Sleep is a basic necessity, but deep, refreshing sleep can sometimes be elusive. Our modern lifestyles and active minds can interfere with our body’s natural ability to shift into a restful dream state.
Sleep advice often focuses on how to fall asleep, yet this is only one step in a complex sleep cycle. A good night’s sleep includes four different stages of sleep. Understanding each stage can help you optimize sleep from the moment your head hits the pillow to the moment you wake up to a new day.
The four sleep stages fall under two categories: non-rapid eye movement sleep (NREM) and rapid eye movement sleep (REM).
Stage 1: NREM Stage One
The NREM stage is the transition from wakefulness to dozing off. Ideally, this stage lasts no longer than ten minutes.
Stage 2: NREM Stage Two
Your body adjusts to the sleep state by lowering your body temperature, slowing your heart rate, and producing transitional brain activity called sleep spindles. This stage is typically about twenty minutes long.
Stage 3: NREM Stage Three
Stage three is the deepest form of sleep. Your breathing rate slows, your blood pressure drops, and your muscles relax.
Stage 4: REM
The REM stage is the stage associated with dreams.. Your mind becomes active, as evidenced by rapid eye twitching, and the rest of your body becomes immobilized to prevent you from acting out your dreams (sleepwalkers are reacting to their dreams in this state).
Each stage plays a different role in overall health and wellness. For example, during NREM stage three, your body repairs cell damage and strengthens immune functions. REM stage four is associated with emotional processing.
Since each sleep stage is different, you can improve sleep by supporting your body with what it needs at each of the four stages.
Stage 1: NREM Stage One - Bedtime Routine
Bedtime routines and rituals send signals to your mind and body that it’s time to switch over to sleep. Adding some quiet activity like journaling or deep breathing to your routine can help ease the transition.
Stage 2: NREM Stage Two - Sleep Hygiene
Since NERM stage one only lasts a few minutes, good sleep hygiene can help you move into stage two without waking up. Keep lights low, remove electronics from the bedside, and make sure the temperature and noise level of your room are optimal. Triple Action CBD Sleep can also help you move from stage to stage. Its fast-acting melatonin helps you fall asleep and its time-release melatonin helps prevent you from jolting awake during stages two or three.
Stage 3: NREM Stage Three - Consider Technology
If you’re having trouble getting deep, stage three sleep, consider using a wearable sleep device, sleep app, or bedside monitor to measure your sleep cycle. Sleep technology can measure everything from body temperature to brain activity, providing useful information on why you may be waking up during the night.
Stage 4: REM - Reduce Daytime Stress
People who are highly stressed during the day tend to have more stressful dreams, which can make it harder to sleep through the night. Work in daily stress reduction activities like technology breaks, exercise, and meditation. You can also support your system with the stress-reducing power of Ashwagandha Stress Reset. The ancient herb Ashwagandha helps regulate stress throughout the day so it doesn’t accumulate by bedtime.
Wishing you sweet dreams and optimal sleep at every stage!