Prior to the 1950s, scientists believed that sleep was a passive activity. They thought that when people drifted off to sleep, their brains turned off to rest and recover from the day’s activity. Today, though, we know that the brain goes through different patterns of activity at night, passing through several different sleep cycles.
There are two different types of sleep involved in the sleep cycles. Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep is the most well-known, and it happens about 90 minutes after you fall asleep. That’s the type of sleep during which you dream and process memories and emotions. The brain waves, blood pressure, and heart rates in REM sleep are close to wakefulness, and breathing is irregular. The other type of sleep is called Non-REM sleep, and that’s what starts your sleep cycle.
- The first stage of sleep lasts up to seven minutes. It’s a light stage of sleep, and people in stage one are easily awakened. This is your body’s way of winding down and preparing for deeper sleep. During this stage, people may experience hypnic myoclonia, which are muscle contractions that feel like falling.
- In stage two, the work of sleep begins. The brain slows but has bursts of electrical activity as it begins to transfer information from short- to long-term memory. For most people, this stage of sleep lasts longer than any other stage.
- Stages three and four are the beginning of deep sleep. Your body becomes less responsive to outside stimulus, and you don’t experience eye movement or muscle activity. During this time, your body repairs muscles and tissues, stimulates growth and development, boosts immune function, and rests for the next day. It is during these deep stages of sleep that some children wet their beds, sleepwalk, or have night terrors.
- The fifth stage of sleep is REM sleep. A REM stage lasts up to an hour, and the average adult has five or six REM cycles in a single night. This is when you dream, your eyes jerk in different directions, your heart rate and blood pressure increase, and your breathing becomes shallower. Your brain consolidates and processes information from the day during these cycles, storing the information in your long-term memory. During REM sleep, the limbs often become paralyzed, presumably to keep people from acting out their dreams.
With over 50 years of experience, the Mancini family has sold brand name mattresses and furniture with the customer in mind. Now more than ever, Mancini’s Sleepworld is prioritizing the safety and comfort of their customers. All 33 of our locations are open for walk-ins or by appointment, and we ensure each and every customer feels safe when they visit. To learn more, contact Mancini's here or call 800-647-5337.