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Is Light Sleep Better Than Rem Sleep

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What Are Sleep Disorders

According to the American Sleep Association, at least 40 million Americans experience sleep disorders each year. Another 20 million have occasional sleep issues. These disorders cause sleep deprivation, leading to problems with work, school, driving and social activities.

There are more than 70 sleep disorders. A few, known as disruptive sleep disorders, lead to moving around or making sounds. Other sleep disorders involve food. And some sleep disorders overlap with psychiatric conditions. If you have problems with sleep or feel very tired, talk to your healthcare provider about a possible sleep disorder.

Some of the most common sleep disorders include:

    Two Main Types Of Sleep

    Further studies that measured eye movement and muscle activity along with brain activity resulted in the discovery of two types of sleep Non-rapid eye movement sleep and rapid eye movement sleep.

    NREM sleep can be broken down into three distinct stages and are characterized by the slowing down and synchronization of brainwaves.

    During stage 3, the deepest sleep, brain waves are very large and slow .

    During REM, or active sleep, brain waves are small and fast . This stage of sleep is also accompanied by the eye movement that gives this sleep stage its name. This is also the stage associated the most with dreaming, which we will get to a bit further on.

    How Do You Measure Sleep

    For centuries people believed sleep to be a passive event, but in 1953, through the use of Electroencephalography machines, scientists Nathaniel Kleitman and Eugene Aserinksy were able to determine that the body passes through several complex stages of sleep.

    EEGs record electrical brain activity. With electrodes placed on certain parts of the scalp, this noninvasive method is often used to measure wave patterns in the brain while participants are sleeping.


    In this setting, the EEG is placed on the sleeper and monitored by scientist and medical professionals during a Polysomnography, better known as a sleep study. This is done to better understand sleep patterns and diagnose potential sleeping disorders.

    What To Do If You Need Lights On During Sleep

    Most light bulbs mimic natural light and trick your brain into staying awake. Red lights, on the other hand, dont seem to have the same stimulating effect. Try them in your bedroom or in night-lights.

    If you cant control the lighting, at least add some of these healthy recommendations to your sleep routine:

    • Stick to a schedule, going to bed and waking up at the same time every day.
    • Exercise 20 to 30 minutes a day .
    • Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol before bed.
    • Do something relaxing before bed like reading or taking a bath.
    • Reduce as much light and sound in your sleep environment as possible.
    • Keep the room at a comfortable temperature.
    • Avoid watching TV or using a computer in bed.
    • If you cant fall asleep, get up and do something, then try to lie down again.

    These tips can help you engage your natural sleep/wake cycle:

    • Get some light during the day either through sun exposure or an that simulates the sun.
    • Try or a and keep lights dim if you wake up during the night.
    • If you work at night and sleep during the day, try as soon as your shift ends to signal to the brain that youre ready for sleep.

    Use An Eye Mask To Block Light

    How Much Sleep Do Fitbit Users Really Get? A New Study ...

    Similar to sound, light also has a drastic effect on the quality of sleep you get each night. If you have a partner who likes to read with the light on or if you work night shifts and catch up on your zzzs during the day, an eye mask can help. One found that the use of eye masks on participants resulted in more REM sleep and elevated melatonin levels.

    Sleep Patterns Across The Night

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    Following the N3 stage of sleep, a series of body movements usually signals an “ascent” to lighter NREM sleep stages. Typically, a 5- to 10-minute period of N2 precedes the initial REM sleep episode. REM sleep comprises about 20 to 25 percent of total sleep in typical healthy adults. NREM sleep and REM sleep continue to alternate through the night in a cyclical fashion. Most slow-wave NREM sleep occurs in the first part of the night; REM sleep episodes, the first of which may last only one to five minutes, generally become longer through the night. During a typical night, N3 sleep occupies less time in the second cycle than the first and may disappear altogether from later cycles. The average length of the first NREM-REM sleep cycle is between 70 and 100 minutes; the average length of the second and later cycles is about 90 to 120 minutes. The reason for such a specific cycling pattern of NREM and REM sleep across the night is unknown. Some scientists speculate that specific sequences of NREM and REM sleep optimize both physical and mental recuperation as well as some aspects of memory consolidation that occur during sleep, but this has not been confirmed.

