How long is rem

REM & NREM, Sleep Stages, Good Sleep Habits & More

What is sleep?

You may think nothing is happening when you sleep. But parts of your brain are quite active during sleep. And enough sleep (or lack of it) affects your physical and mental health. When you sleep, your body has a chance to rest and restore energy. A good night’s sleep can help you cope with stress, solve problems or recover from illness. Not getting enough sleep can lead to many health concerns, affecting how you think and feel.

During the night, you cycle through two types of sleep: non-rapid eye movement (non-REM) sleep and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Your brain and body act differently during these different phases.

What happens in the brain during sleep?

Researchers continue to study sleep and its effect on us. While we’ve learned a lot about sleep, there’s still much that’s unknown.

We know that brain chemicals are very involved in our sleep cycle. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that help the nerves communicate. They control whether we’re awake or asleep, depending on which neurons (nerve cells) they’re acting on:

  • Neurons in the brainstem (where the brain and spinal cord meet) produce neurotransmitters called serotonin and norepinephrine. These chemicals keep our brain active when we’re awake.
  • Neurons located at the base of the brain are responsible for us falling asleep. It seems these neurons turn off the signals that keep us awake.

Why do we need sleep?

Sleep helps us in many ways. We need it for:

  • Growth: In children and young adults, deep sleep (sleep that’s harder to wake from) supports growth. The body releases growth hormone during this type of sleep. The body also increases production of proteins, which we need for cell growth and to repair damage.
  • Nervous system function: A lack of sleep affects our memory, performance and ability to think clearly. If a person is severely sleep deprived, they may even experience neurological problems such as mood swings and hallucinations. Sleep also helps our nerve cells. They can repair themselves, so they function at their best. And certain nerve connections get a chance to turn on, strengthening our brain and thinking ability.
  • Survival: Researchers don’t fully understand why sleep is so essential. But studies in animals have shown that getting deprived of REM sleep can shorten lifespans. Lack of sleep may harm the immune system, which protects us from infections.
  • Well-being: People who don’t get enough sleep are at higher risk for developing various health conditions including obesity, diabetes and heart problems.

What are the stages of sleep?

When you sleep, your brain goes through natural cycles of activity. There are four total stages of sleep, divided into two phases:

  • Non-REM sleep happens first and includes three stages. The last two stage of non-REM sleep is when you sleep deeply. It’s hard to wake up from this stage of sleep.
  • REM sleep happens about an hour to an hour and a half after falling asleep. REM sleep is when you tend to have vivid dreams.

As you sleep, your body cycles through non-REM and REM sleep. You usually start the sleep cycle with stage 1 of non-REM sleep. You pass through the other stages of non-REM sleep, followed by a short period of REM sleep. Then the cycle begins again at stage 1.

A full sleep cycle takes about 90 to 110 minutes. Your first REM period is short. As the night goes on, you’ll have longer REM sleep and less deep sleep.

What is non-REM sleep?

Three stages make up non-REM sleep.

Stage 1:

This stage of light sleeping lasts for five to 10 minutes.

  • Everything starts to slow down, including your eye movement and muscle activity.
  • Your eyes stay closed. If you get woken from stage 1 sleep, you may feel as if you haven’t slept at all. You may remember pieces of images.
  • Sometimes, you may feel like you’re starting to fall and then experience a sudden muscle contraction. Healthcare providers call this motion hypnic myoclonic or hypnic jerk. Hypnic jerks are common and not anything to be concerned about as this occurrence is unlikely to cause any complications or side effects.

Stage 2:

  • This period of light sleep features periods of muscle tone (muscles partially contracting) mixed with periods of muscle relaxation.
  • Your eye movement stops, heart rate slows and body temperature decreases.
  • Brain waves become slower. Occasionally, you’ll have a burst of rapid waves called sleep spindles.
  • Your body prepares to enter deep sleep.

Stages 3

  • This stage is deep sleep.
  • During this stage, your brain produces delta waves, very slow brain waves.
  • It’s hard for someone to wake you up during this stage.
  • You have no eye movement or muscle activity.
  • If you’re woken up, you may feel groggy and disoriented for a few minutes.

