Home Health And Wellness Tips REM, Light, Deep: How Much of Each Stage of Sleep Are You Getting?

REM, Light, Deep: How Much of Each Stage of Sleep Are You Getting?

18 min read

sleep stages: man tracking his sleep using Fitbit Alta HR

Waking up drained, indignant, or cranky? If you employ a Fitbit Alta HR, Fitbit Charge 3, Fitbit Versa, or Fitbit Ionic, your sleep knowledge might quickly be capable of reveal why. By tapping into your nighttime heart price and motion patterns, these units will have the ability to estimate how a lot time you spend in mild, deep, and speedy eye movement (REM) sleep. Pretty cool, proper? Each of these levels—or sleep varieties—serve a special objective, so understanding how a lot of every stage you log may help you determine and handle sleep-related issues. Below, a breakdown of what it is advisable find out about every sleep stage.

Sleep Stages, Simplified

Sleep researchers divide sleep into 5 levels—levels 1, 2, 3, and REM—however to maintain things simple, Fitbit groups like sleep levels collectively. In the app, your sleep will fall into three levels: mild, deep, and REM. Here’s what each of these mean.

fitbit sleep stages hypnographLIGHT SLEEP

Stage 1: “This is the sleep that’s a little more choppy, shallow, not restful,” says Michael Grandner, MD, director of the Sleep and Health Research Program at the University of Arizona in Tucson and a Fitbit sleep marketing consultant. “But it’s often only a quick transition, so that you’re not in it for very lengthy.

During stage one, “you’re still hearing things and have a sense of awareness,” says Fitbit sleep advisor Allison Siebern, PhD, consulting assistant professor at The Stanford Center for Sleep Sciences and Medicine and director of Sleep Health Integrative Program at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Fayetteville, NC. “Your brain has dipped into sleep but you don’t feel like you’re asleep.”

Stage 2: When individuals speak about mild sleep, this is the stage they’re often referring to. You’re asleep however may be easily awoken. That stated, stage 2 sleep is not shallow, nor is it less essential than different sleep levels. “Light sleep is very important because it takes up more than half of the night,” says Grandner. “It’s when your body processes memories and emotions and your metabolism regulates itself. So there’s a lot of body maintenance occurring during lighter stages of sleep.” Breathing and coronary heart fee sometimes lower slightly during this stage.


Stage 3: During deep sleep, you develop into much less conscious of outdoors stimuli. Breathing slows and muscle mass chill out; coronary heart price often turns into more regular.

“Deep sleep is very much about the body,” says Grandner. “The thinking parts of the brain are largely offline. Your muscles are very relaxed. You’re not dreaming at all during this time. Your body is doing a lot of rebuilding and repairing.” Deep sleep is when your physique secretes progress hormone, which is related to mobile rebuilding and restore. According to Siebern, deep sleep has also been shown to help strengthen your immune system.


“If deep sleep is about body, REM is about the brain,” says Grandner. “The brain is very active during REM sleep, yet the body is very inactive. Actually it’s so inactive, you’re actively paralyzed during REM sleep.”

REM is when most dreaming occurs and your eyes move quickly in several instructions (therefore the identify). Heart price increases and your respiration turns into extra irregular.

REM is essential for emotion regulation and reminiscence—you’re clearing the mind of things that aren’t needed, says Siebern. It’s additionally the height of protein synthesis at the cellular degree, which keeps many processes within the body working correctly.

Understanding Sleep Cycles

Your physique doesn’t just hit each sleep stage as soon as an evening, nor does it spend an equal amount of time in each of them. In reality, it cycles by means of all of these levels multiple occasions an evening. “Each cycle lasts, on average, 90 minutes,” says Grandner, “but some cycles can be as short as 50 minutes and some can be as long as 100 minutes or more.” Here, in response to Grandner, is how it works:

Cycle 1: During mild sleep you’ll dip into stage one and transition into stage two. Then you’ll move quickly into deep sleep, the place you’ll keep for some time earlier than going into 10 minutes or so of REM. “It’s very hard to wake up from deep sleep, which is why your body tries to get it over with as quickly as possible,” says Grandner. “By the time the night’s halfway over, you’re done with it.”

