Sleep is quantified in cycles. The two cycles of importance for sleep are non-REM and REM. The reason they are called cycles is because we sleep in cycles, containing non-REM which include light and deep sleep, followed by REM sleep.
Wearing a sleep tracker or using apps can help us figure out how much of each we are getting at night. As we age, we tend to get less deep, regenerative sleep. This gives rise to a weaker immune system and less cellular regeneration and tissue repair. Not good news for anybody.
Light sleep is the period where you’re breathing begins to slow along with your heart rate and body temperature dropping. Ever get startled as you’re trying to fall asleep? It’s likely you were still floating with light sleep. This occurs in the first 5 to 10 minutes of sleep.
Deep sleep is when your body officially “taps-out”. The repair and maintenance crew take over. When it comes to recovering from the toils of the daily grind, this is where it happens. Cell repair, bone growth, all the good stuff that keeps us spry happens now. The body sorely needs its time in deep sleep.
REM sleep is the fun time for your brain. The relaxation goes even deeper than the time in deep sleep. However, this is the time when your heart rate and breathing can speed up. Why? Here’s the fun part…
REM sleep goes even deeper into brain recovery, dreaming and processing memories and emotions. Some researchers theorize that when we dream, we are storing things we learned in the day to our memory. Isn’t that interesting?
The body is truly nature’s perfect machine. Our brain is like our CPU. Our body is like the chassis and wheels of a car. Our heart is the engine. Like your car, if you maintain your sleep hygiene (aka maintenance) – it’ll go the extra mile for you.
If you invest in 1-thing to improve your sleep quality, consider a sleep light that dims and shines to gently wake you . Totally worth it and a great gift for a loved one!
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