What happens during non-REM sleep?

During non-REM stages, your body:

  • Builds bone and muscle.
  • Repairs and regenerates tissues.
  • Strengthens the immune system.

As you age, you get less non-REM sleep. Older adults get less deep sleep than younger people.

What is REM sleep?

When you enter REM sleep, brain activity increases again, meaning sleep is not as deep. The activity levels are like when you’re awake. That’s why REM sleep is the stage where you’ll have intense dreams.

At the same time, major muscles that you normally control (such as arms and legs) can’t move. In effect, they become temporarily paralyzed.

Usually, REM sleep arrives about an hour and a half after you go to sleep. The first REM period lasts about 10 minutes. Each REM stage that follows gets longer and longer.

The amount of REM sleep you experience changes as you age. The percentage of REM sleep:

  • Is highest during infancy and early childhood.
  • Declines during adolescence and young adulthood.
  • Declines even more as you get older.

What else happens to the body in REM sleep?

Besides increased brain activity and muscle relaxation, your body goes through a series of changes during REM sleep. These changes include:

  • Faster breathing.
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Penile erections.
  • Rapid eye movement.

What affects sleep quality?

Chemical signals in the brain influence our sleep and wake cycles. Anything that shifts the balance of these neurotransmitters can make us feel drowsier or more awake. For example:

  • Alcohol may help people fall into a light sleep. But it reduces the deeper stages of sleep and REM sleep and leads to more disrupted sleep.
  • Caffeine and pseudoephedrine (drug ingredient) can stimulate the brain. They may cause insomnia, an inability to sleep. Watch out for caffeinated drinks such as coffee and drugs such as diet pills and decongestants.
  • Medications such as antidepressants can cause less REM sleep.
  • People who smoke heavily often sleep lightly and have less REM sleep. They may wake up after a few hours because they experience nicotine withdrawal.
  • Very hot or cold temperatures can disrupt REM sleep. We’re less able to regulate body temperature during REM sleep.

How much sleep do I need?

Many factors affect how much sleep you need. Age is a big factor:

  • Infants need about 16 hours a day.
  • Toddlers and preschoolers need about 12 hours.
  • Teenagers need about nine hours.
  • Adults need seven to eight (though some are fine with five and others need closer to 10).
  • Pregnant people often need more sleep during the first trimester.

What is a sleep debt?

If you haven’t slept well or long enough for a few days, you might create a sleep debt. Once your debt builds up, you may feel physically and mentally exhausted. Try to make sure you get enough sleep every night to avoid creating this debt. You can’t necessarily make up your debt by sleeping a lot on the weekends. It’s best to get enough sleep all week long.

Can we adapt to needing less sleep?

Generally, people don’t adapt to getting less sleep than they need. You may feel like you’re used to reduced sleep, but it still affects your function. For example, it can harm your judgment and reaction time.

What is sleep deprivation?

When you’re sleep deprived, you’re not getting the total amount of sleep you need. Signs of sleep deprivation include:

  • Falling asleep within a few minutes of lying down.
  • Feeling drowsy during the day.
  • Nodding off for microsleeps — short periods of sleep during the day when you’re otherwise awake.
  • Sleep deprivation can be dangerous. Driving while tired causes about 100,000 car accidents each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It also causes 1,500 deaths. If you feel tired on the road, pull over. It’s not safe to drive if you’re drowsy.

What are sleep disorders?

According to the American Sleep Association, at least 40 million Americans experience sleep disorders each year. Another 20 million have occasional sleep issues. These disorders cause sleep deprivation, leading to problems with work, school, driving and social activities.

There are more than 70 sleep disorders. A few, known as disruptive sleep disorders, lead to moving around or making sounds. Other sleep disorders involve food. And some sleep disorders overlap with psychiatric conditions. If you have problems with sleep or feel very tired, talk to your healthcare provider about a possible sleep disorder.