    Advances In Wearable Devices

    Health monitoring devices for individuals not enrolled in research studies have become increasingly sophisticated.

    For example, the monitor straps to the chest and delivers continuous ECG, heart rate, heart rate variability, respiratory rate, skin temperature, and activity data to doctors.

    It can also be synced to Quardios free mobile app or the Apple Health app.

    and have unveiled health monitoring devices that can be worn on the finger or in the ear , respectively, at the 2017 Computer Electronics Show, according to Bertalan Mesko, PhD, a health technology expert and author of the Medical Futurist blog.

    Technology aside, it will still be up to individuals to heed their doctors advice based on the data received.

    Giving certain technologies to people will not lead to behavior change. Behavior change only takes place if proper coaching supports the use of disruptive technologies, noted Mesko. But in general, the real potential of such studies lies in the essence of using devices to obtain anonymous data about health behavior and lifestyle change. From that aspect, this could be the first step of a revolutionary scientific method.

    Why Is Sleep So Important

    We spend about a third of our time sleeping. Sleep is as essential to our survival and wellbeing as food and water are. Sleep impacts nearly every aspect of the body, affecting the brain, heart, and lungs, as well as metabolism, mood, and immune system. Physical, emotional, and mental health all depend, in part, on good sleep.

    What Is The Rem Sleep Stage And Why Is It Important

    During REM sleep, the fourth stage in the sleep cycle, brain activity accelerates, and our body experiences muscle atonia- a temporary paralysis. Although the eyes can sometimes be still, mainly the eyes can be seen moving rapidly beneath the eyelids with the occasional rapid muscle twitching. Though dreams can pop up during any sleep stage, REM sleep is when we experience our most wild, vivid dreams.   

    REM is thought to be important for emotions and motor-sensory functions. During REM sleep, the brain performs essential tasks: putting memories in their place, and enhancing cognitive functions. Think of sleep as a quiet time when our brain can finally get some housekeeping done.  

    Why Do You Forget Your Dreams When You Wake Up

    Dreams primarily occur during REM sleep. In addition to dreaming, your brain also uses this stage of sleep to make sense of your emotions, process learnings from the day, and decide what to commit to memory. Researchers have identified a particular set of neurons that play a key role in helping your brain forget new information it has deemed unimportant, which may include dreams. These neurons activate during REM sleep.

    If you would like to remember more of your dreams, it may help to write them down in a dream journal the moment you wake up.

    What Are The Health Benefits Of Rem Sleep

    Several studies in recent years have suggested that REM sleep can affect how accurately people can read emotions and process external stimuli. Walkers research, for example, has demonstrated that people who achieved REM sleep during a nap were better able to judge facial expressions afterward than those whod napped without reaching REM.

    Walker and his colleagues have also found that people who view emotional images before getting a good nights sleep are less likely to have strong reactions to the same images the next day, compared to those who didnt sleep well. I think of dreaming as overnight therapy, Walker says. It provides a nocturnal soothing balm that takes the short edges off of our emotional experiences so we feel better the next day.

    Adding to that research, the most recent study from researchers at Rutgers University suggests that the quality of a persons sleep before a traumatic event can play a role in how the brain reacts to a scary situation. The more REM, the weaker the fear-related effect, the authors write in their paper.

    Researchers arent certain why this happens. But the part of the brain that secretes norepinephrine during wakefulness and non-REM sleep takes a break during REM sleep. Norepinephrine is associated with stress, and it affects the degree to which the amygdala the fear center of the brain is sensitive to stimuli, says Itamar Lerner, co-author of the new paper and a postdoctoral sleep researcher at Rutgers University.

