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What Does A Healthy Sleep Cycle Look Like

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How Do I Know If Im Getting Enough Sleep

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You are getting enough sleep if you wake up feeling refreshed and can get through your day without feeling extremely tired.

Since each person is different, it is hard to say how much sleep you need. For the most part, your body handles rest all on its own. If you are having trouble falling asleep, it could be because your body doesnt need as much sleep as you think it does.

Sleeps Impact On The Immune System

Neurons that control sleep interact closely with the immune system. As anyone who has had the flu knows, infectious diseases tend to make us feel sleepy. This probably happens because cytokines, chemicals our immune systems produce while fighting an infection, are powerful sleep-inducing chemicals. Sleep may help the body conserve energy and other resources that the immune system needs to mount an attack.

What Do Sleep Trackers Monitor

A wide variety of sleep trackers have hit the market, with more beingreleased all the time. Many are wearable trackers that you can strap toyour wrist. Others clip on your pillow or sit on your bedside table.

Features of these devices vary, but some common capabilities include:

  • Sleep duration: By tracking the time youre inactive, the devices can record when you fall asleep at night and when you stir in the morning.
  • Sleep quality: Trackers can detect interrupted sleep, letting you know when youre tossing and turning or waking during the night.
  • Sleep phases: Some tracking systems track the phases of your sleep and time your alarm to go off during a period when youre sleeping less deeply. In theory, that makes it easier for you to rouse.
  • Environmental factors: Some devices record environmental factors like the amount of light or temperature in your bedroom.
  • Lifestyle factors: Some trackers prompt you to enter information about activities that can affect sleep, such as how much caffeine youve had, when youve eaten or whether your stress level is high.

What Does a Typical Sleep Cycle Look Like?

During a typical night, you cycle through various stages of sleep:

This cycle repeats every 90 to 110 minutes. As sleep progresses, REM cyclesincrease in length.

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How Much Shuteye Do You Need

It varies from person to person, but general guidelines are:

  • 12-15 hours for infants
  • 11-14 hours for toddlers
  • 10-13 hours for preschoolers
  • 9-11 hours for schoolchildren
  • 8-10 hours for teens
  • 7-8 hours for adults

Keep in mind that some adults do fine with 5 hours, while others need as many as 10.

What Can Interrupt Your Cycle

How long is a sleep cycle? The four stages of a healthy ...

Interrupted sleep is the term used to describe sleep that is not continuous throughout the night. When this happens, your sleep cycle can be disrupted. An in-progress sleep stage may be cut short and a cycle may repeat before finishing.

There are a number of issues that can interrupt your sleep cycles. Depending on which one is at play, this may happen occasionally or on a chronic basis.

Some factors that are associated with interrupted sleep and, therefore, may affect your sleep stages include:

  • Older age: Sleep naturally becomes lighter and you are more easily awoken.
  • Nocturia: Frequently waking up with the need to urinate
  • Sleep disorders, including obstructive sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome
  • Pain: Difficulty falling or staying asleep due to acute or chronic pain conditions, like fibromyalgia
  • Mood disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder
  • Other health conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, obesity, heart disease, and asthma
  • Lifestyle habits: Little/no exercise, cigarette smoking, excessive caffeine intake, excessive alcohol use

Any time you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at night, your sleep cycle will be affected.

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Do Sleep Trackers Really Work

Activity trackers are all the rage, and millions of wrists now sportdevices that monitor everything from your heart rate and oxygen consumptionto the number of steps you take each day.

Among their many functions, activity trackers can also shine a light onyour biggest source of inactivity: sleep.

But do they actually work? Read on to learn what sleep tracking devices cantell you

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How Much Time Should You Spend In Each Sleep Stage

Below is a graphic depicting the average amount of time WHOOP members spend in each of the 4 stages of sleep on a nightly basis, as well as the percentage of total time each stage represents.

WHOOP MEMBERS AVERAGE SLEEP TIME & PERCENTAGE BY STAGE OF SLEEP

Its worth noting that for the most part our members are people who are interested in tracking their physiological data 24/7 and improving their overall performance, so its likely they make more of an effort to get quality sleep than the general population as a whole.

Every human body is different, and the amount of sleep we need varies from person to person. The middle 50% of all WHOOP members average the following per night:

  • 3:28-3:59 of light sleep

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Is Rem Better Than Deep

Your brain waves in REM sleep are closer to wakefulness than deep sleep, and your breathing becomes irregular and speeds up. Blood pressure and heart rates also increase to near awake levels in REM sleep. It’s not surprising that with so much near-wakefulness, this stage is when most of your dreaming occurs.

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Light To Deep Then Back Again

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

In a normal sleep cycle, you move from the lighter stages of sleep to deeper before moving then into REM sleep, followed by a return to lighter sleep before a new cycle begins. Over the course of a night, the composition of sleep cycles change. Early in the night you will spend very short periods of time in REM sleep and comparatively more time in the deeper stages of NREM sleep. As the night progresses, sleep cycles gradually shift, extending periods of REM sleep and diminishing periods of deep sleep.

