The Stages of Sleep

Learning the different stages of sleep is not crucial to lucid dreaming, but it is something that you should learn if you are serious about it. Understanding the way that your body works and when you dream can be very beneficial. It also helps you get a better understanding as to how brainwave entrainment works to help induce lucid dreaming.

There are 5 different stages of sleep that we cycle through about 4 or 5 times a night. Each complete cycle of the stages takes on an average 90 to 110 minutes. When we first go to sleep we go through the stages relatively quick, with REM sleep only lasting a short time, but as the night progresses we go through them more slowly and REM sleeps last a lot longer. This means that most of our dreaming occurs later on during the night or early morning before we wake up.

Sleep and Stages

Stages of Sleep Frequency Type Characteristics
Stage 1
(NREM)
4 to 8 HZ Alpha, Theta This is the transitioning state between sleep and wakefulness. Many people notice a feeling of falling which causes a sudden muscle contraction or twitching called hypnic myoclonia. This stage only last about 5 minutes before you drift into stage two.
Stage 2
(NREM)
8 to 15 HZ Theta, sleep spindles and K complexes Conscious awareness of the external environment completely disappears. Your heart rate slows down and your body temperature begins to decrease. The body is preparing to enter into a deep sleep.
Stage 3
(NREM)
2 to 4 HZ Delta, Theta You start to fall into a deep sleep. Your brainwaves begin to slow down and change from theta to delta. The blood flow to your brain slows down and shifts to your body to start the repairing process.
Stage 4
(NREM)
0.5 to 2 HZ Delta At this stage you are in your deepest sleep. This is where the body heals and repairs itself building bone and muscle, regenerating tissue and strengthening the immune system. This is usually the stage where people sleep walk and talk in their sleep.
Stage 5
(REM)
13 to 30 HZ Beta This is where intense dreaming occurs due to an increase in brainwave activity. The brainwave activity is the same as a person who is fully awake and active. Your heart rate and respiration speed up and become erratic and your eyes move rapidly in different directions. The release of neurotransmitters shuts down so that your muscles don’t move and you don’t act out your dreams.