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Sleep Structure

The sleep structure is how sleep is built every night; it is divided into cycles that are periods of time in which the distinct phases of our sleep take place. And it is that the sleep is divided into five phases. When they occur continuously, it is said that we have completed a sleep cycle. And each sleep cycle lasts between 90 and 110 minutes in adults and 45-60 minutes in children.

Next, the explanation of each of the phases

  1. Numbness: considered a kind of transition, this stage usually includes the first ten minutes in which we are asleep, at which time we go from wakefulness to sleep. During this phase there are the classic moments of ‘fall’ that we sometimes dream of. It is also easy to wake up.
  2. Light sleep: it is the phase that occupies the most time during our hours of sleep and it combines stages in which our brain activity is extremely high with others in which it is less intense. It is during this time that our heart rate slows down and when, normally, our dreams are most vivid.
  3. Transition: the transition stage has a noticeably short duration, of just three minutes and is the one that leads us to the stages of deep sleep. In addition, peaks of growth hormone segregation occur currently. At this stage sleep disorders such as sudden screams, night terrors, sleepwalking among some may occur.
  4. Deep sleep (Delta): occupying approximately 20% of the totality of our sleep every night, that of deep sleep is undoubtedly the most important phase since it is responsible for determining the quality of our rest. Is in this phase when our blood pressure drops considerably
  5. REM (Rapid eye movement), this phase occupies 15 to 30 minutes of our sleep. During it, our eyeballs move at high speed under our eyelids, great brain activity occurs, so it is common to have very vivid dreams during this phase. 

The quality of our sleep will depend on the number of complete cycles we complete each night. We can wake up in any of the phases. When this occurs, the sleep cycle starts again from the first phase. Then we begin to understand disruption of the sleep cycle.

For that reason, it is more interesting to sleep for example four complete cycles, than to sleep six partial cycles. With micro awakenings.

This happens because each phase of sleep plays a key role on a physiological level. And we need them all to recover and have an excellent quality of life.

Liliana Amaro-Children Sleep Coach has the mission of helping families and children to sleep 

entire nights, because when in a house a child does not sleep well is usually one night

 in which the family does not sleep well, all the effects of continuous interruption of cycles

 it is noticeable and although we try to pretend that we are not sleep deprived, there will be signs 

of sleep deprivation that others will notice.

About the author

Liliana Amaro

International Children Sleep Coach
(Breastfeeding Advisor, Child Massage Instructor, Baby Sign Language Instructor)

I’m Liliana Amaro the founder of Zzleep My Baby and certified as Child & Baby Sleep Consultant, Brisbane based; but currently servicing Internationally covering many regions in Australia, North and South America, Europe and Asia. Zzleep my baby was established to provide support to parents with newborn babies, infants, toddlers, twins and kids under 10 who struggle to sleep at night.

Born in México City, Mother of three Zelda, Inka and León. My journey as Baby Sleep Consultant began with the arrival of my first daughter Zelda, as a first-time mum was excited for her arrival, but of course never researched about infant sleep routines. When she was born, I dedicated myself to care for her day and night, without any experience or help got a general advice from the hospital and I began to wake up and feed my daughter every three hours even when she was asleep, I did this for months. My exhaustion and tiredness were extreme, as a result, Zelda got into the habit of waking several times during the night and as she grew up the night wakings were much more frequent, also it was not possible for her to sleep or resettle without being rocked or fed; more months passed, and I began to suffer extreme sleep deprivation. I used to work full time as an Architect, and it was extremely hard to keep my concentration and complete my tasks while being so tired.

One day sitting at my desk exhausted and almost in tears, I decided to end this situation. I researched for help finding a Sleep Consultant expert that since that moment changed my life forever. Whit her methodology I learned different sleep gentle techniques. We applied the most suited method and followed a sleep routine and plan as close as we could and in less than two weeks, we all were sleeping, Zelda learned to sleep on her own and self-settle.

In March 2015 I completed my certification by learning the techniques and methodologies created by the Coach that helped me, since then I have been fortunate to help several families in many parts of the world (Australia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Argentina, Holland, Switzerland, Spain, Lebanon etc.) with newborns, twins, babies, and children up to 5 years old sleep alone and throughout the night. Within the skills as a sleep consultant, we can help a baby to leave the pacifier, avoid continuous awakenings, resetting naps, sleep time without

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5 rounds of

  • 5 inch worms
  • 10 push ups
  • 10 squats
  • 30s – 1min plank
  • 30s – 1min bridge