Understanding Sleep Stages and Sleep Positions

Sleep is essential for your health. Getting enough sleep is as important to good health as eating healthy and regular exercise. It is vital for your body and mind to rest. It helps in regulating your emotions and maintaining your circadian rhythm (physical, mental and behavioral exhibitions in 24-hour cycle). It’s not only necessary to get enough sleep at night , but it’s also important to get good quality sleep.

Sleep quality is set on the time taken to fall asleep, the number of times you wake up during the night’s sleep, how you feel the next and following days and how much time you spend on different stages of sleep.
Stages Of Sleep
It’s not only thinking about getting ample sleep, but it’s also very important to think about sleep quality and to gain a reviving sleep.
To understand the quality of sleep we first need to understand the stages of sleep. Every stage of sleep has its own benefits and allows your mind and body to wake up refreshed, relaxed and revived. All the stages are crucial as they allow brain and the body to develop and recover. Thus, getting enough sleep every night should be a primacy, as sleep is very important for overall health.

The stages of sleep were modernised by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) in 2007.
STAGE 1 (Drowsy):
The first five to ten 5-10) minutes of sleep cycle. During this stage, the body is not wholly relaxed. It’s easier to wake up during stage 1. If you do not get disturbed in this stage of sleep, you may quickly move into stage 2. Not much of time is spend in stage 1.

STAGE 2 (Light Sleep):
This stage lasts about 20 minutes. In this stage your brain starts to produce waves known as sleep spindles. Body temperature drops, muscle relaxes, heart rate reduces and movement of eye stops.

STAGE 3 (Moderate Sleep):
In this stage, deep and moderate brain waves are produced known as delta waves.

STAGE 4 (Deep Sleep):
Sleep during stage 4 lasts about 30 minutes. The body relaxes even further in this stage and it’s difficult to wake somebody up from their night’s sleep. This stage of sleep allows the body to recover , reform and grow. It also boosts your immune system, helps in thinking, memory and creativity.

STAGE 5 (REM - Rapid Eye Movement):
In this stage, muscles are even more loose and brain system is likely to be more active. Dreams occur during this stage of sleep as the brain activity increases and body goes through Antonia. This is a temporary paralysis of muscles. This stage of sleep is essential because of its functions like forming memory, learning and creativity.
 How Much Sleep Do You Need
Sleep is very important for everyone at any age. Sleep has the potential to restore your body and mind. But how much sleep do you really need is the foremost step to understand its benefits.
According to National Sleep Foundation,
recommended sleep for each age group is. 
  1. New-born        0-3 months    14-17 hours
  2. Infant               4-11 months   12-15 hours
  3. Toddler             1 - 2 years     11-14 hours
  4. Pre-school         3-5 years        10-13 hours
  5. School age       6-13 years       9-11 hours
  6.         Teen           14-17 years     8-10 hours 
  7. Young adult     18-25 years       7-9 hours
  8. Adult                26-64 years      7-9 hours
  9.  Older adult        65 - more       7-8 hours
This sleep guideline recommends span of night’s sleep required for a healthy individual. It’s just not about the number of hours you sleep, but the quality of those hours you sleep is important. If you’re having trouble sleeping, waking up and staying active all day, that is because you’re not spending much time in the different stages of sleep. 
If you’re not getting enough sleep each night, you may experience sleep deprivation. Not having ample sleep every night has damaging effects on your mental and physical health. 
Bad Sleep
We all know the effect of no sleep or little sleep. It makes you feel low on energy and drowsy. Your mind feels confused and you may find it difficult to focus. Making through the day will be a struggle. 
Regularly missing out on a recuperative night’s sleep can damage your health. It impacts your mood, energy and immune system. It also effects your heart and brain abs leads to long-term health problems like hypertension, diabetes, anxiety and depression. 
Getting adequate sleep is very important for your mental and physical health. Sleep ensures to restore your mind and body for you to function at your best. Lack of sleep also has threatening effects like fatigue, weight gain, damaged skin, impaired judgement, high blood pressure and affects learning. 
The effects of lack of sleep/sleep deprivation can raise up damaging the different facets of body and mind. It’s negative effects also include: 
  1. Mental health issues
  2. Weak immune system
  3. Lethargy 
  4. Weak memory 
  5. Changes in appearance 
  6. Mood disorders 
  7. Infertility 
  8. Serious health problems like heart disease and stroke
There are many reasons that causes a poor sleep. By identifying the causes of sleep deprivation, you can get the rest that your body and mind needs. 
The most common causes of sleep deprivation can be:
  1. Stress
  2. Stress/worry
  3. Travel
  4. Illness
  5. Daytime habits 
  6. Sleep environment 
  7. Caregiving responsibility 
  8. Sleep disorders 
  9. Using stimulants
  10. Using substances 
There are many behavioural and lifestyle changes that can help you achieve a restful night’s sleep and also prevent sleep deprivation. They can be: 
  1. Stress management 
  2. Eating / drinking habits 
  3. Improving sleep environment 
  4. Regular exercise 
  5. Maintaining sleep schedule 
  6. Reducing work stress and its impact 


Sleep Positions 
It’s just not about getting enough sleep or 8 hours of sleep. There’s more to it. Your sleep position has a huge part in your sleep quality and matters more than you may think off. 
Sleeping position can improve your sleep quality. It can help you cope up with pain or any other health issue. To know and understand your sleeping positions that works for your body can help you get the sleep you need. 
The sleep position that you sleep in can also be the reason for lack of sleep or poor sleep. 
There are many sleeping positions which differ from one another. Each sleep position has its own benefits and can do a lot more to your sleep and life. 
Sleep positions can also say a lot about human nature as a matter of fact that humans spend a third of their life sleeping. The way we sleep at night can comfort and support your body and help you to get a restful night’s sleep.
By choosing a right mattress and a pillow can furthermore support your overall body and a good night’s sleep can be achieved. 
While there are various sleep positions which are beneficial, the most common sleeping positions are: 
Fetal Position
  1. The Fetal Position:  

This sleeping position is the most common one. In this sleep position, the pillow supports head, neck and knees curl up. It can help reduce lower back pain as body is more relaxed in this position. 
Sleeping on side position
  1. Sleeping on your Side Position

Sleeping on your side is also good for your body and overall health. The pillow to neck in line with spine and pillow between knees can be comfortable. This reduces heart burn and can be good for your digestion. 
sleeping on back positon
  1. Sleeping on your Back Position: 

Sleeping on your back has lots of benefits. It keeps your body aligned with spine. It also reduces knee and hip pain. Sleeping with a small pillow behind your knees with this sleep position, can reduce pressure and pain on your spine.
Stomach Sleep Position
  1. Sleeping on your Stomach:

Sleeping on your stomach can be beneficial too. It reduces sleep apnoea (snoring). Sleeping on your stomach can cause both back and neck pain. But sleeping with a pillow under your hood can reduce back pain. 
Reclined Sleeping Position 
  1. Reclined Sleeping Position: 

Reclined sleeping position is also preferable. The slight inclination in this position relieves lower back pain/disc problems. A pillow on one side by the knee cab help reduce back pressure. 


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