Let’s talk about sleep and all the benefits we gain from having a good quality restorative night’s sleep.  

Sleep is a prescription for rejuvenating your mind and your body.  It will also help you boost your immune system, increase your energy reserve, and give you more vitality.  It will also help you lose weight and keep the weight off.

Sleep also helps you focus which means being more productive at home or at work. It also helps you learn and retain new information easier and quicker.

Sleep can also help you regulate your emotions, make you feel happier and give you more motivation to accomplish your goals.

Since learning why sleep is so important, I’ve been paying close attention to my own sleep.  Making sure I get quality sleep over quantity. The information I learned that was a game changer for me was knowledge about the sleep stages and how they fit into a sleep cycle. 

Let’s talk about sleep stages and sleep cycles.  I follow Dr. Micheal J Breus, known as the Sleep Doctor, because he provides easy to follow sleep science.  In the course “The mastery of sleep” he offered through the Mindvalley online learning platform, I learned the following. 

Sleep stages

Stage 1

It’s very transitional. It only makes up about 2 percent of the night. This is where your brain goes from wake into sleep. It really doesn’t take very long to happen.

Stage 2

Makes up almost 50% of the night.  There are a lot of different things that are going on during stage 2 sleep which are important for your body in terms of basic regulatory maintenance.

Stages 3 and 4

It’s where the good stuff comes in. This is the “wake up and feel great” sleep. This is your physical restoration and this is where the most growth hormones are emitted. Growth hormones are like bringing your car into the body shop and getting the dings and the dents out so you come out feeling great the next day. 

REM Sleep

This is your mentally restorative sleep. We now know that in REM sleep is where we move information from our short term memory to our long-term memory.  It’s kind of interesting, our brain creates an organizational substructure like a filing cabinet. So when a new piece of information comes in during stage 3-4 sleep we take out the stuff we don’t want and then during REM sleep we lock and load into that filing cabinet.  Here is where it gets pretty fascinating, when you take a piece of information into your brain, it actually gets electrically connected to other pieces of information. That electrical connection, we think, is what dreams are made of.

When you look at REM sleep, it’s really important to know and understand that not just dreaming is occuring, but also memory is occuring. Again, this is your mentally restorative sleep.

Now that we have learned about sleep stages, how do they fit into sleep cycles?

Sleep Cycles

During one sleep cycle, which lasts approximately 90 minutes, we go through all 5 sleep stages  mentioned above. The average person has five sleep cycles per night when they are getting a good quality restorative night’s sleep.

Interestingly, not all sleep cycles are created equal. Dr. Breus mentions that we now know that stage 3-4 sleeps happen at the beginning of the night and stage REM sleep usually happens at the back end of the night. This is why when someone says they only sleep 6 hours, they’ve started to take out that last 2 or 3 last sleep cycles and that is where the memory problem comes in. So if you are a person that says you walk into a room and you can’t remember why you are there, or lose car keys, or can’t remember everything that is on the grocery list, it’s probably because you’ve lopped off that last third of the night which is where REM sleep as a tendency to occur.

Now that I understand sleep on a deeper level, I find it easier to follow my sleep routine to ensure I get that good quality night’s sleep.  

Knowledge is power and in this case, knowledge is feeling energized and ready for the day once I open my eyes.

If you want to find out how to use EFT/Tapping to help improve the quality of your sleep, please read my blog “How to use EFT/Tapping with the intention to improve your sleep“.

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