Sleep or not sleep (Part 2) How sleep works

In the last post we left each other with the description of why we sleep and some of the main functions that sleep fulfil.

But how does sleep works? And how much sleep do our body need to work at the best level?

How sleep works

Sleep is divided in two cases. Rem sleep and Non-Rem sleep. During the sleep period we pass through both stages more times.

The Rem stage is the one characterised by the fast movement of the eyes and is usually the one in which we experiment a strong dreaming activity. Brain is active and breath and heart beat become irregular. If awaken during this stage you will probably be aware of the dreams that you were doing.

The Non-Rem sleep is divided in 3 different stages. NRem1 is the so called light sleep, a state between being sleepy and being awake. NRem2 is a stage of “middle sleep” and it become gradually harder to be awaken. NRem3 (previously divided in 3 and 4) is the stage of deep sleep. It is the more restorative part of the sleeping. It is the stage in which the body take most of the energy for the new day.

In the lasts NRem staged the body occur many important functions for the body. For example, regenerating of tissues and building of bones and muscles occur mostly in this stages.

Our body need both the types of sleep. Rem sleep seems to least more for children (about 40-5%) and young persons, and it diminish while we get old. When I was younger my mother used to suggest me to repeat poems or memories facts just before going to sleep. In fact it plays a key role in the learning and memory development.


When you begin sleeping you gradually pass trough the different stages of the NRem (from the NRem1 to the deep sleep, the NRem3-4) sleep. After the NRem stages, it become the Rem sleep. The stages of Rem and NRem sleep together form a sleep cycle that least about 90 minutes. During the night we usually repeat the cycles between 4 and 6 times.

As you can see from the picture up, the time that we spend in the different stages changes during the sleep. The Rem stage become longer after completing the stages of deep sleep, so usually in the second half of the sleep. (fount)

After this introduction (that actually started on the previous post) the question is…how long should you sleep?

How long?

No magic number! This is what the expert of National Sleep Foundation says to us. After answering thanks for the direct answer, we can continue to discover more secret about sleep.

Adults have usually a sleeping need that vary between 7 and 9 hours. The true answer to this question is “when you feel that you don’t need more sleep”. It’s also important to say, that is of main importance the quality of your sleep. You could rest for nine hours feeling still tired.

In todays society usually our rhythms make us need to optimize even the time that we pass sleeping. Here you have some suggestions to improve the quality of your sleep.

-Setting the alarm clock

As we said before that we need both Rem and NRem sleep, and we experiment a complete sleep cycle about every 90 minutes. Setting the alarm clock use multiple of 1.30 hour. It will help you not to wake up like a zombie while you was in the middle of your deep sleep stage. Try!


Usually this word is not very exciting, isn’t it? But you have to know that your body and your mind love what is known. Have you ever tried to go sleeping with a jet-leg of 6-7 hours? It is quite hard for many.

We need time to get habits to many things and sleep is one of this. Establish a sleep and wake up schedules. Even during the weekend try to wake up at the same hour of your week.

Another way in which you can create a routine or regular attitude is before going to sleep. If you have problems in falling asleep start a bedtime routine (listen to same quite music, read a book etc.) about one our before.

-Eating and drinking

Your body works also when is sleeping, so don’t make the work heavier. Digestion require a lot of energy for a body that is trying to rest. Even more, the food that is eaten before sleep is more easily stored in our body without being used as energy. It’s mean you’ll became fat easier.

A good way for  avoiding both sleep and wight problems and making a gift to your body is eating light meals on dinner. The best is stop eating 2-3 hours before bedtime. Coffee, tea and other caffeine and alcohol products before bed time also prevent you from a good sleep.

Also for today thanks for reading.

See you at the next post,


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3 Responses to Sleep or not sleep (Part 2) How sleep works

  1. Pingback: Different Word a Different World | The Smile of the heart

  2. Pingback: Sleep or not sleep (Part 2) How sleep works - La Valle dei Templi | La Valle dei Templi

  3. Pingback: Different words for a Different world - La Valle dei Templi | La Valle dei Templi

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