THE STAGES OF SLEEP
The old saying that, "there are only two things in life for certain ... death and taxes" could be more accurately stated, "there are only two things in life that are certain ... death and sleep". No one knows exactly why we sleep, however, it is known that people who are deprived of sleep for long periods of time become sick.
Some researchers believe that the body repairs itself and regenerates cells during sleep ... and this is true. However, the body continuously repairs itself while awake also. The only thing that is known for sure that we must sleep ... and one way or another the body will obtain it.
In general, there are five distinct "stages" that people go through when they sleep at night:
STAGE 1: Prior to sleep, people start to relax and drift in and out of consciousness.
STAGE 2: During this part of the cycle sleep is very "light" and the person can be easily awakened.
STAGE 3: By this time the sleeper is difficult to arouse becasuse the sleep has become very deep. It has been noted by researchers that the eyes will often move from side-to-side .
STAGE 4: Large amounts of hormones are released during this stage.
STAGE 3: The sleeper reverses the process and proceeds through stage 3.
STAGE 2: Stage 2 is revisited.
STAGE 5 (REM): Rather than proceeding to stage one, the sleeper enters into, what is known as, REM (random/rapid eye movement) sleep. This is when most of our remembered dreams occur.
The above cycle repeats itself four to five times per night for the average sleeper.