Cycle 2: You’ll get barely extra mild sleep, nonetheless rather a lot of deep sleep (however less than earlier than), and a bit extra REM.

Cycle 3: You’ll in all probability log much more mild sleep, just a little bit of deep sleep, and more REM.

After this, in the course of the second half of the night time, the cycles principally break down as your physique alternates between mild sleep and REM for the remaining of the night time.

How Do Your Sleep Stages Stack Up?

When you click on on the sleep tile out of your Fitbit dashboard and then select Today, you’ll be capable of see how much time you spent in each sleep stage and what % of your complete night time’s sleep that stage constituted.

Fitbit Sleep Stages Today

On average, mild sleep will take up about 50 to 60 % or extra of your night time. “Whether you get kind of mild sleep isn’t really going to affect how you are feeling too much, because it’s just whatever time is left that’s not spent in deep sleep or REM,” says Grandner. “It’s sort of the remainder.”

Deep sleep, on the other hand is more likely to take up 10 to 25 % (relying in your age) of your sleep. “There’s no real way to get too much deep sleep,” says Grandner. “Your body has its own natural drive for it, so once you meet that, the need will dissipate and you’ll just start going into REM and light sleep.”

Too little, however, and sleep turns into unrefreshing. “The two main things that can lead to less deep sleep is age—people naturally get less as they get older—and anything that interferes with your sleep, like pain, illness, medical problems, sleep apnea, and other sleep disorders,” says Grandner. “They can keep you out of deep sleep artificially, which makes your sleep a little more shallow.” Also, shift work. “Your body wants to get into deep sleep at night, and it wants to avoid deep sleep during the day,” says Grandner. “ So you have a natural delay of how long it will take you to get into it.”

Lastly, REM makes up about 20 to 25 % of your nightly sleep and principally takes place in the second half of the night time. “If you cut your sleep short, most of what you’re cutting out is REM,” says Grandner. “And too little REM sleep can leave you feeling groggy, less able to focus, and might lead to memory problems.” That’s why it’s essential to get enough rest after studying one thing new or before taking an exam. Many drugs may also block REM. “Most antidepressants can cut REM sleep by half,” says Grandner.

Consistently getting an excessive amount of REM might additionally create issues. “If you go too much over 25 percent of REM, it might cause too much brain activation, which can leave you angry and irritable and can even potentially exacerbate depression and anxiety symptoms,” says Grandner. 

Wake Up Happier and More Refreshed

When analyzing your sleep-stage knowledge, take into account that the odds above are based mostly on broad averages. To examine your stats to the averages of others who are the identical age vary and gender, click on the sleep tile on your dashboard after which select “Benchmark.” (In the graph, the traditional range for each sleep stage is shown as the shaded area between the two horizontal strains.) Even then, although, each Grandner and Siebern urge you to notice that every particular person has totally different sleep wants.

Fitbit sleep stages benchmark
“Everybody’s a little different,” says Grandner. “As long as you give yourself enough time to sleep, and you don’t have any kind of sleep disorder that’s keeping you out of any certain stages of sleep, your body will figure it out using it’s own rhythms and drives.”

Siebern agrees: “We can do things to help improve the quality of our sleep, however we all have a baseline that determines how a lot of each sleep stage we’ll get.” (Check out these 8 Tips for Getting a Good Night’s Sleep.) There really is not any perfect.

“Ideal is whatever your body does given enough of an opportunity,” says Grandner. Ask yourself, suggests Siebern, how you are feeling. If your sleep levels are falling outdoors the averages but you are feeling refreshed and engaged, then you definitely’re doubtless getting the amount and high quality of sleep you want. Use that as your baseline by which to match future sleep periods.

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