Understand your sleep cycle to wake up fresh

Don't want to wake up like a zombie? Try understanding your sleep cycle.

Sleep is a luxury we crave on a Sunday afternoon. But, ever woken up feeling lethargic after having slumbered for long hours or functioned better despite a shorter shut-eye? The answer lies in your sleep cycle and we tend to snooze in distinct stages. While one may not be conscious of these, you will definitely experience the ill-effects if you awaken in the midst of it.

READ| Sleeping in the dark could benefit you; here’s how

Stages of sleeping

Your average napping time is divided into five clear-cut stages. On an average, we surpass all five every time we sleep for a good 7-8 hours.

Stage One

This is the first stage with you dozing off lightly, hovering between being awake and closing your eyes. Your heartbeat rate is regular and this stage is also known as relaxed wakefulness. This is a stage where you are almost about to go to sleep and can be easily disrupted by noise, light or the sensation of falling while drifting in and out of sleep.

READ| Following these simple things will ensure a good night’s sleep

Stage Two

This is the stage where both your body temperature and brain activity drops and your body slowly starts disengaging from its surroundings. This is how your body prepares for deep sleep. Stage 2 lasts longer than stage 1 and accounts for 60 per cent of your sleep. If you wish to take a power nap, you will wake up post this stage.

Stage Three and Four

Stage 3 and 4 mean you are in deep slumber. This stage accounts for approximately 15 per cent of your sleep and your blood pressure drops alongside your muscles. Here, breathing also slows down and your body starts growing and repairing tissues. It also releases hormones for your recovery and growth. This is an important process that helps you feel more energetic post sleeping.

Stage Five – REM (Rapid-Eye-Movement) Stage

An average REM stage lasts for a good 90 minutes. It is surprising how your brain slows down activity in the stages occurring before this because, astonishingly, your brain is more active during the REM stage. This is the time where vivid dreams come into play, your eyes are moving rapidly (here’s where it gets the name from) and your brain is busy processing all the information and emotions you faced through out the day. In a way, the mind energises itself when the body is asleep; it stimulates parts of the mind we use to learn.

ALSO READ| Sleep plays essential role in ensuring the brain receives necessary repairs: Study

In the quest to sleep smartly so that we wake up fresh and energetic, we have a few app recommendations.

Sleep Cycle: Sleep analysis & Smart alarm clock (Available on Appstore and Playstore)

Sleep Time: Cycle Alarm Timer (Available on Appstore and Playstore)

Sleep Calculator Pro (Available on Appstore and Playstore)

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