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The Science Behind Sleep Cycles

It may be an odd thought, but our physical bodies are mechanical things that need to be properly maintained. That means having a proper diet, regular exercise, and most important of all, a proper sleep. In this sense, we can think of a mattress as a charging pod for our bodies. The same way we plug our phones and computer in to recharge each night, we need to do the same with our bodies.

The science behind sleep cycles is interesting, of course, but also something we should read up on more frequently to remind ourselves just how crucial a good night’s sleep is.

Rapid-Eye Movement (REM)

What is the REM cycle? Being asleep is obviously more than just closing our eyes. The REM cycle has four phases, and hitting each of those is important to be well rested.

In the first five to ten minutes of sleep, our body is in the first phase of its REM cycle. Small sounds, lights, or movement can still stir us awake, and if that happens, we will be alert.

In the second stage, our body falls into a more relaxed posture and may only be woken by loud noises or bumps. At this point, your brain activity begins to slow down. This is the type of sleep that power nappers strive for to get a brief yet refreshing sleep.

In the third stage, your brain sends signals to different parts of your body to remain inactive. That way, you won’t start thrashing around in your sleep. This is the point where deep sleep begins which is hard to wake from. It’s a restorative phase and usually where you will get the most restful sleep.

In the fourth and final stage, it is extremely hard to rouse from sleep. Your body and eyes won’t move at this stage, but your immune system, muscle tissues and memory recall are at work repairing itself, performing routine maintenance, and building energy for the next day.

Dangers of not getting proper sleep

Not having a restful sleep in which your body goes through a REM cycle, can be damaging to your body and mind. The science behind sleep cycles and deprivation has been studied in depth and proven to impact your ability to cope, makes you more likely to suffer from migraines, suffer from chronic pain, become obese, suffer from depression, and have lowered immune functions.

For babies, about 50% of their sleep is in the REM cycle, while for adults it’s around 20%. That number will gradually become lower as you age. But regardless, a proper REM affects your wellbeing.

How to help get a restful sleep

It’s crucial for your health to be well rested. That’s why it’s important to have a solid bedtime routine. Take steps to avoid being woken during the night, get the required amount of sleep, deal with any medical conditions that affect your sleep, avoid caffeine and screen time before bed and invest in a high quality sleep.

At the end of the day or night, if you prefer, a good mattress is like a quality charging device. The science behind sleep cycles clearly shows that a proper night’s sleep is the most important factor for good health.

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