Some of the most common sleep disorders include:

  • Insomnia disorder: Many people experience insomnia at some point in their lives, with trouble falling or staying asleep. Sleeping pills can help in the short-term but behavioral strategies to improve sleep including cognitive behavioral therapy for Insomnia (CBT-i) is a much better long term solution.
  • Narcolepsy: You may suddenly fall asleep during the day, even if you had a good sleep the night before. These “sleep attacks” can last a few seconds or up to 30 minutes. Talk to your provider about your symptoms and additional testing will need to be completed to diagnosis this sleep disorder.
  • Restless legs syndrome (RLS): You may feel unpleasant sensations in your legs (such as prickling or tingling). You may also have an urge to move your legs to get relief. If you have RLS, talk to your healthcare provider about medication to help improve symptoms.
  • Sleep apnea: You may experience periods of interrupted breathing while you sleep, a condition called sleep apnea. Often, getting polysomnography (sleep study) in a sleep center is the best way to get properly diagnosed and treated. Sometimes, weight loss or not sleeping on your back can help. But you may need a special device to help you breathe while you sleep.
  • Snoring: People who regularly snore can have disturbed sleep. They can also disturb the sleep of their bed partner. Snoring often leads to feeling tired during the day. Several treatment options are available for snoring.

What are good sleep habits?

Good sleep habits, also called good sleep hygiene, are practices to help you get enough quality sleep.


  • Have a sleep schedule: Go to sleep and wake up around the same time every day, even on weekends and vacations.
  • Clear your mind before bed: Make a to-do list early in the evening, so you won’t stay awake in bed and worry about the next day.
  • Create a good sleep environment: Make sure your bed and pillows are comfortable. Turn down the lights and avoid loud sounds. Keep the room at a comfortable temperature.
  • Exercise every day: Stay active but try to avoid exercising during the few hours right before bed.
  • Relax: Before bed, take a warm bath, read or do another relaxing activity.
  • See your healthcare provider: If you’ve been having trouble sleeping or feel extra drowsy during the day, talk to your provider. There are many treatments available for sleep disorders.


  • Consume caffeine, nicotine and alcohol late in the day: These substances can interfere with your ability to fall and stay asleep.
  • Lie in bed awake: It’s better to do a soothing activity, like reading, until you feel tired.
  • Nap during the day: A short nap (less than 30 minutes) is OK if you’re very sleepy. But try to avoid naps after 3 p.m.
  • Think negative thoughts: Try to avoid a negative mindset when going to bed, such as, “If I don’t get enough sleep now, I won’t get through my day tomorrow!”
  • Use electronics right before bed: Electronics, such as your phone or tablet, can interfere with your body’s production of melatonin. This hormone gets released before bed to help you feel tired.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Far from being a state of doing nothing, sleep is an essential part of our lives. It helps our body rest, recharge and repair. There are four sleep stages — three in the non-REM phase plus REM sleep. Many factors can affect sleep quality, including the food and drink you consume before bed and room temperature. Many people experience trouble sleeping now and then. But if you think you may have a sleep disorder, talk to your healthcare provider. Common sleep disorders include insomnia (trouble falling asleep) and sleep apnea (breathing trouble during sleep). Your provider can help you get the diagnosis and treatment you need.

Your Sleep Cycle: About REM and The Stages of Sleep

Our sleep is important to us. When our sleep is good, and healthy, we wake up feeling rested and refreshed.

But to get to that point, we need to go through each of the sleep phases. We can break down the stages of sleep into two main categories: REM (rapid eye movement) and NREM sleep (non-rapid eye movement).

This article explains the different sleep cycle stages, how they work, and why they matter.

Stages of Sleep: How Long Is a Sleep or REM Cycle?

A complete sleep cycle lasts about 90 to 110 minutes. You’ll go through three stages of Non-REM sleep and, finally, REM sleep1.

What is REM?

Known as ‘rapid eye movement’, because your eyes dart in different directions while closed, this form of sleep usually starts about 90 minutes into a cycle. REM cycles are associated with higher levels of brain activity, and dreaming1.

NREM sleep, meanwhile, makes up about 75% of your total sleep time – and consists of progressively deeper stages of sleep.

