Getting an excellent sleep at night is essential in many ways, but what exactly is this defined as? To understand this concept better, it’s useful to know the four stages of sleep, which may recur throughout each night:
- NREM (non-rapid eye movement) Stage 1: This stage of light sleep lasts for a brief period of up to 10 minutes, during which time you will be easily awoken.
- NREM Stage 2: Heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature decrease. Brainwave frequency generally slows but is interrupted by sudden bursts of activity (known as “sleep spindles”).
- NREM Stage 3: This critical stage of sleep should be uninterrupted to avoid feeling groggy the next day. It is the deepest stage of sleep, when your heart rate and brain waves are at their slowest frequency and muscles are relaxed.
- REM Sleep: Most dreams or nightmares occur during this stage, but the body is more active with its blood pressure and heart rate that are close to waking levels. Breathing is irregular, and the eyes move rapidly in all directions. This, unsurprisingly, is not the most restful stage of sleep.
Staying awake for longer seems like a way to get more done, but this is a misconception. Sleep deprivation is counterproductive in every way imaginable. The recommended length of sleep for most adults is between 7 and 9 hours, but roughly half the world’s population gets less.
Here are some of the possible adverse effects of sleep deficit:
- Continuous feeling of fatigue
- Clumsiness; lack of coordination and focus
- Weight gain (tendency to over-compensate with calorie intake)
- Depression or moodiness
- High blood pressure
- Higher blood sugar with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes
- Memory problems
- Higher risk of heart disease
Many people get into a sleep deficit because of poor habits, whether it’s gazing at a computer or TV late into the night, late-night-snacking, night-time caffeine or alcohol consumption, or inconsistent bedtime hours. Get into a better, regular routine, and you’ll feel the benefits of good sleep.