    Night Waking Has Developmental Benefits

    Sleep researchers believe that infant sleeping patterns is a smarter way to sleep than typical adult sleeping. They theorize that light sleep helps the brain development because the brain doesnt rest during REM sleep. In fact, blood flow to the brain nearly doubles during REM sleep. During REM sleep the body increases its manufacture of certain nerve proteins, the building blocks of the brain. Learning is also thought to occur during the active stage of sleep. The brain may use this time to process information acquired while awake, storing what is beneficial to the individual, and discarding what is not.

    Some sleep researchers believe that REM sleep acts to auto-stimulate the developing brain, providing beneficial imagery that promotes mental development. During the light sleep stage, the higher centers of the brain keep operating, yet during deep sleep, these higher brain centers shut off and the baby functions on her lower brain centers. It is possible that during this stage of rapid brain growth the brain needs to continue functioning during sleep in order to develop. It is interesting to note that premature babies spend even more of their sleep time in REM sleep, perhaps to accelerate their brain growth.

    Healthy Sleep Habits And How To Improve Your Sleep Cycles:

    REM Sleep: Definition, Functions, Disorders, Research ...

    Everyone is different and the amount of sleep we need varies for each individual. Yet there are a few common factors that can help improve the quality of your sleep. Waking up several times during the night for a prolonged period of time will most likely result in achieving less of NREM stage 3 sleep, that is, deep sleep. 

    Over time this can affect your sleep quality and cause sleepiness and lack of focus during the day. Keeping a diary to note whether external factors, such as alcohol, caffeine intake, or stress contribute to a restless nights sleep can be helpful for you to understand what steps you can take to improve your sleep. Making sure your bedroom is dark and cool and developing a routine that helps you wind down before bedtime can also lead to a better nights sleep. 

    Sleep and the quality of our sleep are fundamental to our well-being. Sleep cycles, and the sleep stages within them, are the reason we can take on each new day. So stay calm and carry on sleeping.  

    Why Do I Wake Up At 3am Every Single Night

    If you wake up at 3 a.m. or another time and cant fall right back asleep, it may be for several reasons. These include lighter sleep cycles, stress, or underlying health conditions. Your 3 a.m. awakenings may occur infrequently and be nothing serious, but regular nights like this could be a sign of insomnia.

    Dropping Into Quiet Sleep

    To an extent, the idea of dropping into sleep parallels changes in brain-wave patterns at the onset of non-REM sleep. When you are awake, billions of brain cells receive and analyze sensory information and coordinate behavior by sending electrical impulses to one another. If youre fully awake, an EEG records a messy, irregular scribble of activity. Once your eyes are closed and your brain no longer receives visual input, brain waves settle into a steady and rhythmic pattern of about 10 cycles per second. This is the alpha-wave pattern, characteristic of calm, relaxed wakefulness .

    The transition to quiet sleep is a quick one that might be likened to flipping a switchthat is, you are either awake or asleep , according to research.

    Unless something disturbs the process, you will proceed smoothly through the three stages of quiet sleep.

    Where Can I Get More Information

    For information on other neurological disorders or research programs funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, contact the Institutes Brain Resources and Information Network at:

    Office of Communications and Public LiaisonNational Institute of Neurological Disorders and StrokeNational Institutes of HealthBethesda, MD 20892 Publication No. 17-3440c

    health-related material is provided for information purposes only and does not necessarily represent endorsement by or an official position of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke or any other Federal agency. Advice on the treatment or care of an individual patient should be obtained through consultation with a physician who has examined that patient or is familiar with that patients medical history.

    All NINDS-prepared information is in the public domain and may be freely copied. Credit to the or the is appreciated.

    Light Sleep And Feeling Energized

    When youre ready to get up for the day, its best to do so during light sleep. Our Smart Alarm can help with that. Just set the time frame youd like to wake up in, and the Smart Alarm will wake you at the ideal moment in your sleep cycle. That way, you can rise feeling refreshed and ready for the day.

    Brain Basics: Understanding Sleep National Institution of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

    Onset Period Followed By Four Phases Of Sleep

    When measuring total sleep time, sleep is considered to start when you close your eyes to fall asleep. The period between first closing your eyes and entering phase 1 is known as sleep onset.