Once you’ve completed an entire sleep cycle, you’ll start again at stage one and repeat until you wake up1.

Here are the stages of sleep in a typical, full cycle:

Stage 1

The first stage of a natural sleep cycle lasts for five to 10 minutes. During this1:

  • Your body starts to slow down ready for sleep, decreasing your eye movement and muscle activity
  • Your eyes stay closed
  • You are easy to wake, but may feel as if you haven’t slept at all if you do wake up
  • You may feel like you’re starting to fall – and then experience a sudden muscle contraction. Healthcare providers call this ‘hypnic myoclonic’ or ‘hypnic jerk’. It’s completely normal and not anything to be concerned about, as this occurrence is unlikely to cause any complications or side effects

Stage 2

The first two sleep phases are typically considered light sleep. You’ll spend around half the night in stage two. This acts as an extension of the first stage of your natural sleep cycle, and your breathing, eye movement, heartbeat and muscle activity will continue to slow down3.

Your body temperature will also start to fall during stage two sleep3.

Sleep spindles

During stage two, you may experience what’s known as ‘sleep spindles’. These are short bursts of brain activity that occur every three to six seconds and last just 0.5 seconds each time. They are thought to block out external stimuli which might otherwise cause you to wake up.


Like sleep spindles, K-Complexes are short, sudden peaks of brain activity that help block out triggers which would otherwise cause us to wake.

Stage 3

By stage three, you’re starting to enter deeper sleep. This is where our brain activity slows down, and we become difficult to wake up. It’s also where our bodies get to work doing all the important stuff they can’t do while we’re awake. For example3:

  • Releasing growth hormones
  • Tissue, muscle and bone repair
  • Glucose regulation
  • Immune system support
  • Memory processing

Stage 4 - REM Sleep

REM is the fourth and final stage of the sleep cycle. You’ll typically enter REM sleep about an hour and a half after hitting your bed. The first round of REM in a night lasts about 10 minutes, with the stage getting longer and longer each time you enter REM in one night1.

It’s also the deepest stage of sleep, where you’ll experience1:

  • Quickened breathing
  • Faster heart rate and blood pressure
  • Rapid eye movement – hence the name!

Interestingly, we actually need different amounts of REM sleep at different stages in our lives. For example, people typically need1:

  • More REM sleep during infancy, and early childhood
  • Less during adolescence, and young adulthood
  • Even less as we reach retirement age

It was traditionally thought that REM was the only stage of sleep where we were able to dream3. However, research has shown that we can dream at every stage4.

Light Sleep vs. Deep Sleep

While the first two stages of the sleep-wake cycle are classed as light sleep, the third stage is much deeper1.

Deep sleep is sometimes known as ‘slow-wave sleep’ because of the long, slow delta waves produced by our brains during these final two sleep stages5.

You’ll usually enter the third stage within an hour of falling asleep. If you wake up at this point, you’re more likely to feel groggy for around an hour afterwards5.

By contrast, during light sleep stages we are much easier to wake up.

Benefits of Sleep

Sleep cycles are an essential part of a healthy sleep pattern, and have many benefits. Some of these include:

  • Better mood - a lack of REM sleep can potentially lead to reduced concentration and excessive sleeplessness during the day, while getting the right amount can leave us feeling more well-adjusted4
  • Regulate hormones – sleep plays a huge part in balancing the levels of melatonin, cortisol and essential growth hormones that keep our body functioning6
  • Protects against illness – non-REM sleep helps boost and regulate our immune system, giving our bodies the strength to fight against infection and other illnesses1
  • Memory consolidation - during REM, your brain can process new information and motor skills you’ve picked up during the day. It will then commit some of this to memory, work to maintain others, and decide which ones you no longer need4

Learn more about the importance of good sleep.

How to get a better night’s sleep

If you’re struggling to get the sleep you need, there are multiple, small changes you can make to your lifestyle that might help improve your resting hours. You should also talk to your doctor if you have any questions about your sleep.

Set a sleep schedule

Make sure you go to sleep and get up around the same time every day - even on weekends and vacations.

