Thursday, March 12, 2020

The Stages of Sleep by Ananya Singh

The Stages of Sleep by Ananya Singh

Sleep is something we all enjoy and I am sure many of us would like to do it more often. In fact, the average person sleeps about 25 years in their lifetime. However, the average person is not very educated on the mechanisms and stages of sleep. 
There are 5 stages of sleep. Stages 1-4 are known as NREM stages, which stands for non-rapid eye movement. Stage 5 is a REM stage, which stands for rapid eye movement. It takes about 1.5 hours to pass through all the 5 stages. When psychologists were first researching sleep, they noticed that our brain wave patterns will change depending on what stage we are in. Before you are in the first stage, you are in a state of transition where you feel drowsy but are not sleepy yet. Stage 1 usually lasts between 1 and 5 minutes and takes up about 5% of a night of sleep. It consists of theta waves which have a high amplitude and low frequency. You can easily be woken up. Stage 2 is the baseline of sleep. This stage consists of mainly theta waves and takes up around 50% of sleep. This equates to 90 minutes on a normal night. Stages 3 and 4 consist of delta waves and last 15-30 minutes. In these two stages, brain activity slows down and the amplitude of the brain waves increases. Delta sleep is the deepest stage of sleep and the most restorative. It usually takes up 40% of sleep time. An individual that has been deprived of sleep craves delta sleep the most. The last and final stage is REM sleep. It takes up 20-25% of sleep time. This is an active stage of sleep and, as the name suggests, consists of rapid eye movement. Your heart rate, breathing, and brain wave activity quicken. It is in this stage that vivid dreams can occur. There is a sleep disorder known as narcolepsy in which an individual lapses directly into REM sleep, usually in times of joy or stress. 
If you are unable to get your proper hours of sleep you need to be more proactive and work towards getting a better sleep schedule. I, personally, recommend creating a schedule where you plan what time you work and study. This way you can avoid procrastinating and staying up till 2 A.M. doing work. In addition, you can do an activity that makes you tired so you can avoid laying in your bed, staring at the ceiling just waiting to feel sleepy. This way, after sleeping, you feel energized instead of tired!

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