The Wardley Wellbeing Hub is the central area for the ACTNow campaign.
Understanding the different stages of sleep
During sleep our heart rate slows, body temperature falls and the complex changes take place in brain activity. When we first fall asleep we enter the non-rapid eye movement (NREM) stage of sleep. NREM is divided into three stages, with each stage becoming progressively deeper.
NREM1 and NREM2 are light stages of sleep from which we are easily woken. NREM3 is a deeper stage of sleep and some may feel disorientated if woken from this sleep stage. Finally, we move onto stage four which is known as rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. It is during this stage of sleep that people dream. Normal sleep patterns consist of a mix of all the different stages of sleep. According to the Sleep Council, the consumer education arm of the National Bed Federation, a good night’s sleep consists of five or six cycles, whereas disturbed sleep consists of far fewer.
Most adults need between six and nine hours of sleep every night. By working out what time you need to wake up, you can set a regular bedtime schedule to help aid a good night’s sleep. The NHS Choices website recommends that people who are struggling to sleep may find that keeping a sleep journal can help. This may help to uncover lifestyle habits that can contribute to insomnia. A typical sleep journal may include answers to some of the following questions:-
- what are your sleeping times
- how long did it take to get to sleep
- did you wake up during the night, and if so, how many times
- did you take any medication to aid sleep
- did you have any stimulants, for example, caffeine and alcohol
- did you exercise shortly before bed?
If you do go to your GP or a sleep expert for more help with sleeping they may ask you to keep a sleep diary to aid their diagnosis of your sleep problem. For further information, see the NHS Choices website.