Clear your mind

Try to clear your head of excessive thoughts before going to bed. You could try meditating, or simply make a to-do list for the following day, so you have everything noted down and don’t have to worry about remembering everything.

Treat aches and pains

Aches and pains, especially in our backs or legs, can often stop us from getting a restful night’s sleep. Over-the-counter medication like Tylenol® PM can help relieve minor aches and pains to help you get a better night’s sleep. If pain isn’t what’s keeping you awake at night, you can try Simply Sleep®, a non-habit forming medication that helps you rest easy.

Create a good sleep environment

Are your pillows and mattress suitable for you? Making sure your bed is comfortable can be vital in helping you get a good night’s sleep. You can also create a better sleep environment by getting the lighting and temperature right for you, and taking steps to keep out loud noises.

Get plenty of exercise

Keeping active is a great way to bring on a good night’s sleep. Just avoid doing it too close to bedtime!

Cut down on caffeine

Many of us turn to caffeine to help us get through a long day, but it’s not a good idea to drink caffeine close to bedtime – as it can keep us awake.

Find more tips on how to get better sleep.

everything about how, how much and why to sleep

Nenad Aksic/

Sleep takes up a third of our lives. If you live 90 years, you will sleep through 30 of them. A lot, right? This condition is the subject of research by many scientists around the world (neurologists, psychologists, anthropologists, sociologists). Everyone wonders how much sleep you need? How does sleep affect productivity? What to do if you can't sleep?

Sleep is a special state of consciousness, as well as a natural physiological process, characterized by a reduced reaction to the outside world and specific brain activity. nine0007

Israel Sundseth/

The structure of human sleep includes two phases: slow-wave sleep (Non-REM) and fast sleep (REM, or REM - “rapid eye movement”).

Slow sleep
Comes on immediately after falling asleep. Consists of four stages. The total duration of the Non-REM phase is about 90 minutes. The breathing is calm, even, the pressure decreases, the eyes first make slow movements, and then they are motionless, the brain is inactive, the body is relaxed. You rest, restore physical strength. nine0003

REM sleep
Follows REM sleep and lasts 10 to 20 minutes. The temperature and pressure rise, the heart beats faster. The body is immobilized, with the exception of the muscles responsible for the heartbeat and breathing. Under closed eyelids, eyeballs make quick movements (hence the name - REM). The brain is active. You see dreams.

Non-REM and REM phases alternate with each other. First, you fall into slow sleep and go through all its stages. It takes about 90 minutes. Then comes the phase of REM sleep. The first time it is short, no more than 5 minutes. This cycle is called the sleep cycle. The cycles are repeated. At the same time, the proportion of non-REM sleep decreases and the duration of REM sleep increases (up to 1 hour). A healthy person usually goes through five cycles of sleep at a time.

Good sleep contributes to success in professional and personal life. Agree, you are unlikely to hear “Yes!” If during the interview you yawn or fall asleep at the screening of your favorite movie of a girl you like. nine0003

But most importantly, sleep is a guarantee of health. During sleep, a number of important hormones are produced, tissues are regenerated, and physical strength is replenished. The brain is also not idle: some of its areas become even more active than during wakefulness.

Dyaa Eldin/

Have you noticed that when you want to sleep, some tasks seem too difficult, but once you get enough sleep, the solution comes by itself? The fact is that during sleep, selective, that is, selective, erasure of memory occurs. The brain analyzes the information received during the day: the unnecessary is sent to the “basket”, and the important from the short-term memory is “archived” into the long-term. This is how our memories are formed. Improves perception, concentration and learning ability. nine0003

Lack of sleep impairs the functioning of certain parts of the brain. For example, inhibition of neural processes in the parietal lobe is observed, which may cause problems with the reaction rate. And when the work of the prefrontal cortex slows down, it is difficult for a person to formulate thoughts, there may be problems with vision. Fatigue of the brain turns into a whole bunch of negative consequences.

