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The Sleep Cycle

Every night, you go through five different stages of sleep:

  • Stage 1 - You get drowsy and start to drift off. Your breathing slows down, and your heartbeat becomes regular. There is very little body movement in this stage.

  • Stage 2 - You enter a light sleep, but can still be easily awakened by noises or movement.

  • Stage 3 - You are in a deeper sleep, and it becomes more difficult to wake you up.

  • Stage 4 - This is the deepest stage of sleep. Sleepwalking can sometimes occur in this phase.

  • REM - Your brain suddenly becomes much more active. You have rapid eye movements (REMs), your face, fingers and toes may twitch. Dreams will occur.

While you’re sleeping, you repeat stages 2, 3, 4 and the REM stage about every 90 minutes until you wake up in the morning. As a kid, you need to get 8 - 10 hours of sleep for this cycle to happen four or five times each night, making it even more important to always get a good night’s sleep!

Tips for sleeping better

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  • Make sure your room is cool, dark and quiet.
  • Try to go to bed at the same time every night.
  • Don't drink sodas with caffeine (especially in the afternoon and evening).
  • Exercise during the day (running and playing during the day, then settling down about 3 hours before bed, helps your body get ready for sleep).
  • Avoid big meals before bedtime. Drink a warm glass of milk or have a light, healthy snack like fruit instead.
  • Have a bedtime routine (take a warm shower, read, listen to quiet music, etc.).
  • Turn off your television, computer and radio to eliminate light and sound.
  • Avoid taking long naps during the day.
  • Use the hour before you get in bed to do something relaxing.
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