by Steve Bishop
As you may have discovered through your life, having sleep is very important to your well-being. Sleep is essential to you because sleeping will give you the necessary energy to live and breathe through another demanding and stressful day. Sleeping also gives you the time to take it easy, relax, and to stop thinking about your worries and anxieties that will sometimes trouble you in your waking state.
Sleep also helps to look after your body and help your memory to stay sharp. Sleeping is as important as eating and drinking so we should pay attention to our sleeping habits like we check our bank accounts. Without proper sleep, your body will not function efficiently.
Unfortunately, most people feel they do not get enough sleep. Todays high-speed lifestyle causes people to experience lack of sleep. This is largely due to over working and poor diet; while others experience a variety of sleep disorders that just stop them from getting enough sleep.
There are different reasons for sleep deprivation. Somniphobia, (fear of sleeping) tension or stress, environmental noises, working at a night shift, and travelling around from place to place can cause sleep deprivation. But the most common and well-known causes of sleep deprivation are sleep disorders, and the best known sleep disorder is insomnia.
Sleep disorders cause lack of sleep and excessive sleepiness (normally occurs during the day) too. However excessive sleepiness caused by sleep disorders is not healthy. They do not have good quality like the sleep a normal person will experience.
The Sleep Process
As we fall asleep, we enter the transition sleep called Stage 1 and begin our first sleep cycle. Within a few minutes we go into our Stage 2 sleep.
Stage 2 sleep is where the other three stages come from. Within 15-20 minutes we have gradually evolved into Stage 3 then Stage 4 sleep.
Stages 2, 3, 4 are called delta sleep or NREM (non-rapid eye movement) sleep. Our respiration and heart beat slowdown during these 4 stages. Our body also becomes immobile.
After almost half an hour of NREM sleep, our brain goes loco and we go back to stage 2 sleep and then go to REM (rapid eye movement) sleep where our brain becomes very active and our respiration and heart rate increases again.
This is the stage where our dreams occur. Our eyes also move in all directions under our eyelids. The REM sleep will happen for only about 10-20 minutes and then goes back to stage 2 again. This marks the end of the first sleep cycle and then starts all over again.
As we start all over again we gradually lose our time for NREM sleep and replace it with longer alternating stage 2 and REM sleep and by the final sleep cycle, we will spend about half our time in stage 2 sleep and half in REM sleep. Sleep will normally end after six cycles.