What is sleep?
There's more to sleep than just closing your eyes, having a dream about high school but instead of your actual high school it's your first apartment building and the landlord is your dad but not really your dad, waking up and doing it all over again in 16 hours.
There's a lot going on in your body and brain during sleep.
The different stages of sleep
Sleep is like a many-layered onion. Well, a two-layered onion, but one of the layers has three layers of its own. This was a bad analogy, in retrospect.
The two modes of sleep are REM and non-REM (REM stands for rapid eye movement).
First, let's look at non-REM.
What is non-REM sleep?
Non-REM sleep has three stages:
Also known as relaxed wakefulness. This is very light sleep characterized by slow eye movement. This is also the stage where your muscles contract causing you to suddenly jolt awake and make a fool of yourself in front of everyone on the airplane.
During this stage, your eyes stop moving, your heart rate slows, your brain experiences short bursts of activity, and no dreams are had. Your body is preparing for Stage 3...
Aka, deep sleep. Your brain waves are extremely slow, you have no eye movement, dreams are more common than in the other two stages, and you're extremely difficult to wake up.
(FYI, this is the ideal stage to pull pranks on people you love.)
What is REM sleep?
REM sleep is the stage where you have all those weird dreams you can't explain or remember for very long.
REM is so named because your eyes dart back and forth during this phase. This is due to increased brain activity – in fact, your levels are similar to those present when you're awake.
One big difference is you're basically paralyzed during REM sleep. This is a good thing because you wouldn't want to dream about climbing a tree made of LEGOs, for example, and wake up koala-hugging your chimney.
The cycle goes on and on and on...
Throughout the night, you cycle through these stages of sleep, generally in this order:
A full cycle takes about 90 to 110 minutes, and you cycle through them multiple times during the night. Your first REM cycle is short, and as the night goes on, you'll experience more REM sleep and less deep sleep.
The benefits of Non-REM and REM sleep
Non-REM sleep is responsible for muscle and bone growth, strengthening the immune system and repairing and regenerating tissue. Get lots of non-REM sleep and you'll basically become a superhero. You might start calling yourself Nap-tain America or Snor, God of Slumber.
REM sleep helps with creativity, memory, and problem-solving, particularly with respect to physical memory. So, if you were having trouble learning how to ride a bike and you woke up the next morning popping wheelies, you can thank REM sleep.
The dangers of not getting enough sleep include a weakened immune system, an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
Get uninterrupted sleep
And here's where we get to the part where you start to understand why a bedding company is randomly teaching people about REM and non-REM sleep.
The key to enjoying all the benefits listed above (and avoiding the dangers) is getting uninterrupted sleep.
You need to cycle through all the stages without waking up – whether you wake up from overheating, sweating profusely, freezing, or being just plain uncomfortable. One way to do this is by choosing temperature regulating bedding.
Eucalyptus lyocell is an expert at regulating your body temperature (just ask these women going through menopause). When you sleep under S&G eucalyptus sheets, our eucalyptus duvet cover or our eucalyptus comforter, you can rest easy knowing that our bedding is doing a lot of work to keep you at the perfect temperature all night. This means you'll sleep like the dead and wake up more alive.
Who knows, if you sleep on S&G bedding long enough you may actually become a Sleeperhero. We're partial to Snore Machine. :)