  1. Deterioration of cognitive functions (memory, attention, thinking), coordination, speech, orientation, control and others. Often this leads to accidents at work and on the road. According to statistics, every fifth accident occurs due to the fact that the driver fell asleep at the wheel. nine0042
  2. Immunity vulnerability. Studies show that lack of sleep increases the risk of getting sick by three times. During sleep, the immune system synthesizes cytokines. The more infections around, the more they are required. But if a person sleeps little, then there is simply no time to produce cytokines. No wonder they say that sleep heals.
  3. Overeating and excess weight. Lack of sleep stimulates the production of ghrelin, the hunger hormone. As a result, the person overeats. A tired brain requires more and tastier food. nine0042
  4. Reduced productivity. When a person wants to sleep, he does everything slowly and poorly. What usually takes an hour can take two, three or more. And not the fact that it will not have to be redone. The efficiency of time stolen from sleep tends to zero.
  5. Decreased motivation. Chronic lack of sleep destroys motivation like groundwater erodes a foundation. Every day less and less I want to move forward towards my goals. nine0042
  6. Bad habits and bad mood. Lack of sleep is a serious obstacle to the formation of good habits. But an excellent catalyst for harmful ones: with a lack of sleep, a person is looking for external stimulants (nicotine, caffeine, and so on). A sleepy person is quick-tempered, irritable and offended by the whole world.
  7. Poor appearance. Lack of sleep is literally imprinted on the face in the form of bruises and bags under the eyes. Prolonged lack of sleep provokes premature aging of the skin. nine0042

Israel Sundseth/

The situation is aggravated by the fact that often a person does not realize or does not recognize the decline in their mental and physical abilities: “Sleep is for the weak! I'm fine!".

Long-term sleep deprivation can cause serious health problems: the risk of developing heart and vascular diseases, diabetes mellitus. However, there are people who consider sleep a waste of time and deliberately keep it to a minimum.

Time is the most valuable and, alas, irreplaceable resource.
Wasting it on sleep is a crime.
This is the philosophy of polyphasic sleep supporters.

Ryan Hutton/

Polyphasic sleep is a sleep pattern in which sleep time is broken up into several short periods instead of a long rest once a day. At the same time, the total duration of sleep is significantly reduced, and wakefulness increases to 20-22 hours.

  • Dymaxion - four times for 30 minutes every 6 hours. Total - 2 hours. nine0042
  • Uberman - six times for 20 minutes every 4 hours. Total - 2 hours.
  • Everyman - 1.5-3 hours at night and three times 20 minutes during the day. Total - 2.5-4 hours.
  • Tesla - 2 hours at night and 20 minutes during the day. Total - 2 hours 20 minutes.

Rafael Fabricio/

Sleep is shortened by skipping Non-REM phases. According to supporters of the polyphasic pattern, the main energy recharging occurs during REM sleep, which means that you need to immediately “dive” into it, without wasting time on slow sleep. nine0003

Of course, training is needed. If you do not know how to fall asleep quickly and do not like to sleep during the day, it will be difficult. But gradually the body will get used to it, and the brain will tune in to the desired wave.

Many prominent personalities practiced polyphasic sleep: Leonardo da Vinci, Salvador Dali, Nikola Tesla, Bucky Fuller. Among our contemporaries are the president of Yahoo, Marissa Mayer, businessman and billionaire Donald Trump, basketball player Kobe Bryant and others.

Adepts of polyphasic sleep claim that they feel great: they not only get enough sleep, but are also full of physical and creative energy. nine0003

However, there are many critics of polyphasic sleep, who argue that sooner or later this jagged schedule will come back to haunt the problems with the cardiovascular system. Opponents of polyphasic sleep believe that you cannot force the body, you need to listen to your biological clock.

In ancient times, people lived according to the laws of nature - everything depended on the change of time of day. After all, there were only two "lamps": during the day - the sun, at night - the moon. This has shaped human circadian rhythms.

Adriel Kloppenburg/

Circadian rhythm
This is the body's internal clock that determines the intensity of various biological processes (thermoregulation, digestion, hormone production, and so on).

