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How Long Is A Full Sleep Cycle

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Get The Right Amount Of Sleep To Boostperformance + Positivity

What Are Sleep Cycles? – Everything You Need To Know!

Recent studies have proven that those who sleep well are more alert and have higher cognitive processing. They also noticed these positive symbols more often, leading to a more positive outlook. This can easily be translated to the workplace where communication and positivity are the key to a great work environment. This means that your most comfortable bed could be a key component to getting the job you want and creating the happy life you dream of. Dont let anxiety stop you from sleeping! Using a weighted blanket will help you fight insomnia caused due to anxiety.

How The Sleep Cycle Works

Your body cycles through four stages of sleep throughout the night. One cycle takes about 90 minutes.

During a typical nights sleep, youll cycle through each stage four to six times. If youre limiting yourself to 4 hours of sleep, youll only have time to cycle through these stages twice.

The sleep stages are:

  • N1. This is the lightest stage of sleep, lasting 1 to 5 minutes. During this stage, your breathing and heart rate slow down and your muscles relax.
  • N2. This stage lasts about 30 to 60 minutes. Your breathing and heart rate slow down even further and your body temperature drops.
  • N3. The third stage of sleep is also known as deep sleep. This period, which lasts about 20 to 40 minutes, is when your body repairs damaged tissues and cells.
  • Rapid eye movement . REM is the stage most associated with dreaming. Your first REM cycle lasts about 10 minutes and your last one can last up to 1 hour.

What Is Nrem And Rem Sleep

The five different stages of sleep are divided in NREM and REM sleep. But what are they?


NREM means Non-Rapid Eye Movement.

The NREM sleep is divided into four stages, where stages 1 and 2 are the most superficial form of sleep and stages 3 and 4 are deep sleep.

The deep sleep stages of 3 and 4 are the ones that gives you the feeling of being rested when you wake up.

A person whos recently fallen asleep, in the first stage and wakes up within half an hour usually doesnt feel like hes slept at all.


REM means Rapid Eye Movements. It got its name because of the rapid eye movements seen in sleeping people during REM sleep.

REM sleep is the fifth stage of the sleep cycle. The exact function of the REM sleep is uncertain.

When you enter REM sleep you dont remain in that stage for the remainder of the night but, rather, cycle between stages of NREM and REM throughout the night.

NREM sleep constitutes about 75 to 80 percent of total time spent in sleep, and REM sleep constitutes the remaining 20 to 25 percent.

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How Long Does Each Sleep Cycle Last

Heres a simple break down of roughly how long each stage lasts in the cycle:

Stage 1 Light: 5 to 10 minutes.

Stage 2 Light: 20 minutes.

Stage 3 Deep: 1.5 to 1.8 hours.

Stage 4 REM: 10 minutes to 1 hour.

Its important to be aware that the duration of each phase can vary a lot from person to person. It depends on various factors such as their personal characteristics, health, sleep habits and routines etc.

When looking at what percentages each stage takes up of the cycle, this guide shows you how its broken up:

Stages 1 and 2 Light: 50%.

Stage 3 Deep: 25%.

Stage 4 REM: 25%.

You may add up these time frames and come to the conclusion that they dont equate to the average 7 9 hours of sleep we need every night.

Thats because we experience multiple cycles throughout the night

How To Work Out The Ideal Bedtime

Sleep Cycle

Multiply 90 minutes by five to get 450 minutes or 7.5 hours of sleep.

If you need to wake up by 7am then count back 7.5 hours to find that bedtime is around 11.30pm. Make sure youre in bed before then so youre relaxed ready for sleep and allow yourself 15 minutes to drop off. You can use the sleep calculator to find the ideal bedtime for you.

Its important to remember that the sleep calculator is just a guide to help you understand your sleep routine and to help you wake more refreshed. Always work on the knowledge on how you feel the next day after being asleep if you wake feeling refreshed and ready to tackle, chances are you are sleeping just fine. If you wake feeling tired then its likely you need more sleep, or better-quality sleep.

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How Long Should Adults Nap

Naps do not necessarily have to be a kids-only activity. In fact, there is substantial data that shows naps can actually be very beneficial for adults, when used properly.

For adults, a healthy nap–otherwise known as power nap–should be relatively short in duration. This is because of the unique architecture of sleep, specifically when it comes to sleep cycles. During healthy adult sleep, the body goes through several rotations of a full sleep cycle, each with five phases: three stages of NREM sleep, and two stages of deeper REM sleep.

Every full rotation through a five-phase sleep cycle takes approximately 90-110 minutes. When the body reaches the deeper levels of sleep, around phase 3, it releases chemicals into the bloodstream and experiences changes in electric activity in the brain that shift the body further into sleep mode. These changes help keep your body from responding to external stimuli, which normally helps you stay asleep for the night. In the context of a nap, however, going too deep into a sleep cycle and triggering those changes can leave you feeling groggy and disoriented when you wake up, since your body has already started priming you for deeper sleep.

