Different Kinds of Sleep

Sleep has different stages varying, as you may imagine, from light to deep. Researchers define five different stages of sleep.

In simple terms, sleep can be divided into Stage 1: Drowsiness, Stage 2 REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement), and Stages 3-5 of non-REM sleep.

REM sleep occurs several times during the night and is where most dreaming takes place. Non-REM sleep becomes deeper through Stages 3-5 with each stage. During the night whilst asleep, people move from stage to stage many times and even wake up several times.

Roughly speaking, on average a young adult without sleeping disorders, spends 5% feeling drowsy, 50% in Stage 2, 28% in deep sleep (3 or 4) and 25% in REM sleep.

The amount and type of sleep we require changes with age. Insomnia is more common in older people and tends to be lighter and more broken (in Stages 1-2).

An average 70-year-old has less than 10% deep sleep, therefore although their sleep might be shorter, more restless and more easily disturbed, it should still be refreshing. It may well be normal to have this type of sleeping pattern if you are older than 70, especially if you have a nap during the day.

Some conditions can interrupt sleep, like menopausal hot flushes and urinary problems from infection, or prostate disease causing night-time waking.

We all have different types of sleep. Your sleeping pattern may be enough for you. If you don’t feel you are getting enough, don’t worry, just start to look into ways of improving your sleep. Keep calm and give us a call!

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