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What is a Sleep Cycle

by Asanga Wijeratne 2 months ago in self care
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What is a Sleep Cycle
Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

Everyone has their unique sleep cycle. Depending on your sleep cycle, you may feel more or less rested after a night. So, what is a sleep cycle? Keep reading to find out!

What is a Sleep Cycle?

Most people are familiar with the feeling of being tired after a long night of restless sleep. But what many don't realize is that sleep is not just a period of rest; it's actually an active process that helps us to learn, remember, and grow. Sleep occurs in cycles, each of which consists of four different stages: light sleep, deep sleep, REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, and awake.

How Long is a Sleep Cycle?

A typical sleep cycle lasts 90 minutes- from light sleep to deep sleep to REM sleep and then back to light sleep again.

What Happens During a Sleep Cycle?

By Adryan RA on Unsplash

During a sleep cycle, your body alternates between different stages of sleep. You spend more time in some stages than others, but all four stages are essential for feeling rested and refreshed after a night of sleep.

Light Sleep: Light sleep is the first stage of the sleep cycle. During this stage, your eyes are closed, and your muscles are relaxed. Your heartbeat and breathing slow down, and your body temperature drops. You can be easily awakened during this stage of sleep.

Deep Sleep: Deep sleep is the second stage of the sleep cycle. During this stage, your body slowly begins to repair itself from the day by building up bone and muscle tissue and strengthening the immune system. Your breathing becomes deeper and slower during this stage of sleep as well. You can still be awakened during this sleep cycle phase, but waking up from deep sleep becomes more challenging than from light sleep.

REMSleep: REM (rapid eye movement)is the final stage of the sleep cycle and is the most active phase where sleepers dream the most vividly. This phase lasts brainwave activity. This phase resembles that of awake adults as it's during this phase the most consolidated and vivid dreams occur because REM dreams aren’t usually remembered upon awakening. Still, researchers note the importance of this phase for memory processing and creative thinking.

How do you recover when your sleep cycle is broken?

By bruce mars on Unsplash

If you find that your sleep cycle is regularly broken or interrupted, there are a few things you can do to help get back on track:

-Create a regular sleep schedule: Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even on weekends. This will help to regulate your body’s natural sleep rhythm.

-Create a bedtime routine: Wind down for 30 minutes each night. This can include reading, taking a bath, or stretching.

-Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed: These substances can interfere with sleep.

-Get up and move around: If you can’t fall back asleep after 20 minutes, get out of bed and do something calming until you feel sleepy again.

-See a doctor: If you regularly struggle to sleep, it may indicate an underlying health condition. Talk to your doctor to see if there is any medical help available.

Sleep cycles are an essential part of getting a good night's sleep. By understanding how sleep cycles work, you can ensure that you get the most out of your sleep.

Even though you spend more time in some stages of the sleep cycle than others, all four stages are essential for feeling rested and refreshed after a night. If you have trouble sleeping through the night or feel exhausted during the day, you may want to talk to your doctor about ways to improve your sleep quality.

self care

About the author

Asanga Wijeratne

Hi, there! I'm a writer and father to wonderful two years old son. I've loved writing since childhood, and it's always been a dream of mine to turn my passion into a career. I'm so grateful that I've made that dream a reality.

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