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2 min read

Sleep is different for every person, every night. Over the course of a night, your total sleep is made up of several phases of the sleep cycle. The sleep cycle is made of four different stages: non-rapid eye movement (NREM) stages 1-3, and rapid eye movement (REM) stage 4. Not all sleep cycles are the same length, but on average they last about 90 minutes each.

What affects the stages of sleep?

  • Time in each stage changes over a person’s life. Newborns spend much more time in REM sleep and may enter a REM stage as soon as they fall asleep. Older people tend to spend less time in REM sleep.
  • If a person gets irregular or insufficient sleep over a period of a few days or more, it can throw off their sleep cycle. This can take anywhere from a few days to over a week to reset.
  • Alcohol decreases REM sleep early in the night. As the alcohol wears off, there is a REM sleep rebound with prolonged REM stages.
  • Sleep apnea and other sleep conditions that cause multiple awakenings may interrupt a healthy sleep cycle.

How to improve your sleep cycle

While you don’t have full control of your sleep cycle, there are actions you can take to encourage restful sleep. Firstly, making sure that your mattress is right for you can make a huge difference. With Milton Sleep Co, you can choose the mattress that best fits your ideal type of comfort. Focusing on your sleep hygiene can also make a significant difference. Sleep hygiene refers to your sleep environment (the best mattress, best pillows, etc.) and all sleep-related habits. Building in habits like spending time outside in natural light, eliminating distractions during bed time, and decreasing nighttime alcohol consumption can all help promote a healthy sleep cycle.



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