What Are The Different Stages Of Sleep

Within the 5 stages of sleep are two types of sleep cycles that play a vital role. REM and non-REM sleep. The non-REM sleep phase is made up of multiple stages falling asleep, light sleep and slow-wave deep sleep, which is the linking stage between non-REM and REM sleep. REM or dream sleep makes up the final and single stage of each 90-minute sleep cycle.

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Stage 5 Sleep Of The Sleep Cycle

Stage 5 of the sleep cycle, or REM sleep, is the stage of sleep associated with dreaming. It is very different physiologically from the other stages of sleep. The EEG resembles wake time. However, the skeletal muscles are atonic, or without movement. The breathing is more erratic and irregular. The heart rate often increases. It is theorized that muscle atonia evolved in order to protect the individual from injury during sleep.

How Long Is A Sleep Cycle

8 Hours DEEP SLEEP Music [Full Sleep Cycle] Calming Ocean Sounds – Binaural Beats

Your natural sleep cycle lasts about 90 minutes. During this time your brain moves through five different stages.

  • Your brain begins to slow down. You are lightly sleeping, drifting in and out.
  • Your eye movement stops and the brain begins to relax. This is a period of light sleep before you enter a deep sleep.
  • Your brain waves begin to slow even more. They are preparing for the deepest stages of sleep.
  • This is the deepest stage of sleep. Its important for you to reach this stage for a good nights sleep and its also important that you are not awoken during this stage. That will make for a very grouchy morning.
  • This is the rapid-eye-movement stage of sleep. Most of your dreaming occurs during this time. Again, make sure you are not awoken during this stage because you will likely feel disoriented.


Here you will start the sleep cycle over. This is also the best time to wake up and feel refreshed!

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What Is Rem Sleep

When you enter REM sleep, brain activity increases again, meaning sleep is not as deep. The activity levels are like when youre awake. Thats why REM sleep is the stage where youll have intense dreams.

At the same time, major muscles that you normally control cant move. In effect, they become temporarily paralyzed.

Usually, REM sleep arrives about an hour and a half after you go to sleep. The first REM period lasts about 10 minutes. Each REM stage that follows gets longer and longer.

The amount of REM sleep you experience changes as you age. The percentage of REM sleep:

  • Is highest during infancy and early childhood.

Dreams During The Night

We typically spend about 2 hours each night dreaming.

A lot of research is being done around the topic of dreams, but scientists are still not sure how or why we dream.

They do know that dreams almost always occur during REM sleep. And, when a dream does occur in the deep sleep, stage 3 or 4, its usually a nightmare.

Dreaming is believed to help you process your emotions. People suffering from stress or anxiety are more likely to have frightening dreams.

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How Long Is One Sleep Cycle And How Much Sleep You Need

A good nights sleep is essential for functioning well the next day. Proper sleep helps our bodies and brains recover from everything that they are doing during the day. Unfortunately, many of us dont sleep enough, or very well, at night and it takes a toll on us during our waking hours.

According to HealthySleep, the brain goes through characteristic patterns of activity throughout each period of sleep Understanding these patterns, and the factors that affect them, may help in making choices that will lead to better quality sleep.

Understanding how your sleep cycle works can help you start to make it your friend. A lot of the things that we do today, like looking at bright screens and going out for a late-night drink or cup of coffee, disrupt our sleep cycle. Adjusting those things can get our sleep cycle back to normal again and help us sleep much better.

What Happens When Sleep Cycles Are Irregular

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Some people may have irregular sleep cycles due to certain circumstances like traveling or working the night shift. When traveling to a different time zone, its common to experience whats known as jet lag, when your internal body clock is disrupted because you enter a different time zone.

Night shift workers also have irregular sleep cycles due to working during the night hours and sleeping during the day. Irregular sleep cycles can be harmful to your overall health and well-being and can lead to more serious complications like chronic sleep deprivation and shift work sleep disorder.

A recent study in Scientific Reports suggests that going to bed and waking up at different times each day may increase the risk of cardiovascular and metabolic illnesses, including heart disease and type 2 diabetes. The study found that people with irregular sleep patterns tended to have higher blood sugar, higher blood pressure, and a higher projected risk of heart attack or stroke within the next decade compared to those with more regular sleep-wake cycles. Participants with irregular sleep cycles were also more likely to report stress and depression.

We spoke with the studys lead author, Assistant Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University Jessica Lunsford-Avery, Ph.D., to learn more about the implications of this research.

Who Else Is At Risk?

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What Does A Healthy Sleep Cycle Look Like

This pie chart gives you a general idea of what a healthy cycle looks like. Although, it is difficult to give exact figures as not only does everyone have varying cycles, but the length of each stage changes throughout the night.

