fitbit versa sleep stages

Sleep is an important part of your day. It can impact every facet of your life, from your health to your mood, your weight, and your mental state. It can help you stay productive and perform at your best. So in order to make the most of your day, you need to first improve your night and make sure you not only get a good amount of sleep but that you also get good quality sleep.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through an overview of the various stages of sleep, including being awake, light and deep sleep, as well as REM sleep, and the advantages of having a sufficient amount of time spent in each of these critical stages. We’ll also go over some tips on how to get the best rest and improve your sleep, including some great devices that can help.

What Are The Main Sleep Stages and Why Are They Important?

There are four main stages you cycle through when sleeping: light sleep, deep sleep, REM sleep, and short periods of being awake in between.

The Awake Sleep Stage

While you might not even remember it, you are typically awake anywhere from 10-30 times per night, each time for very brief periods. Don’t be alarmed at the idea or if you become aware that you are awake – this is a completely normal part of sleep.

The Light Sleep Stage

Light sleep usually accounts for about half of your nightly sleep. It occurs when your heart rate starts to slow down and your body temperature drops. This stage is essential because it helps your body get ready for deep sleep. And it’s important in helping build your memory and learning. So don’t discount the value of light sleep and having enough of it each night as well.

Lifestyle photo featuring Ionic in Desert Pink on a woman next to her partner, sleeping in bed.

The Deep Sleep Stage

In this stage, you are fully asleep. You’re harder to rouse from slumber when in this stage of sleep. And if you are awoken by someone or something, you might feel a bit disoriented. Deep sleep is important for helping build your immune system and help your body repair itself and regrow tissue, building your bones and muscle. It’s especially good for recovery from workouts. But whether you’re a gym rat or not, it’s important that everyone gets a reasonable amount of deep sleep during their sleep cycle in order to feel properly refreshed in the morning.

The REM Sleep Stage

REM stands for Rapid Eye Movement because this is the sleep stage when your eyes move quickly in different directions. Yes, while they are closed. Your heart rate and breathing speeds up and your brain is most active during this stage of sleep. This is why REM sleep is when you will most often experience vivid and intense dreams. REM sleep usually occurs when you are coming out of deep sleep, first happening about an hour and-a-half after you fall asleep and then periodically throughout the night, each time for about 10 minutes or so, up to an hour by the end of the night. REM sleep is important for mental restoration.

How Does Age Impact Sleep Stages?

Each sleep stage can last anywhere from 5 up to 15 minutes, and you’ll typically go through all three stages before you reach REM. But the time spent in sleep stages can be impacted by many factors, including your age. People often get less deep sleep as they get older, for example, along with less sleep overall. Meanwhile, babies can spend up to half of their nights in the REM sleep stage; by comparison, for a typical adult, REM accounts for about 20% of a night’s sleep.

Overall, infants younger than four months require a total of 14-17 hours of sleep per night, those 4-11 months need 12-15 hours, toddlers 1-2 need 11-14 hours, preschoolers aged 3-5 need 10-13 hours, school-age kids from 6-13 need 9-11 hours, and teenagers 14-17 need 8-10 hours.

Most adults require far less at just 7-9 hours of nightly sleep. Though some people seem to function well on just 6 hours of sleep while others appear to require at least 10 to be at their best. Naturally, there are exceptions. For example, pregnant women in their first trimester will require more sleep than usual while those aged 65+ generally need at least 7 hours of sleep per night.

How Do You Know If You’ve Had Enough Sleep and What Can Happen If You Don’t Get Enough?

It’s pretty easy to tell if you’re sleep deprived. If you feel drowsy at all during the day, even during low-key, mundane activities, chances are you haven’t gotten enough sleep. If you find that you fall asleep very quickly at night, your mood changes, you have “microsleeps” during the day (short periods of dozing off), you are forgetful, or unable to focus, these are also signs that you haven’t gotten enough sleep, or at least enough good quality sleep.

As noted, lack of sleep can impact your judgement, reaction time, mood, and ability to focus. It can cause problems with memory, depression, and a weakened immune system. You might also have stronger feelings of pain and could even end up with high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, obesity (due to overeating), a lower sex drive, wrinkled skin, dark circles under your eyes, and overall bad decision-making.

Tips For Getting Better Sleep

Here are a few tips for helping yourself get a better night’s sleep.

Set a Schedule

It sounds so obvious yet so many of us fail to do this: make sure to leave enough time for sleep in your busy schedule. Set a consistent bedtime and try to stick to it as often as possible. Don’t schedule any significant activities for an hour or so before bedtime. While it might be tempting to finish that work project or stay up and binge just one more episode of your favorite show once the kids are in bed or the dishes and washed and chores completed, think of how the lack of sleep will catch up with you the next day.

