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Sleep Cycle


Welcome to another article on sleep science. Hope you have gone through the article on sleep science to enhance the quality of sleep. There are 4 stages of our sleep cycle. The first 3 stages are NREM (Non-REM stage) and the last one is called REM stage. REM (Rapid Eye Movement) is the last 1 hour of sleep cycle before one wakes up.

Sleep stages are very important because they allow the brain and body to repair and develop. Sleep cycles may be different from person to person as it is dependent on age, lifestyle, food habits, addiction to smoking and alcohol consumption.

Let us now understand the different stages of sleep:

Stage-I (Non REM sleep) :- In this stage we are trying to sleep or it can be called as light sleep, and can easily be awake for 5 to 10 minutes.

Stage-II (Non REM sleep) :- In this stage our body is prepared for deep sleep. Our heart rate and body temperature goes down. This stage lasts for approximately 20 minutes.

Stage-III (Non REM sleep) :- This is the stage in which we are in deep sleep and will not easily wake up. It’s time when our body repairs the tissues, muscles and ligaments; stimulates our immune system and strengthens our bones. After this stage IV occurs, probably stage III and IV are combined.

Stage-IV (REM sleep) :- This stage is very important in our sleep cycle. Our brain gets more active in the REM stage, dreaming occurs during this stage and there is temporary paralysation of our body muscles. In this stage our brain cells stimulate, which is very essential in learning and making memories.

Studies shows that deprivation of REM stage of sleep cycle shortens the lifespan of a person by 3 to 4 years and people are less capable of remembering things that they have learned during the day.

During sleep, our body and brain works very hard, like repairing and restoring our cells and also performs some housekeeping activities such as flushing out toxins. As our to-do list is very long, quality sound sleep is very much essential.

By changing lifestyle, we can enhance our sleep cycle as well as the “REM” stage of our sleep cycle (described in the first article of sleep science). Similarly by changing our food habits also we can enhance the “REM” stage of our sleep cycle.

Here are some suggestions of the food items that can help to get better sleep and make your morning fresh and make you healthy.

  1. Almonds: They contain magnesium which is very essential for promoting our sleep, reduction of inflammation and it also reduces the level of cortisol (stress hormone). Take soaked almonds (5 to 6 hours) before going to bed.
  2. Walnuts: They contain micronutrients like magnesium, manganese, copper and phosphorus, healthy fats, omega-3 and fatty acids. It is a great source of melatonin (sleep hormone) that enhances our sleep. Omega-3 fatty acids get converted to “DHA” in the body which increases serotonin (happiness hormone) and reduces cortisol (stress hormone). Take some soaked walnuts before going to bed.
  3. Chamomile Tea: This tea contains antioxidant properties which reduces anxiety and depression, and also boosts the immune system. Its special antioxidant property promotes brain sleepiness and improves sleep quality. Drink it before going to sleep.
  4. Fatty Fish: Fish such as Salmon and Tuna are best for enhance sleep quality. Fish contains Vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids that boost heart and brain functions that enhance sleep quality.
  5. Bananas: They contain tryptophan and magnesium, both of these properties may help to get better sleep.
  6. Golden milk: According to Ayurveda, drinking milk with Ganthoda (long pepper root) powder, Haldi (turmeric) and Jayphal (nutmeg) powder promotes brain cells stimulation and may help for better sleep. Ganthoda powder contains magnesium. Studies have indicated that nutmeg acts as an antidepressant because it contains magnesium, copper, manganese, zinc and phosphorus. Organic haldi has antioxidant and anti inflammatory properties which helps for getting better sleep.
  7. Broccoli: It contains fiber, potassium, magnesium, folic acid, protein, vitamins such as A,B,C,K. It has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that boosts our liver, brain, heart and kidney functions. Take small pieces of broccoli, saute in ghee for 3 to 4 minutes, sprinkle black pepper and rock salt powder. Enjoy it using a fork.
  8. Supplement: Serotonin produces Melatonin in the body. You can create more of it with the help of Vitamin B6 and Vitamin C.

Hope this article has helped you better understand the “Stages of Sleep Cycle”. Do practice sleep science (read the previous article to understand the same) and share your thoughts in the comment section.

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Dr.Hetal Patel


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