There are various medical tests, e.g. electroencephalogram, electrooculogram, and electromyogram.
They record parameters such as the skin’s electrical conductivity, respiratory rate, and heart rate to determine the various phases of sleep.
During the night, a series of short and long-wave cycles alternate while you sleep. They create different phases of sleep that last about ninety minutes and can change four to six times at night.
Different brain waves determine the waking and sleeping state. The electrical activity of the brain also varies depending on the sleep phase you are in.
How Many Stages Of Sleep Are There?
There are 5 stages of sleep as listed below:
In the first sleep phase, there is a transition between sleep and wakefulness.
In which sleep is so light that it may even look like we are not sleeping due to the ease with which you get on and off.
It is a state of semi-consciousness that enables us to listen to what is going on around us.
At this stage, the so-called theta waves predominate. In these moments of very light sleep, muscle activity decreases, and eye movements occur.
You may also feel like you are falling into the void, which causes you to wake up uncomfortably.
In the second sleep phase, there is a preparation phase for a good sleep. There is greater muscle relaxation here and the eyes stay calm.
Brain waves slow and synchronize, and a period of unconsciousness is initiated to capture external stimuli.
During the third phase, our body begins to enter into a deep and restful, authentic sleep, and at this stage, delta waves predominate.
We dream During the fourth phase. You’ll start seeing isolated images in this stage.
REM Sleep stage:
In the fifth phase, dreams come up in the form of stories that can be remembered later, and muscle relaxation is complete, while brain activity is like that when awake.
This stage is known as the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) phase. Even though we all feel inactive while we are sleeping, our brains can be more active than when we are awake.
The sleep phases are repeated four to five times during the night. And depending on what stage you are in when you wake up, you will feel more or less rested the next day.
It also seems that on our way from phase to phase we wake up for a few moments as a natural part of the sleep cycle.
But, these can be the cause of insomnia if they spread out of the natural cycle.
What are sleep disorders?
To get a complete and restful break, you have to go through all phases of the sleep cycle. But, this is something that not all people reach and thus have drowsiness, tiredness, and irritability during the day.
It is becoming common to find people with sleep disorders.
It has various causes, which can be summarized as follows: a type of life that affects the cycle of sleep and wakefulness, illnesses and physical problems, mental disorders, and worries that create such tensions that prevent people from resting.
During the deep sleep phase, some people experience some disorders such as bedwetting, sleepwalking, and night fear.
The sudden awakening at this stage creates confusion and it becomes more difficult to return to full consciousness.
Types of sleep disorders
Among the most typical sleep disorders are the following:
- Continued difficulty over time in falling or staying asleep, or a combination of both. They are usually associated with anxiety and depression problems when it comes to primary insomnia.
- Also to the consumption of organic substances or diseases when talking about secondary insomnia.
- The ongoing difficulty of at least a month in staying awake during waking periods. With decreased work, academic and routine routines. Alterations related to respiratory problems, due to airway obstruction or momentary paralysis of breathing during rest. Producing an interruption of the sleep cycle, and causing other associated disorders such as insomnia or hypersomnia, and which are known as sleep apnea.
- Suffer unpleasant sensations that force the legs to move constantly, preventing proper rest. Along with insomnia or daytime sleepiness, it is known as restless legs syndrome.
- Sudden fits of sleep while people are awake and unrelated to the quantity and quality of sleep. They are known as narcolepsy and are related to the low presence of Hippocratic that regulates sleep and wake cycles.
- Nightmares are dreams dominated by situations that provoke a strong emotional response generating anxiety or fear. They occur as a possible way to release daily tension while resting. To acquire the category of disorder they have to happen very frequently, interfering with the well-being of the person who suffers from them.
- Carrying out activities of wakefulness such as walking, talking, singing, shouting, moving things around while asleep, etc. Generating a lack of rest, while posing a very important potential danger for those who suffer from sleepwalking.
Other sleep disorders Some are more frequent during adolescence and usually disappear progressively as the person matures. How:
- Night terrors, associated with a very intense physiological activation and characteristic of the infant stage. They are accompanied by anxious awakenings dominated by panic. However, children forget them easily, despite the concern they generate in their parents.
- Nocturnal enuresis, or uninterrupted emission of urine during sleep. It occurs in the infant stage, and even in adolescence. It is related to a certain delay in development, alterations of the antidiuretic hormone, and due to genetic factors.
Other types of disorders are those that affect the circadian rhythm that has their origin in circumstantial factors causing maladjustment in the rhythm of sleep and wakefulness.
Among these types of disorders are:
- The phase syndrome of sleep delayed. It affects people who cannot get used to sleeping at socially established times. They normally occur as a result of having to work long periods of rest for the rest.
- Jet lag is a disorder of adaptation to the rhythms of sleep and wakefulness as a result of long trips in which important changes in time use occur.
Although good daily habits may not prevent some of the sleep phase disorders, they can improve the quality of sleep in the long term.
However, you have to keep in mind that these disorders have a lot to do with a bad rest, so if you have any of them, it is time to change your mattress.
And for this, we are going to finish this article explaining that it is good to practice sleep hygiene.
Sleep hygiene consists of a set of habits that help you get better sleep and get restful sleep.
- Get used to sleeping always at the same time, even on weekends. This helps create a habit in the body that can improve sleep phases. Have a light dinner and at least two hours before bed.
- Sleep in a well-ventilated place, without light or auditory stimuli that can interfere with rest.
- Avoid the use of mobiles, computers, and TV, until the last minute and other sources of waves that can alter our minds, and thus unbalance the phases of sleep.
- Put aside the worries of the day, and avoid discussions or movies that can generate tension before sleeping.
- Have a good mattress that allows us to rest comfortably. To help us adopt the correct posture to fall asleep. Accompanied by a pillow on which we can properly rest the head.
- Use the bedding that we like the most, avoiding underweight or excess weight. As well as adequate control of body temperature.
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