Sleep is composed of natural sleep cycles of brain activity, and is made up of two basic phases with individual stages within. These include rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep.
Non REM sleep occurs during the first four sleep phases, and before REM sleep, which is the final stage before the sleep cycle repeats itself. On average each stage lasts from five to 15 minutes. A typical night’s sleep is comprised of 75% non-REM sleep and 25% REM sleep.
Non-REM sleep is an important component of our sleep cycle because many of our body and mind’s functions are restored during this time, reports the Sleep Disorders Center at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
To understand NREM sleep, it’s best to examine the individual stages of this type of sleep.
Stage One – This is the onset of sleep. You can be aroused and awakened quite easily during this stage. This is also the stage where sleepers experience the involuntary hypnic jerk. Stage one lasts roughly five to 10 minutes.
Stage Two – During stage two of non-rapid eye movement sleep, your body temperature decreases as does your heart rate. Dreaming continues to be rare in the stage, and no eye movement occurs. In this stage, the person may be heard sleep talking, but it may sound mumbled. Here, your body starts to prepare itself for entering deep sleep. Stage two usually makes up the bulk of a person’s sleep cycle (about 40 to 45 percent).
Stage Three – This stage is known as delta sleep or slow wave sleep. If awakened during this stage, the person may feel disoriented for several minutes.
Stage Four – Like stage three, stage four is also a delta sleep stage. Nightmares and dreams occur during this stage.
Who would have thought that a regular night’s sleep was made up of such an integrated, complex process? Yet. our body needs both REM and NREM sleep to be fully rested, restored, and rejuvenated.
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