Sleep stages are an important part of our overall sleep health. In order to feel well rested we need to make sure we are getting enough of both REM (Rapid Eye Movement) and Deep Sleep.
When we do not get enough of these stages of our sleep cycles, it can lead to brain fog. It can also exacerbate physical and mental health difficulties since we are not giving our brain and body the time to repair and renew itself.
Deep sleep is important because it allows your body to heal and grow as it works to repair your physical body. It is important for keeping your immune system functioning correctly and regulation of hormones. It helps to replenish your body and your energy for the next day. It is also important for learning and memory, as well as overall cognitive function.
REM sleep is critically important for your mental health. This is the stage of sleep where people dream and experience emotional processing. It is a critical part of healthy brain development as this is the stage where we work on consolidating our memories from the day.
This sleep stage helps us to get our bodies ready to wake up for the day and is the lightest sleep stage. When you do not get enough REM sleep, you may find it particularly difficult to wake up and may feel groggy and less rested despite the amount of sleep you may have gotten.
What happens if you do not get enough of these sleep stages?
When you don't get an adequate amount of quality sleep you may experience concentration issues, you may find yourself more forgetful than normal and over time you may contribute to chronic health conditions.
If you find yourself in a sleep debt, where you are deprived of these restorative stages over an extended period of time it can be difficult to "catch up", but there are things you can do to help improve the quality of your sleep.
How can I help improve the quality of my sleep?
If you find that these changes are not helping to improve the quality of your sleep or if your symptoms are causing you to have difficulty functioning on a daily basis, please speak to your doctor for additional assistance. We are not medical health professionals and something more may be hindering your sleep abilities. It's important to speak with a professional if you believe that your health is being affected.
Stages of Sleep: What Happens in a Sleep Cycle. (2021, December 2). Sleep Foundation. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/stages-of-sleep#:~:text=Sleep%20stages%20are%20important%20because
Deep Sleep: What it is and How Much You Need. (2021, December 2). Sleep Foundation. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/stages-of-sleep/deep-sleep
REM Sleep: Why is it important? (n.d.). American Sleep Association. https://www.sleepassociation.org/about-sleep/stages-of-sleep/rem-sleep/
Summer, J. (2021, December 16). REM Sleep: What It Is and Why It Matters. Sleep Foundation. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/stages-of-sleep/rem-sleep
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. (2019). Brain Basics: Understanding Sleep. Nih.gov. https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Understanding-Sleep