We often hear that 8 hours of sleep is needed daily. But why is this so? What is the importance of getting the right amount of sleep per night? It all starts by understanding our sleep cycle. Our sleep cycle has 4 stages. Each stage plays an important role in how our body will allow itself to heal and get repaired to be ready for the challenges of the upcoming day.
The first stage of the sleep cycle is when you start feeling somewhat drowsy, and your eyelids begin to droop and close. Your brain is still awake, so it’s easy for you to be woken up. In athletes, this is the stage where muscle memory of training done within the day is “recorded.”
The second stage takes you to a light sleep state, but you can still be easily disturbed from your slumber. For athletes, this stage means the beginning of the regulation of body metabolism. HGH (Human Growth Hormone) is produced for the growth of muscle tissues. This stage also prepares you for a deeper level of sleep.
The third stage is where moderate sleep occurs. This is where your brain slows down in activity as you begin to enter the deep sleep realm. At this phase you are also harder to wake. In athletes, the body is inundated with HGH which is necessary for the body’s recovery. Prolactin is also released at this stage which is believed to help heal joints.
The final stage is also called the REM stage or Rapid Eye Movement stage. As the name suggests, your eyes start moving recurrently back and forth as your brain begins to wake. It’s the phase where most dreams occur. The REM stage for athletes mean that oxygen is flooded to the muscle to break down lactic acid. Removing lactic acid equates to more supple muscles.
Not getting adequate sleep relates to slower recovery of your body, which mean a build up in stress. To learn more, check out the gifographic shared by Dreams to give you a more in depth idea of the importance of getting 8 hours of sleep.