The circadian frequency of sleep and wakefulness depends on light. Visual receptors react to the level of illumination and send a signal to the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the brain. This kicks off the production of two important hormones responsible for sleep and awakening: melatonin and cortisol. nine0003

Melatonin is a sleep hormone. Produced in the pineal gland when it gets dark. It reduces pressure and temperature, calms the body and gives it the command “Time to sleep!”. In the morning, the synthesis of melatonin stops. The more light, the more cortisol is released into the blood. This hormone wakes us up, gives vigor and energy for the accomplishments of a new day.

This determines the 24-hour circadian rhythm of sleep and wakefulness: it gets dark - melatonin gives us the opportunity to rest, the sun rises - cortisol wakes us up. But how much sleep do you need to be healthy and positive? After all, for example, in summer the nights are shorter than in winter, and artificial lighting allows you to adjust the natural schedule. nine0007

The vast majority of studies have proven that a healthy adult needs 8 hours of sleep.


This comes from the very nature of sleep. Remember, under normal conditions, we go through five sleep cycles of about 100 minutes each: 100 times 5 divided by 60 is about 8 hours.

The duration of sleep depends on age. The younger the person, the more sleep they need. The National Sleep Foundation, an American non-profit organization with 25 years of experience in the field, makes the following recommendations:

  • 0-3 months - 14-17 hours;
  • from 4 to 11 months - 12-15 hours;
  • from 1 year to 2 years - 11-14 hours;
  • from 3 to 5 years - 10-13 hours;
  • from 6 to 15 years old - 9-11 hours;
  • from 14 to 17 years old - 8-10 hours;
  • from 18 to 64 years old - 7-9 hours;
  • 65 years and over - 7-8 hours.

Sleep duration directly affects physical and mental activity. Maybe, to become the best in your field, it is enough to sleep as much as outstanding scientists, writers and politicians slept? There is no definite answer to this question. nine0003

Einstein and Schopenhauer slept 10-12 hours a day. Honore de Balzac, Leo Tolstoy and Charles Darwin - 8 hours each. Sigmund Freud and Vladimir Nabokov adhered to six hours of sleep. Mozart and Margaret Thatcher (5 hours each), Napoleon Bonaparte and Voltaire (4 hours each) rested a little less. Waking record holders are Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla, who practiced polyphasic sleep.

There is no universal recipe. Sleep duration is like shoe size. For most, 8 hours is suitable, but for some this is not enough, and for some it is a lot. To understand how much you need to sleep for you, you can experimentally. nine0007

Answer three questions:

  1. Do you need an alarm to wake you up?
  2. Do you drink coffee or energy drinks to keep you awake during the day?
  3. Do you fall asleep within the first five minutes?

Yes to the first two questions and no to the last one, you need to increase your sleep.

Sonja Langford/

Circadian rhythms also affect a person's psychological state. Depending on the peaks of mental activity, people are divided into two chronotypes: morning (larks) and evening (owls). nine0003


Early rise and early bed. Waking up at 5-8 am. Lights out usually no later than 10 pm. Most productive and efficient until noon. In the afternoon can not solve problems effectively. By evening, completely exhausted.

Get up late and stay up late. Wake up at 9 am or later. Lights out, usually after midnight. Productivity peaks in the afternoon and evening. Waking up early is unsettling.

This classification was invented in the West in the 1970s. Since then, disputes have not ceased, who is better: larks or owls?

Larks are associated with hard work and success. Who gets up early... The world seems to be made for early birds. Government agencies, clinics, shops, organizations - if you want to be in time everywhere, get up earlier. But, according to scientific research and real life examples, owls are no less efficient and successful. For example, for a trader on the stock exchange or an IT freelancer, the generally accepted work schedule is not so important: they have their own. nine0003

Sometimes discussions reach the point of ridiculousness: owls are supposedly more sociable and romantic, while larks are more responsible and friendlier. In fact, such subjective qualities do not depend on the chronotype, but on the character of the individual. In addition, there is a sleep regime, the adherents of which are difficult to unambiguously classify as larks or owls.