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What Is A Sleep Debt

If you havent slept well or long enough for a few days, you might create a sleep debt. Once your debt builds up, you may feel physically and mentally exhausted. Try to make sure you get enough sleep every night to avoid creating this debt. You cant necessarily make up your debt by sleeping a lot on the weekends. Its best to get enough sleep all week long.

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What Is Normal Sleep

A good nights sleep is when you fall asleep quite easily, do not fully wake up during the night, do not wake up too early, and feel refreshed in the morning. Regularly having difficulty falling asleep or sleeping through the night is not normal for healthy people of any age. But not everyone needs the same amount of sleep, and quality of sleep is different in different phases of life.

Young children and older people sleep more lightly than adults and teenagers. The length of time spent in deep sleep phases changes over a persons lifetime. Babies and toddlers need to sleep a lot more than older children and adults. By the time they reach the age of five, most children have the typical sleep patterns of an adult: they are awake during the day and then sleep through the night. The amount of time spent sleeping gradually decreases until the age of 80.

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Eight Clear Signs Youre Not Sleeping Deeply Enough

1. Brain fog: Okay, back to the whole orange-juice-on-your-cereal thing. Your prefrontal cortex controls your short-term memory and attention span. If you dont get quality sleep, you will make these silly mistakes.

2. Zero desire: If you find yourself telling your partner youre not in the mood for sex, sleep quality could be to blame. Lets face it, you dont have the energy for physical activity. Poor sleep can also zap the hormones that create a healthy libido.

3. Dozing off: As stated above, a power nap is encouraged. If you cant keep your eyes open at the office or during dinner with a friend, lack of deep sleep could be why.

4. Trouble waking up: When youre cycling through NREM and REM properly, you should wake up refreshed. If you wake up feeling sleepy theres a problem.

5. Weight gain: Leptin is a hormone that tells your body youre full. When you dont get enough sleep, leptin levels drop. This keeps you feeling hungry and reaching for the Doritos.

6. Avoiding exercise: Most days youre so tired you can barely stand it. Running on a treadmill is the last thing on Earth you want to do. If you find yourself skipping the gym because you dont have the energy, you might not be getting enough deep sleep.

7. Youre craving junk food: For the most part, youre health-conscious. But lately, youve been craving sugary and fatty foods. When youre drained, you may reach for a soda or French fries to get that boost of energy youre so desperate for.

Why Is Deep Sleep Important

Typical REM sleep Cycle
  • The body releases growth hormones while deep sleeping, this is extremely for natural growth and muscle repair.
  • The brain has to clear metabolic waste through the lymphatic system which will then boost memory and optimize the immune system.
  • Not getting enough deep sleep may have harmful effects on blood pressure and can lead to heart attacks. Your heart needs the rest.
  • The rested feeling is necessary for your mood, not getting enough refreshing deep sleep can leave you irritable and moody.
  • Deep refreshing sleep is proven to increase productivity, without deep sleep the brain is left feeling foggy.
  • Helps your metabolism work and keeps you at a healthy weight.

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How Does Sleep Work

There are two distinct states of sleep. These are rapid-eye-movement sleep and non-rapid-eye-movement sleep . Generally speaking, the average adult will spend around 75 percent of their sleep duration in NREM sleep and around 25 percent of their sleep duration in REM sleep.

Sleep usually begins after a period of quiet wakefulness that can last up to half an hour. When we first fall asleep, we typically enter NREM sleep followed by REM sleep.

NREM sleep has three distinct stages that occur in the following order:

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What Does The Babys Sleep Cycle Look Like

You may have noticed that babies sleep a lot more than adults. In fact, newborns sleep for 16-17 hours a day. Thats twice as much as what most adults are getting.

Another interesting fact about baby sleep is that it is evenly spread across the 24-h day, and they dont have that extended uninterrupted nightly rest. This is what sleep experts call fragmented sleep, and at these ages is a consequence of a still-developingcircadian system.

The circadian system dictates the timing of basic physiological functions, including sleep, temperature regulation, and feeding. Unfortunately for babies, their internal clocks are not fully coupled to relevant environmental cues, most notably external light, so it takes a while for them to adjust to the 24-h sleep-wake rhythm.

The brain structures that regulate the circadian modulation of sleep, including the suprachiasmatic nucleus , continue to develop within the first 2-3 months of life. Until the circadian system is fully developed, babies sleep in even patches of 2-3 hours. One of the reasons why they dont sleep for longer periods is that their frequent feeding needs interfere with the sleep cycle.

At around 3 months, babies can eat larger amounts of food, which makes them able to sleep at stretches of 5 hours at a time.

Less demanding feeding schedules, along with the progressive maturation of their biological rhythms, allow the average 6-month-old to sleep through most of the night.

And what about sleep architecture?