    Phase 1 is very light sleep, where you are drifting in and out of consciousness and are easily woken. In phase 2 the functioning of the brain slows down but there are still short bursts of activity.

    The first two phases of light sleep make up about half of the total sleep cycle. Phases 3 and 4 are the deep sleep phases. You dream in phase 4. When this phase ends, you sleep more lightly again before a new full sleep cycle starts. Some people completely or partially wake up after the sleep cycle ends, while others stay asleep until morning.

    Total sleep time ends when you wake up and then stay awake and get up.

    Why Do I Jerk As Im Falling Asleep

    If you have ever found yourself jolted awake by a muscle contraction or movement as you were drifting off to sleep, you likely experienced a hypnic jerk. Hypnic jerks are sudden, involuntary muscle jerks that occur in the transition from wakefulness to sleep. They are normal and common. However, if you would like to reduce the chances of these movements happening, it may help to practice stress management and relaxation techniques, limit your use of caffeine and other stimulants, and avoid exercising right before bed.

    The Role Of Genes And Neurotransmitters

    Chemical signals to sleep     

    Clusters of sleep-promoting neurons in many parts of the brain become more active as we get ready for bed.  Nerve-signaling chemicals called neurotransmitters can switch off or dampen the activity of cells that signal arousal or relaxation.  GABA is associated with sleep, muscle relaxation, and sedation.  Norepinephrine and orexin keep some parts of the brain active while we are awake.  Other neurotransmitters that shape sleep and wakefulness include acetylcholine, histamine, adrenaline, cortisol, and serotonin.

    Genes and sleep

    Sleep studies

    Your health care provider may recommend a polysomnogram or other test to diagnose a sleep disorder.  A polysomnogram typically involves spending the night at a sleep lab or sleep center.  It records your breathing, oxygen levels, eye and limb movements, heart rate, and brain waves throughout the night.  Your sleep is also video and audio recorded.  The data can help a sleep specialist determine if you are reaching and proceeding properly through the various sleep stages.  Results may be used to develop a treatment plan or determine if further tests are needed. 

    Stage Of Sleep Deep Sleep

    Getting To Sleep on Time Every Night

    Deep sleep occurs 45 to 90 minutes into the sleeping cycle. It is considered to be the most important part of the sleeping cycle. The reason for that lies in the fact that the body recovers completely during the deep sleep. The body is relaxed and ready to accumulate energy for the next day, heal injuries and illnesses and is overall focused on dealing with any damage to the body.

    Deep sleep is often referred to as slow-wave sleep or delta sleep. Deep sleep may last anywhere between 45 and 90 minutes and often occurs several times during the sleep cycle. The first phase of deep sleep lasts the longest, while each new phase is shorter.

    Deep sleep intertwines with light sleep in healthy individuals. Usually, deep sleep occurs more in the first half of the night, while light sleep occurs more in the second half of the night.

    In some individuals, deep sleep doesnt take place, or it occurs only in its first phase. Lack of deep sleep often leads to sleeping conditions, like insomnia, sleep interruption, sleep apnea, anxiety, depression, and overall can affect ones health negatively.

    What Is The Best Temperature For Sleep

    The ideal bedroom temperature for sleep falls between 66 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. We tend to sleep more restfully in cooler bedrooms, due to a biological process known as thermoregulation. Throughout the day, our brain keeps our core body temperature within a certain range. In line with our circadian rhythm, our core body temperature begins to dip in the evening and reaches its lowest point in the middle of the night. By keeping our bedroom temperature low, we facilitate this process and encourage more restful sleep.

    Do Mattress Type And Cost Really Matter

    Both mattress cost and type can matter when it comes to comfort. A high-quality mattress generally costs between $600 and $2,000. Mattresses that are significantly less expensive are more likely to be made from lower-quality materials or poorly constructed. Mattresses that are more expensive may have extra features and designer elements that do not necessarily translate to better sleep.

