Did you know that sleep is about 25 to 30 years of your life? It may seem disproportionate, but sleeping is a vital activity for your body, which needs to rest on a daily basis. Indeed we can distinguish three main functions of sleep:
- It consolidates your memories to strengthen your memory
- It allows physical repair by ensuring muscle regeneration and cell renewal
- It controls the hormonal regulation to stay fit
The cycles and phases of sleep
Your sleep consists of several sleep cycles that themselves break down into distinct phases. During one night you will go between 4 and 6 sleep cycles of 90 minutes each. Below is the distribution of sleep phases within a cycle.
I) Light sleep: this phase includes drowsiness (first signs of fatigue, heavy eyelids, lower alertness for example) and the first "real" sleep period. It represents about 45% of a cycle. When you are in this phase, you can still be awake easily because your body is still alert.
II) Middle sleep: this is the transition period between light and deep sleep, your body relaxes. Your unconscious vigilance decreases: it will be harder to wake you up.
III) Deep sleep: this is the most important phase of sleep because it is at this moment that we benefit from the advantages mentioned above. You are in a state of total rest; your body can finally recover from its day.
The dream phase (also called paradoxical sleep): as its name presumes, it is during this phase that you will dream. It is also called paradoxical sleep because although you are in a very deep sleep, your body moves, your eyes perform fast movements; your face shows little movements.
Micro-wake-up: this phase ensures the transition with your next sleep cycle and it is possible to perform micro-wake-up (but you will not be aware for the majority).
It is known that these are the first hours of sleep most restorative. How to explain this? Simply by looking at the evolution of sleep cycles’ composition. Indeed during your night the cycles of sleep will follow each other but will not be alike: the phases of deep sleep will be more present during the first cycles while the phase of dreams will be longer and longer over the cycles.
As this diagram shows, the further we go in our night the less we reach sleep phase III (= deep sleep) which allows our heart to rest. And on the contrary, the further we go in the night, the more paradoxical sleep takes an important place in the sleep. This evolution of the distribution of sleep phases also explains why we remember very easily our dreams when we wake up: because at the end of our night we are most of the time in phase of REM sleep, the phase of dreams.
Thanks to the DOT or RESTON sleep sensors, you will be able to observe the evolution of your sleep over the course of your night. The data recorded by these sensors is displayed on your Wellness Coach - Sleep app to help you understand your sleep.