Understanding the Stages of Sleep May Help Athletes Perform Better

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It is difficult to over emphasize the importance of sleep. In fact, some coaches and trainers across the country stress rest and proper nutrition nearly as much strength and conditioning. It turns out many athletes hit a plateau in training that they are unable to surpass without the proper diet and sleep patterns. Understanding the basic stages of sleep then can be a step toward both leading a healthier life and achieving more in your chosen sport.
Five Stages of Sleep

  • Stage 1 This is the lightest stage of sleep. Sometimes it si also called the transition stage. In this stage you can actually feel yourself drifting off into sleep. This stage allows your body to relax and drift into a good night’s rest. For the lucky sleepers, this stage only lasts five to ten minutes. If you do not set an alarm, this is also the last stage of sleep right before you wake up. You can actually feel yourself both awake and asleep during this stage.
  • Stage 2 This is also a sleep stage that is preparing you for what is to come. As your heart rate begins to slow down, Stage 2 sleep is still considered a light stage of rest. Your body temperature often decreases a little bit as you prepare for your entire body to relax so that you can enter the next stage of sleep.
  • Stage 3 This is the beginning of a deep sleep. Identified by sleep waves, this stage is known for its slow delta waves. At this point you are sleeping so soundly enough that if someone were to wake you it would likely cause you some confusion and discomfort.
  • Stage 4 This is known as the deepest stage of sleep. In fact, brain research only shows slow delta waves during this stage. This sleep stage is so sound that it is when some young children experience bed wetting or night terrors. Although it may only last for an hour or so each night, this is the stage where the body is repairing and regenerating itself.
  • Stage 5 This is what is often referred to as the rapid eye movement (REM) stage of sleep. This is when you dream. It is also the stage where your brain activity, breathing, and blood flow is nearly as active as when you are awake. Additionally, in this stage your arms and legs tend to become nearly paralyzed. Some dream analysts indicate that this may be so your body is unable to act out the dreams that you are having. Bates blissfully spend nearly 50% of their sleep time in the Rem stage. Adults, on the other hand, only inter this undisturbed sleep 25% of the time, and the amount of time it occurs decreases as we age. Although it is not a constant sleep stage, REM does occur several times during the night, the first one often within the first hour of falling asleep.

Sleep Strategies Help Some Get More Rest Than Others
Although research continues to make more progress in the study of stages of sleep, no one will deny that the rest we get at night is important. It is vital to our health, our alertness, our mood, and our energy. For many, however, finding comfort while sleep is difficult, and as a result they wake up many times during a single night. Unable to get the sleep quality that they need, they wake tired, agitated, and mentally unprepared for the day.
while many examples are given for the disadvantages of a good night’s rest, one current finding is especially concerning. Studies reported in the Huntington Post indicate that drowsy driving is as dangerous in many cases as driving under the influence. In fact, Ariana Huffington reports that many things other than driving are very dangerous to attempt if you are drowsy. These include:

  • Go shopping
  • Pick a fight
  • Brag about not sleeping
  • Consume energy drinks
  • Make important decisions

Understanding the stages of sleep may help establish a sleep schedule that will help you wake rested. In addition, many people purchase an adjustable bed that will allow them to find the best sleeping position night after night. Getting a good night’s rest will help you live a better life.

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