lasts for about 10- 16 minutes.
- Sleep Stage Three
- Stage three is all about deep sleep. In this stage, the body relaxes and starts to restore against any injury or tiredness to help with physical growth. This stage is crucial for developing overall health as it aids the immune system and other functioning systems. The average time people spend in this stage is between 20 and 40 minutes. The time keeps shortening after every round as the night goes on, and you start to spend more time in REM sleep.
- Sleep Stage Four
- The above sleep stages were all NREM, and the fourth stage is called REM (Rapid Eye Movement). The brain activity picks up during this sleep stage, and you experience rapid eye movement, atonia, fast breathing, increased heart rate, and other things. Atonia is a temporary condition of muscle paralysis. However, eyes and breathing muscles are exceptions in atonia. Paralysis can be considered a protective measure as it ensures you don’t harm yourself by acting out in your dreams.
How Much Sleep Do You Need?
The amount of regular sleep you need keeps changing depending on the age. As you get older, you start to sleep less. For example, infants need to sleep for 17 hours a day for growth, and 7 hours is enough for adults. According to Sleep Science, below is a chart to know how long you should sleep as per your age, on average.
However, you don’t have to strictly follow the above timings and sleep more comfortably for you. Some people feel more rested with a few extra hours, and some cut down from average hours.
Tips for Better Sleep
The best tip to sleep for appropriate hours is to have a comfortable mattress. If you are not sure which mattress is best for you or where to buy the best mattress, call and book an appointment with Mancini’s Sleepworld. Mancini’s Sleepworld mattress store uses an incredible technology known as SleepMatch that will help you determine the perfect mattress for you. SleepMatch calculates thousands of parameters and provides the best results to help you sleep better and comfortably at night. Find SleepMatch exclusively at select Mancini’s Sleepworld locations.