5 Stages of Sleep

Most of us know that there are two different types of sleep: rapid eye movement (REM) and non-REM. However, there are four different stages of non-REM sleep a person passes in and out of throughout the night. How much time you spend in each of the stages, and the stage you wake up in, has an impact on how much energy you have throughout the day. Here are the five stages of sleep and why they matter to a restful night. 

The 5 Stages of Sleep

Stage 1: Non-REM Sleep 

When you first fall asleep, you enter the first stage of non-REM sleep and the movement of the eyes behind the eyelid slows. This is a light stage of sleep where you are probably still aware of other things going on around you. During this stage, you could still be woken up by noises or a variety of other disturbances. 

Stage 2: Non-REM Sleep 

During stage 2, your heart rate and breathing regulate, your body temperature lowers, and your eye movements either slow or stop completely. This is the stage where you are fully asleep and unaware of your surroundings. 

Stage 3: Non-REM Sleep 

In stage 3, your brain waves slow down with only a few bursts of activity. This is a deep sleep where muscles relax, breathing slows, and it becomes difficult to wake up easily unless an alarm or loud disturbance pulls you out of it. 

Stage 4: Non-REM Sleep 

Stage 4 is a deeper stage of sleep where the brain waves slow further. Researchers believe that tissue repair occurs during this stage and hormones are released, contributing to tissue and cell growth. 

Stage 5: Non-REM Sleep 

Stage five is the final stage of sleep where we begin to dream, and it occurs about 90 minutes into the sleep cycle. The eyes move rapidly, breathing becomes shallow and rapid, and blood pressure and heart rate increase. During REM sleep, the arms and legs are paralyzed so that sleepers can’t act out their dreams. The purpose of this stage is to stimulate the sections of the brain used for memory and learning.

The length of each stage changes throughout the night, but a typical sleeper will cycle through the 5 stages several times before waking. For those who suffer from sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, it’s harder to reach the deeper levels of sleep. This can lead to the body’s inability to repair damaged muscle tissue and process emotions, which increases fatigue during the day. 

Do you wake up and feel tired, unfocused, and irritable? It could be due to a lack of deep sleep. If you suspect you or a loved one might have a sleep disorder, request a screening today to find out!

Start Sleeping Better

If you’re concerned about your quality of sleep, schedule a visit to be evaluated at Whitney Sleep Center. We encourage you to set up an appointment at one of our locations. Get better sleep: contact us today at masonw@whitneysleepcenter.com or visit our website.