For most people, going to bed is typically the most relaxing part of our day. However, while you sleep, your brain keep’s working. Each night our bodies move through different stages of sleep to complete a full sleep cycle, which generally last around 90 minutes. Once the cycle ends, another begins. This is ongoing until your alarm goes off or you wake up naturally.
At Warm Things, we are all about bedding but sleep is obviously a huge component of our industry. Knowing how our sleep cycle works can help you understand how much sleep you need. We are going to share some insight so you can achieve the best sleep possible for your body…
Our sleep cycle is split into two categories: Rapid Eye Movement (REM) and Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM). Each night a typical person will experience several stages of NREM before finally reaching the REM cycle of sleep. Below is a general representation of the four sleep stages we go through on any given night:
Dreaming can occur during any stage of sleep but the most vivid ones take place during the REM cycle. It is estimated that we all dream about four to six times per night, however 95-99% of the time we don’t always remember each dream. Scientists still don’t know exactly why we dream, however research suggest that sleep brain wave patterns can predict whether or not we will remember them. Successful dream recall usually takes place five minutes before waking up.
Changes in the Sleep Cycle
As we age, so does our sleep cycle. Newborns, for example, sleep up to 18 hours a day and split their time pretty evenly between REM and non-REM sleep. A newborn’s sleep cycle lasts around 50 minutes, which is shorter than the typical adult. Once they reach school-age, it will increase to 90 to 100 minutes. The older you get, the longer it takes to fall asleep and the more time you spend in a light sleep cycle. Generally, this is associated with more sleep disruptions occurring throughout the night.
Ideal Sleep Schedule
Your ideal sleep schedule depends on your age and when you need to wake up each morning. It’s also contingent on if you are a “night owl” or “early bird.” Early birds are people who feel most productive and alert in the first few hours after they wake up. Night owls are the opposite and are the most productive in the evening hours.
To determine your own ideal sleep schedule, figure out what time you need to get up in the morning, and then count backward to figure out your ideal bedtime. According to the National Sleep Foundation, here is how much sleep you should get each night according to your age:
Sleep and your Health
Finally, studies show that sticking to a regular sleep schedule can be beneficial for your health. Maintaining a consistent sleep/wake routine may lessen the likelihood that you will develop heart disease or diabetes. In contrast, an inconsistent sleep cycle might make you more susceptible to the negative consequences of sleep deprivation, which include impaired mood, cognitive functioning, and physical well-being.
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