The Importance Of The Sleep Cycle
To understand the process of dreaming, it is important to understand the sleep cycle. Before we can gather information about our dreams, we need to understand where those dreams come from, and to do so we need to understand the different stages of sleep and how they work together. Fit the sleep cycle consists of four separate stages, and each person goes through four stages each night. The length of each cycle varies from person to person, but each person experiences four stages of sleep each night.
Let us take a look at the four individual stages of sleep, starting, logically, at stage one.
The initial stage of sleep is a very light sleep, and the slightest disturbance can wake the dreamer at this stage. The first stage of sleep usually lasts for only a few minutes, and most sleepers move on quickly to stage two.
The second stage of sleep is much deeper, and it is much harder to wake the sleeper up at this point. While the dream state begins in stage two, there are usually no clearly formed images at this point. Instead dreams in stage two consist mainly of vague ideas and images floating around the mind. After stage two is completed, the dreamer moves quickly on to stage three.
The third stage of sleep is even deeper than the second stage. At this stage, the muscles in the sleepers body have relaxed, and the heart rate and respiration rate have both slowed down. The sleeper’s blood pressure also drops off at this point, and breathing is typically even and steady. A sleeper in stage three sleep is very difficult to awaken, and typically waking can only be accomplished by a very loud startling noise or by shouting the sleeper’s name repeatedly.
Stage four is the deepest stage of sleep, and the one in which most dreaming takes place. During this stage of sleep, it is almost impossible to wake the sleeper. During stage four of sleep, the sleeper moves in and out of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep several times. It is during REM sleep that dreaming is occurring. The eyes move back and forth rapidly under their lids, the heart beat and respiration spike, and brain wave activities increase.
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