Science & Health

A Deep Dive into Sleep Stages and Their Impact on Wellness

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A Deep Dive into Sleep Stages and Their Impact on Wellness

Sleep and wellness go together, and a lack of restful deep sleep is certain to impact you during your waking hours. This psychological and physical feeling of not having rested enough is known as having non-restorative sleep, which leaves you feeling exhausted despite clocking in the recommended hours of shut-eye. True restorative sleep, on the other hand, ensures you wake up rejuvenated and ready to tackle the day. Achieving this level of restfulness requires cycling through various sleep stages, including the crucial deep sleep (NREM) and REM phases, which are fundamental for a truly restorative night.

The Importance of Sleep and Its Stages

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In one night, a person will go through around four to six sleep cycles of 90-120 minutes each, with each cycle consisting of four sleep stages. These four sleep stages are split into two main categories: Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep and Non-REM (NREM) sleep. NREM sleep unfolds in three sub-stages — stage N1, stage N2, and stage N3 — each deeper than the last and serving different restorative functions. If you are suffering from sleep issues such as backaches or sleep apnea, you will likely find yourself waking up during the night before you even reach deep sleep. While not having enough sleep for a day or two may feel tolerable at first, it may lead to health complications in the long run.

NREM Sleep

Stage N1:

The doorway to sleep, where we drift off and disengage from wakefulness. This stage is also where we transition to deeper sleep, and is characterised by slow, rolling eye movements, a decrease in heartbeat and breathing rates, and muscle relaxation. 

N1 sleep is short and normally lasts around one to seven minutes. Some people will find themselves waking up more easily as compared to the other stages.

Stage N2:

Occupying the largest portion of our sleep, stage N2 is a period of light sleep preceding the deep restoration of stage N3. Here, the body goes into further relaxation, heart and breathing rates continue to slow, and body temperature drops, preparing us for the deep sleep that follows.

N2 sleep can last around 20 minutes and will get longer throughout the night. Most people will spend around half their sleep time in N2 sleep.

Stage N3:

Often termed slow-wave or delta sleep, this stage is also known as deep sleep. It’s during this stage that the body undergoes significant restoration: tissues repair and grow, cell regeneration accelerates, the immune system is bolstered, and essential hormones are released. It is hard to wake someone from N3 sleep, which can last around 20-40 minutes. As the night progresses, these deep sleep intervals will shorten, making way for increased periods of REM sleep.

REM Sleep

Following NREM sleep, we enter REM sleep, the stage most associated with vivid dreaming. It’s characterised by rapid eye movements, increased brain activity, and muscle paralysis to prevent acting out dreams. REM sleep has been linked to memory consolidation, emotional regulation, and cognitive function.

Typically, it takes around 90 minutes of sleep before you transition into your first REM stage. As the night unfolds, the duration of REM sleep extends, particularly during the latter half. 

How Sleep Stages Affect Your Health and Wellness

Each sleep stage plays a critical role in our physical and mental health. Deep sleep (N3) is crucial for physical restoration and immune function, while REM sleep supports brain functions such as memory consolidation and emotional regulation. These sleep stages are essential for optimal health, as disruptions can lead to fatigue, poor concentration, and increased susceptibility to illness.

Tips to Improve Your Sleep Quality and Help You Enter Deep Sleep

Achieving restorative sleep involves more than just the quantity of hours spent in bed; it’s about the quality of those hours. Here are strategies to enhance sleep quality and ensure you move through the sleep stages effectively:

  • Maintain a consistent sleep schedule to regulate your body’s clock.
  • Create a bedtime routine that signals your body it’s time to wind down.
  • Ensure your sleeping environment is conducive to rest, focusing on comfort, temperature, and minimal light and noise.
  • Exercise regularly, but not too close to bedtime.
  • Limit exposure to screens and blue light in the evening.
  • Buy and invest in a high-quality mattress to support your body and ensure nighttime comfort. You can also consider an adjustable bed frame to alleviate joint stiffness and pain and help you sleep better.

How Marble Mattress Technology Facilitates Healthy Sleep Stages

Marble is a bed company in Singapore that has revolutionised the mattress industry with its HexiGrid™ technology, designed to enhance sleep quality by ensuring an optimal balance between support and comfort.

The HexiGrid™ layer adapts to your body’s movements, providing targeted support while minimising pressure points, facilitating smoother transitions between sleep stages, and reducing the chances of waking at night. This technology, coupled with temperature-regulation capabilities, ensures that sleepers maintain a comfortable body temperature throughout the night, further promoting uninterrupted deep sleep and the entire cycle of sleep stages.

Embracing Sleep Science for Wellness

Understanding the science behind sleep stages reveals the importance of investing in a good sleep environment. Through our mattress technology, we hope to help people achieve restful sleep and by extension, enhance their overall wellness. If you are looking to buy a mattress that can improve your sleep quality, consider our Meridian Daily or Harmony Daily mattresses. These can be fitted with an adjustable bed frame to grant you a full night of uninterrupted sleep.

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