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Don’t Lose Sleep Over Sleep Cycle Essentials

Sleep is more complicated than it seems. It’s a complex cycle of stages, all of which are subject to interference from outside factors.

Fortunately, understanding the cycle and the things influencing sleep means you can control them to help you get a better night’s sleep.

Multiple Stages


Sleepers go through four or five sleep cycles nightly. Each cycle lasts about one hundred minutes, with the first cycle a little shorter than the following ones.

Each cycle is made up of several stages, starting with three stages of non-Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. That is followed by a period of deep sleep, after which the sleeper goes through the first three stages again in reverse order.

REM sleep follows that, and the cycle begins again after it concludes. Later cycles have more REM sleep than earlier cycles, which instead have more deep sleep.

Every stage of the cycle is necessary to get a proper night of rest.

This means that alarms and other interruptions that break the cycle can lead to lasting tiredness.

This is especially problematic if interruptions happen several times per night, since each interruption starts the sequence again, preventing the sleeper from entering the last stages.

Light Matters

External factors can influence the sleep cycle. Your body has its own internal sleep clock which is how it can know when to fall asleep and wake up.

One of the ways your body sets its clock is through temperature and light, since lack of light and the temperature falling indicates night, a time when your body knows it should be asleep. If you’re not getting enough light during the day, after a while, your body will have a harder time knowing when it should be awake and asleep.

Even worse, artificial light disrupts sleep, causing people to wake up early because your body mistakes that light as a sign that morning is coming. Eliminating artificial light and making sure you get out into the sun a few times each day can set your body’s clock, making it easier to get a good night’s rest.

Habits Count

A healthy lifestyle encourages a healthy sleep cycle. Many people who have trouble sleeping find that regular exercise makes it easier.

Switching over to a healthier diet has similar effects. Going to bed at the same time every night also helps, since it trains the brain to prepare to sleep at the right time.

None of these techniques can solve all sleep problems on their own. However, a combination of several techniques can solve many problems.

Sleeping Well

Humans need to feel safe to sleep well. Removing anything that serves as a reminder of a stressful situation can help you relax enough to sleep.

Many people benefit from soothing scents, like doTERRA essential oils.

Sleeping well isn’t as simple as laying on a bed and waiting.

It requires you to create an environment and maintain a lifestyle conducive to sleep. Doing so isn’t the only way to get over sleeping problems.

It’s the most reliable and effective method for most people.

About The Author

Claire Stewart is a freelance writer and blogger focused on writing about health, travel, and business among other topics. She graduated from Washington State University with a Bachelors in Women’s Studies and currently lives in Seattle with her goldfish, Merlin.

Copyright: maridav / 123RF Stock Photo

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