A Dreamy Tale of Sleep Cycles

, by Jas Gill, 1 min reading time

I’d like to start with an early disclaimer that this might feel like a history less but it’s well worth it...so let's dive in 😊

In ancient civilization it was thought that sleep was a time the soul left the body and that dreams were messages from the Gods. Historians even recorded Egyptians who identified sleep as a “portal and passage to the spiritual realm” for humans with two distinct phases known as "the division of the night" and "the returning of the sun". Although all this sounds like an Indiana Jones movie plot, these beliefs and observations laid the foundation for further exploration in understanding sleep.

Today, science and human evolution have made it clear that sleep is a complex physiological process that serves a number of important functions. Sleep cycles were identified in the early 20th century when researchers began to use electroencephalograms (EEGs) to measure human brain activity while asleep. They found that sleep is a series of different events that repeat throughout the night. These events are usually called:Non-rapid eye movement sleep (NREM sleep): important for consolidating memories, repairing tissue, and regulating hormones.

  • Rapid eye movement sleep (REM sleep): important for cognitive function, emotional processing, and creativity.

REM sleep is characterized by rapid eye movements, muscle paralysis, and increased brain activity.

Each sleep cycle typically lasts about 90 minutes, and there are four to five cycles in a night's sleep. The first few cycles are mostly NREM sleep, with shorter periods of REM sleep. As the night progresses, there are longer periods of REM sleep and less NREM sleep.

Getting enough sleep is essential for overall well-being and women should aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night. If you are having trouble sleeping read our other article on 4 ways to improve your sleep. Our soft breathable 100% Indian cotton PJ sets can also improve your sleep - view our beautiful designs here.


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