Harmonize Fitness
Harmonize Fitness

Here´s what you need to know about phases of sleep


We all know that sleep is crucial for our health and one night of poor sleep will impact our day, when this lack of sleep is constant the negative effects increase but what happens while we sleep?  There are so many things going on in our brain and body that help us recover from the day and get ready for what´s to come.

Nowadays people in different industries like fitness and health are giving more importance to sleep because there are so many things going on and a lack of sleep or poor quality can be the cause of health problems and there´s still people who don´t give the importance it deserves and claim that some of the most amazing minds that have lived didn´t get what´s consider enough sleep in the 7 to 8 hours which is completely true but the research on how those amazing minds manage to keep going with little sleep is not conclusive. For now, we´ll talk about the phases or stages of sleep because it´s important that you understand at least the basics of it.

Reading books and research, some divide the phases or stages of sleep in 4 others in 5 the way I see it and to keep it simple is considering 4 phases:

1.- Phase one.- When you fall asleep your brain produces alpha and theta waves, this phase last just a couple minutes and it´s when we can be easily woken. If at night, you fall asleep and after a couple of minutes you wake up with any noise you were in this phase. This phase of light sleep gives way to phase two.

2.- Phase two.- During this phase the brain waves decrease in frequency and increase in amplitude, your body temperature starts to decrease and heart rate slows down.

3.- Phase three.- This phase of moderate sleep giving way to deep sleep is where it is harder to be awakened. At this stage you are not aware of noises and activity around you and your muscle start to relax and blood pressure start to lower.

4.- Phase four.- This phase is the deepest level of sleep and  is where delta waves or slow waves takes place. At this stage your muscles are relaxed and blood pressure and breathing rate lowers.

These four phases are called non-rapid eye movement, after this four phases are completed you get to a rapid eye movement which is the fifth phase or REM, while you sleep you go through cycles between non-rapid eye movement and rapid eye movement.

The first 4 phases which are part of the non-rapid eye movement are compromised of slow waves while the fifth phase or REM which is the rapid eye movement your heart rate increases, your breathing gets faster, there are rapid waves of beta, alpha and theta and your eyes can be seen moving beneath our lids. Some people have found through research that in this phase your dreams are more vivid compared to the other phases.

In this last phase is also when you can retain information, skills, improve memory and learning.

One complete sleep cycle going through all phases last around 90 minutes, each night you go through several cycles, you may go through 4 or 5 cycles per night depending on how many hours of sleep you get.

If you have sleep disorders it may be harder for you to fall asleep so you´ll get less sleep and will go through less cycles, if you wake up in the night and interrupt the cycle your body needs to start again from phase 1, the more you get awaken during the night chances are that you may never get through all phase of deep sleep which affects your entire sleep quality and you´ll get all the negative impacts of one night of poor sleep the next day.

There are so many things going on while we sleep and there are so many things related to sleep that we don´t know or don´t understand yet but, experts keep studying it and finding new data. We can all see the negative impact of poor sleep or lack of sleep of just one night by how bad we feel the next day but why is it that some people look great and perform amazing with just 6 hours of sleep per night? Why others need the 8 hours of high-quality sleep?

Let us know by leaving a comment down below and on Twitter if you need the 8 hours every night and also if there´s something in particular you want to know about.

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