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A Simple Guide to the Different Phases of Sleep

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Published on 10 December 2020

Did you know that there are more than eighty types of sleep disorders that can impact your ability to get a full, well-rested night’s sleep?

Sleep is the most essential part of your daily routine. The average person will spend 1/3 of their life sleeping. However, if you’re struggling to get enough quality sleep, it can have a detrimental impact on your physical health and emotional health.

By understanding the different phases of sleep, you can begin to learn how your health is affected by not getting enough sleep in each phase. That’s why today, we’ve created this complete guide to help you get a better understanding of the different stages of sleep. Keep reading it to learn more!


Stage 0 is the time that you’re awake. You will spend time awake in bed before you fall asleep and after you fell asleep. Wait time will also include the brief times that you awaken during the night. It is completely normal for people with healthy sleep patterns to awaken during the night briefly.

Light Sleep

Light sleep is initiated when you begin entering your sleep cycle. Also, light sleep is the transitioning phase that your body uses to move it into deeper sleep stages. This stage of sleep is referred to as paradoxical sleep.

During the light sleep phase, your muscles will relax. Also, your breathing will begin to slow down, and your heart rate will decrease.

It’s also very easy for you to wake up during this stage of sleep. Many people who experience muscle jerking, that results in them waking up, experience the muscle jerking during this phase of sleep.

Deep Sleep

The Deep Sleep stage of sleeping is the most refreshing and rejuvenating stage of sleep. This is because, during this stage of sleep, your body can focus on removing waste from your brain, repairing cells, and encouraging muscle growth.

During the stage of sleep, it won’t be easy to wake an individual up. Also, if an individual is woken up during the stage of sleep, they will appear groggy or disoriented.

Since your body is focused on repairing and restoring itself during this sleep stage, your body will also increase your muscles’ blood flow. Hormones, such as growth hormones, are released to help repair damaged areas of the body. Since your brain is focused on flushing out waste, slow brain waves will be released from your brain.
REM Sleep

Deep sleep and REM sleep are two different stages of sleep cycles. REM sleep is responsible for allowing your body to re-energize the brain.

During the REM cycle, people will have dreams. The brain is also responsible for focusing on learning, memory consolidation, as well as problem-solving. However, the older that a person gets, the less time that they will spend in the REM sleep cycle.

REM cycle will usually happen about 90 minutes after you fall asleep. The first period that your body spends in REM sleep will last 90 minutes. Typically, a person will go into for REM stages in one night, with the last REM in the cycle lasting up to 1 hour.

What Happens if You Don’t Get Enough Sleep?

Not getting enough sleep every night is incredibly dangerous. Some of the physical consequences of not getting enough sleep include a lowered immune system, a decreased sex drive, an increase in weight gain. Not getting enough sleep also leads to an increased risk of developing certain chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, cancer, and chronic fatigue.

Let’s take a closer look at what happens if you don’t get enough sleep every night:


Poor Heart Health

Several studies have found that if you get less than five hours of sleep per night, it greatly increases your risk of developing a certain coronary health disease. The same results are found that your risk of having a stroke greatly increases with the less sleep that you get.


Impairment to Central Nervous System

As mentioned above, sleep is necessary to give your body functioning properly. Chronic insomnia, or other causes of sleep deprivation, will disrupt your body’s ability to process and send vital information.

When you’re sleeping, your brain will develop pathways inside of itself to help it keep track of new information that it’s learning. Since your brain will be exhausted from the lack of sleep, your brain will prioritize the development of new pathways. As a result, this will make it more difficult for you to concentrate on tasks, decrease your coordination abilities, and make it difficult for you to remember new information.

Also, your emotional and mental state will be negatively impacted by sleep deprivation. You’ll likely be more susceptible to experiencing mood swings, as well as noticing difficulty making decisions. You could also experience anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and pulse in behaviors, depression, and paranoia when you deprive your body of sleep.

If you deprive your body of sleep for too long, you will begin to microsleep during the day. Microsleeps occur when you fall asleep for a few seconds and don’t realize it. Micro-sleeping is extremely dangerous, as it leaves you out of control of your body. This is especially dangerous while you’re driving or operating heavy machinery.


Endocrine System Depression

The endocrine system in your body is responsible for the production of hormones. For men, they begin to produce testosterone during the REM cycle of their sleep. Waking up in the middle of the night will severely impact your body’s ability to produce enough hormones.

In children and young adults, your body focuses on producing and releasing the growth hormone. The growth hormone, or HGH, is responsible for helping the body repair cells, tissues, and increasing the development of muscular tissue.

Understanding the Importance of the Different Phases of Sleep

By understanding all of the different phases of sleep, you’ll better know how your health is negatively impacted when you don’t get enough sleep every night. You’ll also understand the importance of each phase of sleep and how it benefits your body’s health.

Are you looking to improve the quality of sleep that you’re getting? We’re here to help you! Click here to learn more today.