The sleep cycle, key to understanding insomnia problems

There are mornings when you wake up exhausted. It is evident that you have not rested at night, that you have not had a restful sleep. But it is incomprehensible to you because you have no problem falling asleep and you fall asleep right away. Maybe your insomnia problem is due to something that interrupts your sleep cycle. Do you know what the sleep cycle is like?

The sleep cycle

  • The sleep cycle consists of five phases through which every person must go through while sleeping. Throughout the night you can go through these phases four or five times, so you would be doing not one but several sleep cycles. When you go through fewer sleep cycles in one night or when a cycle is interrupted between phases, that’s when insomnia problems appear.
  • The first phase of sleep is when you start to notice your eyes closing and your body relaxing. At this time the sleep is shallow and you may not even realize that you are asleep. You don’t need more than a few minutes to move on to the second phase, which will be when you start to sleep more deeply. The third and fourth phase is what is known as the DELTA phase and is where you achieve restful sleep.
  • Finally, after about 65 minutes, which is what these four phases of the sleep cycle occupy, you reach the REM phase, which lasts about 20 minutes and is well known because if you wake up in that phase, it is when you can remember your dreams. In any case, between phase and phase you go through a few minutes in which you are not asleep, but they are so brief that you cannot notice that you have woken up.

Disruption of the sleep cycle

  • Insomnia occurs when this sleep cycle is interrupted, either between phase and phase of each cycle or between cycles. Those awakenings between cycles that occur naturally and unconsciously become insomnia problems if they last for more than a few seconds, either due to noise, temperature or because you are in an uncomfortable position.
  • The sleep cycle is actually the one that guarantees the quality of sleep, the one that makes it possible for you to wake up the next morning rested and clear, which is why it is so important that nothing interrupts your sleep cycle. To such an extent the sleep cycle determines your day that depending on what stage of sleep the alarm clock finds you in when it rings, you will wake up with more energy, more lively or, conversely, tired and in a bad mood.

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