How Sleep Works

Purpose of Sleep

Research indicates that rather than being quiet and still as we sleep, our brains undertake a huge amount of activity, which consumes a lot of energy. The firing of these neuron circuits is what helps to maintain our immune systems, regulate hormones and consolidate memories. Sleep also impacts on our cognitive functions and our ability to undertake physical exertion.

The 5 Stages

Each stage of the sleep cycle serves a distinct purpose. We go through all 5 stages between 4 to 6 times every night, though not always in the same order.

Stage 1

A light sleep phase in which the mind begins to drift off, the body slows down and the muscles begin to relax, usually lasting between 5-10 minutes.

Stage 2

Heart and respiratory rates slow down along with brain waves. The body’s core temperature falls slightly as the muscles reach a state of relaxed inertia.

Stage 3

The brain begins to use slow delta-waves, with short bursts of beta-waves as the deep sleep stage begins. Waking at this stage would leave the mind groggy and unable to focus properly. This stage can last between 5-15 minutes.

Stage 4

The deepest sleep stage, stage 4 sees the brain only showing delta-wave activity. Lasting anything between 5 minutes to an hour, the body undertakes major repair work during this phase.

Stage 5

The dreaming stage – at this point the brain activity increases as it goes into REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. The muscles go through periods of paralysis while blood flow and respiratory rates increase. Usually beginning around 90 minutes after stage 1 and lasting between 10 minutes to an hour, stage 5 tends to decrease with age.

Why it’s important to get enough

As sleep directly affects the function of the brain, it is vital to ensure that you get enough to function properly. Lack of sleep can lead to high blood pressure, migraines and depression symptoms which increases the overall likelihood that the body falls ill. If you find that you are awake most nights suffering with allergies, consider investing in a mattress protector to help alleviate symptoms and enhance your rest.

If you would like to find out more about how mattress protectors can help you to minimise allergies in your home, get in touch with our experienced, knowledgeable staff by calling 020 8731 0020 or email us via the Contact Us page.

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