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Sleep Systems Feature Article

The Stages of Sleep and How They Benefit the Body

While sleep is still something of a mystery, researchers have determined that there are distinct stages of sleep that a person goes through if they get a full night's rest. The exact function behind each is still being studied, but scientists have come up with at least a few reasons behind the stages. Here's a brief look at them.
Some of you may already be familiar with the sleep stages of REM and Non-REM sleep. REM stand for Rapid Eye Movement and is a distinct period of rest by itself. Non-REM is actually divided into 4 different stages of sleep. Each part of the sleep cycle benefits us in a unique way.
The stages of sleep actually start with the Non-REM stages. The beginning stage or stage one is where a person first lies down and closes their eyes. The brain begins to ramp down activity and start the process of shifting the body into sleep mode. The person is still aware of things and can be easily awakened at this point. On average this part of the process only lasts a few minutes.
Stage two of the sleep stages is the following period of light sleep. The heart rate slows and body temp lowers. The body is finalizing the process of falling asleep and is getting ready for deep sleep. It is during the deep stages of sleep that the body performs a number of functions including repair of various tissues, constructing bone and muscle mass and recharges our energy and immune systems. Most of our health issues from sleeplessness are a result in a decrease or a lack of the next two stages where deep sleep occurs as well as REM sleep.

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