Here are a few benefits of a healthy cycle:

  • Concentration and productivity is improved
  • Athletic performance is improved

There Are 4 Stages Of Your Sleep Cycle & This Is How To Wake Up During The Right One

Even if you’ve never formally looked into the four stages of sleep, you probably already know what they feel like: We lie down to go to sleep, start to drift off, maybe have one of those jerky twitches, then fall into light sleep, deeper sleep, and of course, REM sleep, where dreams occur. Each stage has a particular function, with one of them being the best to wake up during.

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Baby’s Sleep Cycle: How Your Baby’s Sleep Differs From Yours

Newborns and adults have very different sleep cycles. So, how does your baby’s sleep cycle work? Our newborn sleep cycle chart shows that newborns , only experience two of the four stages of sleep: stage 3 and stage 4, or REM, and spend about half of their time asleep in each stage.

As a newborn, you were most likely able to rock or nurse your baby to sleep, and then put her down without her waking. This is because she jumps right into that deep sleep stage. Around 4 months old, your baby will start cycling through all 4 stages of sleep, instead of just two.

What Are Good Sleep Habits

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Good sleep habits, also called good sleep hygiene, are practices to help you get enough quality sleep.

  • Have a sleep schedule: Go to sleep and wake up around the same time every day, even on weekends and vacations.
  • Clear your mind before bed: Make a to-do list early in the evening, so you wont stay awake in bed and worry about the next day.
  • Create a good sleep environment: Make sure your bed and pillows are comfortable. Turn down the lights and avoid loud sounds. Keep the room at a comfortable temperature.
  • Exercise every day: Stay active but try to avoid exercising during the few hours right before bed.
  • Relax: Before bed, take a warm bath, read or do another relaxing activity.
  • See your healthcare provider: If youve been having trouble sleeping or feel extra drowsy during the day, talk to your provider. There are many treatments available for sleep disorders.


A note from Cleveland Clinic

Far from being a state of doing nothing, sleep is an essential part of our lives. It helps our body rest, recharge and repair. There are four sleep stages three in the non-REM phase plus REM sleep. Many factors can affect sleep quality, including the food and drink you consume before bed and room temperature. Many people experience trouble sleeping now and then. But if you think you may have a sleep disorder, talk to your healthcare provider. Common sleep disorders include insomnia and sleep apnea . Your provider can help you get the diagnosis and treatment you need.


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Sleep Related Form Of Memory Loss

When someone awakens after sleeping just for a few minutes they are usually unable to recall the last few minutes before they fell asleep.

This sleep-related form of amnesia is the reason people often forget the conversations they had in the middle of the night or just before falling asleep.

It also explains why we often dont remember our alarms ringing in the morning if we go right back to sleep after turning them off.

Getting Through The Stages Of Sleep

Some substances can disrupt your sleep cycles. For example, caffeine ingested too close to bed can not only make it more difficult to get to sleep but also can have a negative effect on your deep sleep in the first half of the night.

Alcohol, on the other hand, tends to ruin the second half of your nights sleep. If you drink before bed, about halfway through the night, your body will start processing the alcohol, and it begins to act as a stimulant.

Medical practitioners around the world are beginning to realize just how important sleep is for our overall physical and mental well-being as so-called epidemics of sleep deprivation are on the rise. Learning about the bodys stages of sleep can help some individuals understand their own circadian rhythms better and make appropriate changes to their sleep habits in order to allow for the optimal amount of sleep cycles each night.

Sleep Cycle gives you a good overview of how your sleep cycles run throughout the night, as well as alert you to changes affected by for example caffeine or alcohol granting you the power to make a change when needed.

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Alcohol And Sleep Faq

Does Alcohol Help You Sleep?

Alcohol may aid with sleep onset due to its sedative properties, allowing you to fall asleep more quickly. However, people who drink before bed often experience disruptions later in their sleep cycle as liver enzymes metabolize alcohol. This can also lead to excessive daytime sleepiness and other issues the following day. Furthermore, drinking to fall asleep can build a tolerance, forcing you to consume more alcohol each successive night in order to experience the sedative effects.

Does Alcohol Affect Men and Women Differently?

On average, women exhibit signs of intoxication earlier and with lower doses of alcohol than men. This can mostly be attributed to two factors. First, women tend to weigh less than men and those with lower body weights often become intoxicated more quickly. Most women also have a lower amount of water in their bodies than men. Alcohol circulates through water in the body, so women are more likely to have higher blood alcohol concentrations than men after consuming the same amount of alcohol.

What Is the Difference Between Moderate Drinking and Heavy Drinking?

Definitions vary by source, but the following measurements are generally considered to constitute a single serving of alcohol:

  • 12 ounces of beer with 5% alcohol content
  • 5 ounces of wine with 12% alcohol content
  • 1 ounce of liquor or distilled spirits with 40% alcohol content

Will a Small Amount of Alcohol Affect My Sleep?

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