Alaska Sleep Education Center

Sleep Cycles And Their Impact

Posted by Larry Alton on May 17, 2021 7:13:48 AM


Sleep is a naturally occurring phenomenon where the body and the mind are characterized by altered consciousness but reduced muscle activity. Sleep is considered important as it revives the body and restores different systems of the body. It is also considered a great healing agent as it heals different body ailments while one is asleep. Memory, mood, and other cognitive function of the body is also maintained while one is fast asleep.

Woman enjoying her comfy bed.

Though it is considered ideal for adults to sleep for at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night, it is the quality of the periods of sleep that bears the fruit. Quality of sleep is affected by a variety of factors be it the type of food we consume before going to bed or the type of mattress that we sleep in be it the size of the bed twin xl vs full. Twin XL bed's dimensions are 38 inches wide and 80 inches long while full-size mattresses are 54 inches wide and 75 inches long. Twin-size xl beds are ideal for individual sleepers while full-size mattress can accommodate couples or really be spacious for tall individual sleepers.Thus a little information about the mattress is useful as it determines if one needs company for sleep or wants a compact and comfy sleeping space thus affecting the quality of the sleep.

While we sleep our body generally goes through different stages of sleep that include REM (Rapid eye movements) or non-REM. These sleep cycles determine the quality of sleep that you would be into. Deep sleep for longer times makes you more refreshed when you wake up. Therefore it is important to understand the different stages of sleep to make your sleep more fruitful.

Also, little research into the type of mattress that you would rest in would help you sleep better, a simple comparative analysis into split king vs twin xl would help you find if you need to sleep with someone to achieve deep sleep. Split king mattresses have 80 inches in length and 78 inches in width. It is basically two twin mattresses put together for different types of sleepers to customize their sleep. While a twin XL with a size of 38 inches wide and 80 inches long is ideal for individual sleepers.

Choosing the right mattress and other accessories as bed pillows and bed sheets also has an impact upon the type of sleep and the cycles of sleep you would be receiving while you are fast asleep. Therefore before buying the mattress and other accessories please check and understand the Sales process that will be involved in assisting you to find your perfect mattress.

The Stages Of Our Sleep CyclesKnowing the stages of sleep can help you.

In the following article, we will discuss the different stages of sleep that we rest into and how they affect our daily activity.

First comes the non-REM sleep, followed by a shorter period of REM sleep, and then the cycle starts over again.

Non-REM sleep can be differentiated into three phases that can last from 5 to 15 minutes.

Stage-1: The eyes are closed, but you are alert and it is very easy to wake up, This phase generally lasts for 5-10 minutes after you fall asleep. It is that movement of sleep where you seem to notice your mind drifting away but you also feel awake at the same time.

Stage-2: It is one of the stages where you start entering the lighter phases of sleep. It is one of those stages where the brain activity slows down and the muscle and heart begin to relax. This generally tends to last around 10-25 minutes.

Stage-3 & 4: Also known as slow-wave sleep, these two stages are combined as they have a similar impact on our sleep cycles. This is the deepest part of the sleep cycle and it is difficult to wake you up in this stage of sleep and even if someone wakes you up you would still feel disoriented and tired for a few minutes. It is during these deep stages of non-REM sleep, that the body repairs, regrows tissue, builds bone and muscle, and strengthens the immune system.

As you age you get less of the deep sleep and lighter cycles of sleep. This is mainly because deep sleep plays an important role in the growth and development of the body, but as one age the need to grow or develop is less relevant thus you get less deep sleep as you age.

REM Sleep: The REM (Rapid eye movement) cycle. This is one of the final stages of the sleep cycle where the brains are most active and you have intense dreams during your REM cycle since your brain is more active. REM cycle first period lasts for 10 minutes and later REM stages get longer durations and might extend to an hour. Your heart rate and breathing quicken during your REM cycle and also your brain waves appear as if one is awake during the REM cycle.

REM Sleep generally leads to intense dreams since the brain is more active during this period.REM is also associated with increased production of protein and it also stimulates the areas of the brain that help with learning.

While adults account for only 20% of their sleep in the REM cycle while babies spend 50% of their sleep in the REM cycle.

Why Do Sleep Stages Matter?

Sleep stages are important because they allow the brain and the body to develop. Some of the results of insufficient sleep cycles of both deep sleep and REM Sleep affect cognitive thinking emotions and physical health.

Sleepers with apnea are often awoken during the early stages of sleep and might struggle to properly cycle into these deeper sleep stages. People with insomnia also might not be able to harness the sleep cycle properly.

How Can You Have A Healthy Sleep Cycle?

Pretty lady getting deep sleep.While you are not in control of your sleep cycle as it is natural but you can still take steps to improve your sleep cycles.

One of the major steps to improve the sleep cycles is to improve sleep-related habits like avoiding alcohol, tobacco before sleep and inducing foods or drinks that favor your sleep as herbal teas or bananas.

Attaining a consistent sleeping schedule, by eliminating noise and disruptions and getting natural daylight exposure, and improving your sleep environment by choosing the right mattress, pillow, and sheets to sleep exactly according to your needs and preferences.

Other than that if you still have excessive daytime sleepiness or if you suspect have sleep apnea or any other sleep-related illness it is important to consult a doctor for the same, Addressing the above issues may pave the wave for complete and restorative sleep cycles.


Finally, we have learned from this article the different stages of our sleep cycles as non-REM and REM cycles and how they affect our sleeping patterns and in turn our health. Various reasons affect the sleep cycles be it age, sleep habits, or any sleep-related illness as insomnia or sleep apnea.

Opting for a physician is one of the solutions to a better sleep cycle by curing the diseases while some healthy habits like consistent sleep schedule and noise and disruptions free sleep will also help improve sleep cycles.

If you’re struggling with getting enough sleep, or you’re feeling groggy and disorientated in the morning, you may have bigger issues than just understanding your sleep cycles.  The best thing you can do is visit your local sleep specialist.  If you live in Alaska, click on the link below to find a sleep specialist closest to you.


Topics: REM, REM sleep, sleep stages

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