The Three Stages of Sleep


While we are awake, we often think that sleep is a time of rest. However, sleep is much more than that. The three stages of sleep that occur during our life include rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, non-REM sleep, and deep sleep. Each stage has its own unique characteristics, linked to specific neuronal activity and brain waves. People normally cycle through all three stages of the sleep cycle, with longer periods of REM occurring closer to morning.

We are unaware of just how different humans are from non-human animals. This is why research on sleep is necessary to understand and promote healthy lifestyles. Researchers have found that the stages of sleep in humans differ from those of animals and even those in comas. The differences in sleep patterns are largely due to the different brain patterns that occur during each of the three stages. Let’s explore the differences between the three stages of sleep. What are the main characteristics of each stage?

The lightest stage of sleep occurs when 50% of the alpha waves are replaced by low-amplitude mixed-frequency activity. During this stage, muscle tone is still present in skeletal muscle and breathing occurs at a normal rate. This stage lasts between one and five minutes and makes up approximately 5% of the total sleep cycle. This process may be beneficial to a person’s health, but there are also some possible side effects that can result from this type of sleep.

Delta wave sleep is the deepest stage of sleep and involves slower frequency and amplitude waves. Attempting to wake a person in this stage can be difficult, and some people can’t even be woken by loud noises. Increasing age makes older people spend less time in this stage, and spend more time in the intermediate stages of stage N2 sleep. If a person is awoken during this stage of sleep, they are likely to experience transient mental fogginess.

The lightest stage of sleep, known as delta wave sleep, begins with the onset of 50 percent of alpha waves. In this stage, there is no muscle tone, and breathing is regular. The brain is in a deep state of rest when this stage is observed. Awakening in this stage of the sleep cycle can be difficult and may require a medical professional’s help. But waking up from a deep delta wave state isn’t a problem for most people, since it is the lightest part of the sleep cycle.

The lightest stage of sleep is also known as the delta wave stage. In this stage of sleep, there is minimal activity. The brain is mostly asleep. This is also when we are dreaming or concentrating. This is a stage that is difficult to wake up from. Despite its name, the stages of sleep described here are the deepest stages of the sleep cycle. While the lightest phases of the sleep cycle are more often than not the same as the other stages, the difference between them is important because they display different patterns of brain activity.