1. NREM Stage 1: This is the lightest stage of sleep. This is where you are transitioning from wakefulness to sleep, you are in a state of drowsiness and can be easily awakened. Your muscles begin to relax and your brain produces alpha and theta waves.
2. NREM Stage 2: This is a deeper stage of sleep, where your heart rate and breathing slow down, and your body temperature drops. You’re not as easy to wake as your brain starts producing sleep spindles and K-complexes to help suppress external stimuli.
3. NREM Stage 3: This is the deepest stage of NREM sleep, also known as slow-wave sleep (SWS). During this stage, your brain produces delta waves, and your muscles are fully relaxed. This is the deepest and most restorative phase of sleep and it is harder to wake you in this phase. This stage is essential for physical restoration and growth as well as for consolidating memories and learning.
4. REM Stage: This is the stage where dreaming occurs, and eye movements are rapid. During this stage, your brain is highly active, and your muscles become paralyzed to prevent you from acting out your dreams. This stage is essential for emotional regulation, memory consolidation and creativity.
(stage 4 can also have characteristics of deep sleep or delta sleep, but without rapid eye movements, or “stage 4 NREM”.)
Each stage of sleep is vitally important, so interruptions to your sleep can be harmful to your health. Practice good sleep hygiene by keeping your room cool and dark. Avoid food and drinks and electronics before bed. And have your airway evaluated. If your body is having to work hard to breathe and sleep at the same time, you will not get good restorative sleep. For a free myofunctional evaluation book online at www.myofunctionaltherapyofkansas.com