Sleep happens to be the ultimate need of our everyday lives and one of the major primary functions performed by our body. This naturally recurring state is characterized by altered consciousness, a relatively reduced sensory, motor and muscle activity and much reduced interactions with the surroundings. A good night’s sleep ensures that a good day follows. A normal person is required to sleep for about 7-8 hours on average, each day.
Importance of Sleep
It is during sleep that our body carries out various essential secondary processes. These include cell restoration, information processing, hormone regulation, and an overall improvement of health.
Sleep allows us to relax and recover from the physical and mental wear and tear. It also improves our productivity, by boosting memory and learning. Sleep also gives our immune system a good boost, thus equipping us with the ability to fight diseases.
Brain Serves While Your Body Sleeps
Interestingly, during this shut-eye period, neither our body nor the mind shuts down, even for a second. In fact, they work rather hard in order to prep up for the day that waits.
We all know that our brain wave activities are at their peak when we are awake. However, as we drift off to sleep, the activities gradually slow down. This is contrary to the earlier belief that the brain activities almost ceased during sleep. Therefore, while we believe that we are taking a break by sleeping, the brain, in fact, continues to be at work.
Stages of Sleep
Interestingly, while we are asleep, we pass through several stages. They progress from stage 1, 2, 3, 4 before reaching the peak stage, also known as rapid eye movement. Let us learn about each one of these in detail.
Stage 1 and 2 – Light Sleep
This is the stage when we have just fallen asleep, and the possibility of us waking up at the drop of a hat, or getting startled, is pretty high.
Stage 1 is said to be the lightest stage of sleep, and also perhaps the shortest of them all. It only lasts about 5-10 minutes on an average. Our eyes move and roll around slowly during this period, and the brain can hold some part of the conversations happening around. The muscle tones begin to relax during this transition stage between being awake and asleep. Stage two is the time when our eyes stop moving, and the brain waves slow down a little. We are still in a rather light sleep mode.
Stage 3 and 4 – Deep Sleep
Characterised by close to none eye movement or muscle activity, this is the stage of deep sleep. The brain starts to emit extremely slow waves, called delta waves during this stage.
It is rather difficult to wake easily someone from this stage. They might feel disoriented and groggy for a little while if they wake during this period of deep sleep.
Stage 5 – REM
While the remaining four are called Non-REM, N-REM or the slow wave sleep, this particular stage is the one where eyes and eyelids flutter. At this stage, the brain wave activities are so fast, they are comparable to the time when we are awake. As we switch ourselves into this stage, our breathing becomes more rapid, shallow and irregular. The eyes begin to roll around in various directions, hence the name ‘rapid eye movement’. During this phase, the blood pressure suddenly raises as the heart rate experiences an increase. This stage has often been linked to learning and memory. This stage lasts about two hours during night time sleep, and it is said that most of the vivid dreams can be seen during stage 5.
Sleep Cycle – Definition and Duration
Our brain progresses from the stage of light sleep to deep sleep, to REM sleep, before making a reverse back to the stage of light sleep. Together, these make one sleep cycle.
The very first sleep cycle usually takes about 90 minutes. Thereafter, the duration ranges anywhere between 90-120 minutes per cycle. An average person goes through 4-5 cycles during 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night.
These sleep cycles form an important part of our biological clock. That is perhaps why they say that we should be consistent with our sleep timings, so as to ensure that the brain wakes up at an appropriate stage in its sleep cycle, thus allowing us to wake up fresh and well-rested.
The Stage of Wakefulness
It is the remaining part of the day, when we are awake and not sleeping. It is during the period of wakefulness that we consciously carry out various everyday activities. While a good night’s sleep determines how fresh and motivated we feel during the period of wakefulness, the other way round is also true. A good, long way staying awake, indulging in healthy diet and physical activities together pave way for a quality sleep each night.
So as to overcome the intricacy of sleeplessness, and make every single day all the more productive and resourceful for yourself, you may take Sleeprite Shotz®. And it works best when you take a shot just before bedtime. This sleep-inducing natural remedy from the house of Nutrite needs to be consumed as one bottle every day for a week. This would be good help for you to sleep better and feel renewed and recharged for the next day.
Author: Dr Sonica Krishan
Dr Sonica Krishan is Author and Speaker in the areas of Healthy and Joyous Living through
Ayurveda, Meditation, Yoga and other Contemplative practices. She is a leading Ayurveda
Professional in India. She is also Health Writer, Columnist, Editor, Ayurveda Consultant and
Holistic Healing Coach.