Stages of Sleep
Do you ever wonder why you don’t dream when you sleep? The truth is, if you are getting proper amounts of sleep in proper time periods, and not taking medications or using alcohol or illegal substances, you are dreaming. You just don’t remember them unless they wake you.
Stages of Sleep
Wakefulness includes Gamma, High Beta, Mid Beta, Beta Sensory Motor Rhythm, Alpha, and Theta brain waves. Our composite brain wave, that is, what you would see if you had an EEG (electro-encephalo-graph, or picture of the electrical activity in your brain), would be made up of many of the brain waves named above, all at the same time.
When we are preparing to drift off, we go though Alpha and Theta, and have periods of dreaminess, almost like daydreaming, except we are beginning to fall asleep. These are interesting states, in that we experience them throughout the day and some people may have more of these waves than others.
Those who practice meditation, or deep prayerfulness, often kinda “hang out” in Alpha. It’s a restful place. During this stage, it’s not unusual to experience strange and extremely vivid sensations or a feeling of falling followed by sudden muscle contractions. These are known as hypnogogic hallucinations. You may even feel like you are hearing someone call your name, or the phone ringing. Recently, I thought I heard the doorbell, but realized that it was a hypnogogic hallucination and went back to sleep.
We then begin to enter Theta, which is still a relatively light period between being awake and asleep. This usually lasts for 5-10 minutes. Research has shown that the average sleeper takes about 7 minutes to fall asleep. You may fall asleep sooner, or take longer.
The second stage of sleep lasts about 20 minutes. Our brain begins to produce very short periods of rapid, rhythmic brain wave activity known as Sleep Spindles. Body temperature begins dropping and heart rate starts slowing down.