    The best type of mattress for you is whichever one allows you to sleep soundly at night. It is important to choose a mattress that supports while you sleep, and replace it when that is no longer the case. One study found that when people replace their old mattress with a new one, they report significant improvements in sleep quality and back pain. That study, along with others, also found that medium firm mattresses consistently provided the optimal comfort for most people.

    When Should I Set My Alarm

    When Should I Set my Alarm?

    An individual sleep cycle typically lasts around ninety minutes to two hours, during which the brain cycles from slow-wave sleep to REM sleep. However, the sleep cycle is not as simple as cycling through the stages sequentially.

    As the night progresses, the amount of time we spend in a specific stage changes, as does the order of the stages. For example, the average length of the first non-REM-REM sleep cycle is 70 to 100 minutes.

    The second, and subsequent, cycles are longer lasting â approximately 90 to 120 minutes . In adults, REM sleep increases as the night progresses and is longest in the last one-third of the time spent asleep. N2 begins to account for the majority of non-REM sleep, and N3 can even disappear altogether .

    On the average night, adults typically need to complete at least four or five sleep cycles per night, or 7 to 9 total hours of sleep . However, there is a large degree of variability from person to person and from night to night .

    Babies, for example, have shorter sleep cycles, lasting only about 50 minutes for the first nine months of life, and it is typical for newborns to sleep anywhere from 14 to 18 hours a day .

    For naps, the most professionals agree that shorter naps are better if a personâs goal is to wake up feeling refreshed and alert. However, the results of a 2019 study indicated that 25-, 35-, and even 45-minute naps significantly reduced signs of stress and fatigue in physically active men .

    How Much Deep Sleep Should You Get

    Psychology Today defines deep sleep as … a time of nearly complete disengagement from the environment. A deeper sleep is also known as delta sleep, slow wave sleep or N3. It is a restorative sleep state where dreams do not occur, and still relatively little is known about it.  What we do know is that deep sleep is the third stage of sleep. During this stage, your heart rate and breathing slow down and your muscles relax to the point where you barely move. Deep sleep is necessary for your body and skin to repair itself and recharge for the next day. Your organs detoxicate, your kidneys clean your blood, and your body replaces cells, heals wounds, and builds muscle tissues as well. Most deep sleep happens in the first sleep cycle. If someone is woken up during deep sleep, he or she will usually feel disoriented for sometime after waking up. It can be very difficult to wake a person during deep sleep levels.


    So how much deep sleep do you need? According to New Health Advisor, adults 18 and older need anywhere from 1.5-1.8 hours of deep sleep per night, which is about 20% of your overall sleep. Some people, however, may find they need more hours of sleep in order to feel fully rested and consider it a good nights sleep. After all, theres no such thing as too much deep sleep.




    Why Sleep Is So Important

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    Many hard-charging managers pride themselves on their ability to work long hours and get by on 5 or 6 hours of sleep. But the truth is that theyre shortchanging themselves and their companies.

    Sleep is not a luxury, says Dr. James OBrien, medical director of the Boston SleepCare Center in Waltham, Mass. Its a necessity for optimal functioning.

    When you sleep, your brain catalogues the previous days experiences, primes your memory, and triggers the release of hormones regulating energy, mood, and mental acuity. To complete its work, the brain needs 7 to 8 hours of sleep. When it gets less, your concentration, creativity, mood regulation, and productivity all take a hit.

    How sleep works To understand why the right amount of shut-eye is so important to performance, it helps to know how sleep works.

    Healthy sleep is divided into four-stage cycles. As we progress through stages 1 and 2, we become increasingly unplugged from the world until we reach the deep sleep that happens in stage 3. In deep sleep, both brain and body activity drop to their lowest point during the cycle, and blood is redirected from the brain to muscles.

    The fourth and final stage is named for the rapid eye movement REM that is its defining characteristic. Our brains become busily active in REM sleep, too, even more so than when we are awake. Dreaming happens during this stage.

    In a full nights sleep, we experience three or four such cycles, each lasting 60 to 90 minutes.

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