High-quality sleep is a precious thing. Not only can it help you feel energized and refreshed, but it also plays a vital role in supporting your overall health. Whether or not you get to enjoy the many benefits of sleep depends largely on how your body moves through its different stages. Below, you will get a brief overview of the four stages of sleep in Forth Worth. We will also touch on how obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can interfere with the sleep cycle.
Stages 1 and 2: Light Sleep
When you initially nod off to sleep, you enter the first phase of the sleep cycle. Your eye movements slow down, but you are still somewhat alert. It is relatively easy for noises, lights, and other stimuli to wake you up. Typically, stage 1 of the sleep cycle lasts for just a few minutes.
The next stage of the sleep cycle is also classified as light sleep. However, this is when your brain starts to produce a special type of wave known as sleep spindles, which may play a role in preventing you from prematurely awakening. In many people, stage 2 sleep takes up about half of their total sleep cycle.
Stages 3 and 4: Deep Sleep and REM Sleep
When you transition into stage 3, you are officially in “deep sleep,” which means it is more difficult to arouse you. During this time, your body’s healing mechanisms increase their activity. Muscles and other tissues that suffered damaged during the day start to be repaired. Your body also produces cytokines, which play an important role in your immune function. For children and teenagers, deep sleep is a vital part of their overall growth and development.
Stage 4 sleep is also known as rapid eye movement sleep or REM sleep. This name stems from the fact that during this stage, your eyes move quickly in various directions. Your heartrate and blood pressure increase, and your breathing becomes shallower. Most dreams occur during REM sleep. It is also when your brain works to consolidate new information and file it in your memory.
The Dangerous Effects of OSA
OSA is a disorder that causes pauses in breathing throughout the night. Those pauses arouse you, pulling you out of your sleep cycle. Many individuals with OSA do not spend enough time in deep sleep, leading to problems with their mood and memory. They are at an increased risk of many health issues, including heart problems, type 2 diabetes, and more.
Are you fully benefitting from your nightly sleep? If you believe that OSA is impeding your ability to move through your sleep cycle as you should, it is time to consider seeking professional care.
About the Practice
Dr. Mitch Conditt has decades of experience as a general dentist. In recent years, he has focused primarily on helping patients find relief from OSA via oral appliance therapy. If you are struggling to get enough sleep, he and our team would be pleased to assist you. Contact us at 817-527-8500.