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Every Stage Has A Purpose

At each stage of sleep, the body is engaged in processes geared toward its own repair and rejuvenation, restoring stamina, strength and function to prepare for the day ahead. The restorative processes of sleep are physical, including cell repair, hormone regulation, and protecting healthy immune system function. Sleep not only restores us physically, but also mentally, aiding in the processing of memory, emotion, and learning. All stages of sleep are important. It is the balance of time spent in each sleep stage that is critical to feeling fully rested and refreshed, and to having the mental and physical energy to meet the requirements of the waking day.

How Much Light Sleep Is Normal

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Light sleep actually constitutes the majority of your sleep cycle. Between stages one and two, its normal to spend upwards of 60% of your time here. And yet, it often gets a bad rap.

People are constantly trying to spend less time here, but its actually what our body needs most, explains Hoogs. Usually people dont like light sleep because they are having more disruptions, but there are behaviors you can do to minimize the likelihood of waking up during light sleep. I like to remind people that our body knows what its doing, and it takes what it needs when we fully support it in doing its job through our lifestyle and environment.

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Can You Do Anything To Make Your Baby Sleep Better

It can sound a little weird, but sleep is actually a skill you learn, and it doesnt come naturally for everybody. And while some babies may be natural-born good sleepers, others could have some problems learning how to rest efficiently.

Luckily for you, you can help your little one by using some proven tips:

  • Create a regular sleep and feeding schedule and stick to it. This consistency will help your baby understand when it is time to sleep. A strict sleep schedule will teach them that they should sleep at night and be active during the day. And when your babys mind and environment are in sync, it is easier for them to fall and stay asleep.
  • Create a bedtime routine that is relaxing and has a little gap between last day nap and bedtime.
  • One of the most important things is to allow babies to learn how to soothe themselves and fall asleep on their own, without your help. That means that you shouldnt pick up your baby every time it fusses, and only intervene if you see that you are needed.

Be sure to check our video on the best sleep tips for new parents, where we discuss in-depth how to improve your and your babys sleep. In this video, we discuss sleep training techniques that can teach your baby to sleep on its own.

Rem Sleep Rapid Eye Movement

REM sleep is the sleep stage in which dreaming occurs. When you enter into REM sleep, your breathing becomes fast, irregular, and shallow. Your eyes will move rapidly, and your muscles become immobile. Heart rate and blood pressure increase. Men may develop erections. About 20 percent of sleep is REM sleep for adults.

REM sleep is also the phase of sleep in which you dream. This sleep phase begins about 70 to 100 minutes after you fall asleep. The first sleep cycle has a shorter phase of REM sleep. Toward morning, the time spent in REM sleep increases, while deep sleep stages decrease.

Researchers do not fully understand REM sleep and dreaming. They know, however, that they are important in the creation of long-term memories. If a persons REM sleep is disrupted, the next sleep cycle does not follow the normal order, but often goes directly to REM sleep until the previous nights lost REM time is made up.

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What Influences The Sleep/wake Cycle

The circadian rhythm is set by the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the hypothalamus, which regulates the sleep-wake cycle. The suprachiasmatic nucleus projects to the pineal gland to release melatonin, which promotes sleep. The nucleus is synchronized by external cues known as zeitgebers, of which the strongest is light.

What Is The Sleep Cycle

Triphasic Sleep

Sleep is not uniform. Instead, over the course of the night, your total sleep is made up of several rounds of the sleep cycle, which is composed of four individual stages. In a typical night, a person goes through four to six sleep cycles. Not all sleep cycles are the same length, but on average they last about 90 minutes each.

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What Determines When You Get Sleep

Your body operates on an internal 24-hour clock known as the circadian rhythm. Ideally, you wake up feeling your most stimulated and become increasingly tired as the day goes on. By bedtime, you should feel sleepy and ready for rest thanks to a drive known as sleep-wake homeostasis. Adenosine is one of many neurotransmitters associated with the sleep-wake homeostasis that may help regulate when we get sleepy. As the day goes on, your adenosine levels build up, and you become more tired when you sleep, your body breaks the compound down and the cycle starts again in the a.m.

Your circadian rhythm is also impacted by light: your brain processes signals when your eyes are exposed to natural or artificial light that help it figure out whether its night or day. In ideal circumstances, your body releases the hormone melatonin as natural light starts to diminish, which makes you sleepy when the sun rises in the morning, your body releases cortisol and other hormones that help you wake up.

How Much Deep And Light Sleep Do Children Need

Babies and children need more sleep than adults. Babies need the most, spending about 16 of every 24 hours asleep. Approximately 50 percent of their slumber is spent in the REM stage, while the other 50 percent is divided between stages 1 through 4 and NREM sleep that cycles between light and deep.

As children grow older, the amount of sleep they need varies:

  • toddlers: 11 to 14 hours
  • preschoolers: 10 to 13 hours
  • school-aged children: 9 to 12 hours
  • teens: 8 to 10 hours

With enough sleep that appears to be restful, its likely that the light, deep, and REM ratio is exactly where it should be in young people.

If theyre having trouble with falling asleep, staying asleep, or sleeping well, or if they are sleeping way too much for their age, children may be irritable, could have learning and memory problems, or may be more susceptible to illness.

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