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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.