The Sleep Cycle: What Is It, and Why Is It Important?

The Sleep Cycle: What Is It, and Why Is It Important?

Have you ever heard someone say, “I’m so tired, I could pass out?”

Well, even as that term seems relevant at times, it’s not entirely the case. In fact, when your body falls asleep, the brain actually starts its engine. Through various patterns, brain activity is at an ultimate high. These brain waves are categorized under what we know as the sleep cycle, which includes two parts: NREM (Non-REM) and REM (Rapid Eye Movement).

If you ever wondered where dreams generate from, here is some insight. The most dreaming happens during the REM cycle, as the eyes quickly jerk quickly in all directions. Heart rate and blood pressure levels increase, and breathing paces from fast, irregular, to shallow.

Generally, one enters these cycles about 90 minutes after falling asleep, lasting to an hour. The average adult has up to five or six cycles per that’s a lot of dreaming!

Sleep Airway Solutions believes that sleep is only utilized to its fullest potential if these cycles are not interrupted, and carried out in full. Every cycle carries out an important function that is necessary for the body and mind. Let’s take a step further by analyzing each step and its importance.

Stage 1

This is the introduction to sleep for the body, where the brain produces alpha and theta waves that make eye movements slow down. This light stage sleep lasts up to seven minutes, and is the time when you are most alert and can be easily woken.

Stage 2

The brain begins to suddenly increase in brain wave frequency (sleep spindles) and then slow down. The completion of this stage marks the perfect time to wake up after a power nap. Additionally, most NREM sleep occurs during these light stages.

Stage 3 & 4

Now, we have greeted the beginning of deep sleep, where it is more difficult to be awakened as the body is less sensitive to outside stimuli. Though the brain produces slower delta waves, the waves that are produced move this stage into a deeper, more restorative sleep. These stages are when the body gives itself a fix-up: repairing muscles, tissues, stimulating growth and development, boosting immune function, and building up energy for the next day.

Though sleep cycles are generally predictable, the duration of stages vary per age. However, all throughout, completing sleep cycles fully is essential to the health of the body and mind. To ensure this is happening, utilize sleeping apps and websites that can track your cycle. For example, is a great one to start with.

For more information about healthy and happy sleep, visit