Create a Sleep Sanctuary

Make sure your bedroom is set up for comfortable and relaxing sleep. This means keeping it dark and quiet, and at a comfortable temperature with comfortable and warm sheets and a supportive pillow. Eliminate any screens from your bedroom or turn them off long before bedtime. If you must keep your smartphone on your bedside table overnight because you use it as an alarm, put it into nighttime mode so notifications won’t distract you and tempt you to check your phone. Consider relaxing in a hot bath right before bed to unwind and get your body and mind ready for slumber.

Eliminate Things That Can Impact Sleep

While you might want to indulge in a nice glass of wine at dinner, or a cup of tea before bed, try to steer clear of alcohol or caffeine too close to bedtime as this can impact your sleep. Don’t engage in any rigorous workouts right before bed either – while it’s good to have at least 30 minutes of exercise per day, time your workouts so they’re done at least five hours before you tuck in for the night. Avoid large meals as well, and if you like to take naps throughout the day, just make sure they aren’t longer than 30 minutes or else this can leave you feeling groggy.

Talk To Your Doctor

If you feel as though you aren’t sleeping well, or having trouble getting enough sleep, talk to your doctor or a medical professional to find out if there are underlying issues and get their professional recommendations.

Devices To Help Improve Your Sleep Quality

Further to these general tips, there are certain devices you can use to help improve your sleep quality.

A Fitness Tracker

Fitness trackers are great devices for logging your daily activity and workouts, checking your heart rate, and getting notifications. But many of them also track sleep, including sleep stages. You can monitor the data each night as well as over time to see not only how many hours of sleep you got overall but also how much time you spent in each sleep stage and how your sleep cycled throughout the night. You will also be able to see how things like staying up late, consuming alcohol, stress, or screen time factors into your sleep quality. Some trackers, like those from Fitbit, even provide tips on how to improve your sleep duration and quality. Use this data to help improve your sleep quality and get the best rest.
Fitbit Versa 2

White Noise Machines

White noise machines provide sounds that masks other typical sounds in the environment that could distract you from a good night’s sleep, like traffic, noisy neighbours, and animals. They offer up soothing sounds that can help lull you to sleep, played overtop those environmental noises so you can focus on the white noise instead. The idea is to distract your brain with calming noises so you don’t focus on what’s preventing you from sleeping.

Light Therapy

Light therapy devices are tabletop boxes that expose you to artificial light by emitting a bright light that mimics natural outdoor light. It’s great for seasons where the sun comes up late in the morning and goes down early in the evening which means you don’t get much sun exposure if you’re stuck at home or in an office all day. In addition to helping you sleep better light therapy devices can also be beneficial for those suffering from depression or other conditions like Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
light therapy sleep well

Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is a holistic healing treatment that uses natural plant extracts. Also referred to as essential oil therapy, it uses aromatic essential oils that are delivered throughdevices like diffusers, inhalers, or body oils and absorbed through smell or the skin. Used for thousands of years, one of the many benefits is the potential for improved sleep, as well helping reduce stress.
sleep well aromatherapy

Baby Sound Machine

If you have a baby at home, it’s a no-brainer that this will impact your sleep. But having a baby sound machine, essentially a white noise machine for babies, can not only benefit your baby, but you, too. These machines provide soothing sounds that help calm a baby so they can fall asleep faster or fall back asleep on their own if they stir during the night. And they might also help a baby sleep longer. This can can help you, in turn, sleep longer.

Air Purifier

Sometimes germs, bacteria, and dust particles in the air could be impacting your sleep. An air purifier can help clean the air of harmful bacteria so you can breathe better. And this, in turn, can help you sleep better. Especially if you suffer from allergies, seasonal or otherwise, or breathing difficulties like asthma, an air purifier can make a huge difference in how well you sleep at night.
sleep well air purifier

Baby Monitor With Sleep Tracking

Another useful device for those with babies is a video monitor that has a sleep tracking feature. These track a baby’s breathing and sleeping habits, the temperature of the nursery, and the humidity level in the room so you can find the perfect setting that helps your baby sleep the best. They typically don’t require any wires or wearable devices but provide a graph of sleeping habits so you can make adjustments as needed. Some baby monitors with sleep tracking also have integrated sound machines.

Other Sleep Tech Devices

There are other devices you can consider investing in to help you sleep better, from basic earplugs to completely block out distracting noise, to sleep masks, some of which can even vibrate to correct snoring and help you sleep better, and sleep headphones that wrap around your head, covering your ears with personal soothing sounds to create your own personal bedtime oasis.
baby monitor sleep

sleep well sleep mask

Take the Next Step

Now that you understand the importance of not only getting enough sleep, but getting good quality sleep, how sleep deprivation can impact your life, and how to improve your sleep, you can get on the road to adopting better sleep habits. Your body will thank you for it.

Check out a wide selection of Sleep Tech products at Best Buy Online.

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