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Understanding the 4 Stages of Your Sleep Cycle

October 21, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — drjanzen @ 3:12 am

Woman sleeping in the cloudsAccording to the National Sleep Foundation guidelines, adults between the ages of 18 to 60 should get at least 7 hours of rest nightly. While only 35% of adults sleep less than the recommended amount, nearly half of people report daytime sleepiness at least 3 times per week. You might attribute your fatigue to stress or a bad mattress, but the culprit might reside within your stages of sleep. You may experience certain interruptions in the cycle, which could affect how you feel in the morning. You can get up feeling energized and ready for the day by ensuring your body and mind receive the full benefits of quality sleep.

Stages of Your Sleep Cycle

Your sleep cycle is composed of 4 stages that are necessary to achieve adequate rest. The average person goes through 4 to 6 sleep cycles nightly with various durations, but they generally last for about 90 minutes each. Although everyone’s sleep cycle is unique from night to night, here are the facts you need to doze off quickly.

Stage 1 & 2: Light Sleep

When you first lay down, you enter stage 1 of the sleep cycle, which can last 1-5 minutes. You’ll notice you’re still alert, but your eye movements gradually decrease. After a few minutes, you will reach the 2nd stage in the cycle. You’ll be in light sleep for 10 to 60 minutes. During this time, your brain will produce sleep spindles, which are special waves to prevent potential awakenings. You can remain in this state for up to half of your sleep cycle.

Stages 3 & 4: Deep Sleep and REM Sleep

Once you hit the 3rd stage, you’re in deep sleep, so it’s less likely you’ll be awakened by barking dogs or other environmental stimuli. Your body can begin performing repairs to any muscles or tissues that were damaged throughout the day. You’ll also produce cytokines to give your immune system a boost and restore the energy levels in your cells.

Finally, you’ll reach rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep. Your eyes will jerk in various directions as your heart rate and blood pressure increase. Your breathing will become shallower while your brain consolidates information from the previous day, which is crucial for your memory.

As you progress through each stage of sleep, you’ll spend less time in deep sleep and more enjoying your dreams in the REM stage.

Sleep Soundly Tonight

If you have sleep apnea, daytime fatigue is common because each pause in breathing interrupts your sleep cycle. Thankfully, you can breathe easier and get a good night’s rest with oral appliance therapy. As soon as your feet hit the floor, you’ll feel energized for the day.

About Dr. Jerry Janzen

Dr. Janzen has provided modern dental services for over 3 decades. Besides earning his dental degree, he has completed advanced training in many specialties, like myofunctional orthodontics and sleep apnea therapy. If you’re ready to try an alternative to a CPAP, contact our office today to see if you’re a candidate for an oral appliance.

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