The theory of biphasic, or segmented, sleep was developed by the historian, teacher at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute Roger Ekirch (Roger Ekirch). The result of his 16-year scientific work, he outlined in the book "When the day ends: a dream in the ages past. " nine0003

Bill Williams/

Ekirch studied hundreds of historical documents and came to the following conclusion.

Until the 19th century, when artificial lighting spread to homes, people spent up to 14 hours a day in the dark. Winter evenings were especially long and tedious. The so-called two-phase sleep has become a protective mechanism here.

People went to bed almost immediately after sunset. Slept for about 4 hours and then woke up and stayed awake for a couple of hours. What they were doing? Differently. The aristocracy and intelligentsia, who could afford candles, read or prayed. In the 15th century, there were even special prayers for the night vigil. But most often they created, because they felt something akin to insight. Simpler and poorer people, hard workers and peasants, indulged in carnal pleasures. This Ekirch explains the high birth rate in these social groups. After midnight activity, people again went to bed and slept until the first roosters. nine0003

Modern experiments have shown that biphasic sleep can actually increase your creativity scores. The fact is that people wake up immediately after REM sleep, when the electrical activity of the brain is similar to the state of wakefulness. The memory is cleared of unnecessary information, the mind is bright, the attention is clear, you are full of creative energy.

Biphasic sleep has been practiced by some tribes since ancient times and is becoming more and more popular in pop culture. Despite the fact that the adherents of this system cannot be attributed either to larks (they go to bed early and get up early), or to owls (they work at night). nine0003

This is another argument in favor of the claim that we can change our own chronotype. If desired, an owl can become a lark, and vice versa.

Get up at 6 am! Sounds like a judgment. Can you imagine how difficult it will be to take your head off the pillow and how bad it will be during the day? But this will happen only if the duration of sleep is disturbed. Waking up early doesn't mean sleeping less. Waking up early means sticking to a routine. For example, if the rise is scheduled for 7:00, then you need to go to bed no later than 22:00. nine0003

Jake Givens/

Why do you want to get up early? Find your motivation. The word "should" doesn't work. Just by forcing yourself, you will inevitably break the regime. Perhaps you dream of losing weight and improving your health? Start jogging in the morning or sign up for a pool. Many of them open early so people can swim before work. Not enough time for self-development? Early morning is perfect for this. Everyone is still sleeping, no one will stop you from writing a note on your blog, reading your favorite book, drawing or, say, lying in the bath for a longer time. nine0007

  • 1st minute: open your eyes, think about the people you love, smile.
  • 2nd minute: take a few deep breaths to oxygenate the body, stretch sweetly.
  • 3rd minute: lightly massage the back of the head, temples, eyebrows and earlobes, rub palms together to improve blood circulation.
  • 4th minute: Sit down slowly and drink a glass of water stored in the evening - this will restore the body's water balance and activate the metabolism. nine0042
  • 5th minute: get out of bed, open the curtains, fill the room with light, say to yourself: “Good morning!”

Sunset Girl/

Now take a shower, exercise, meditate and have breakfast. In any order. Physical activity and contrast showers will increase adrenaline levels, a nutritious breakfast will finally awaken your metabolism, and meditation will help you tune in to a new day.

A few more life hacks that will help make the morning really good:

  1. Fill your morning with bright colors and cheerful smells. For example, eat oatmeal off an orange plate and hang citrus pomanders around the house.
  2. Take care of everything from the evening. Iron your clothes, assemble your lunch box, make a plan, and so on. Often you do not want to get up, because you know how many boring things are in the morning.
  3. Do not turn on the radio and TV. News and advertising only spoil the mood. Better get ready for work to your favorite energetic tunes. nine0042

Having created the right morning rituals, you will soon feel how getting up with the first rays of the sun sets you in a creative mood, and you will notice that you no longer need an alarm clock.

The first mechanical alarm clock was designed by Levi Hutchins in 1787. He called only once a day - at 4 o'clock in the morning. Modern people hate alarm clocks. These soulless squeakers steal our sleep, so in the hope of extending the sweet moments, we press the "Snooze for 10 minutes" button. In fact, we ourselves make the enemy out of the alarm clock. nine0007

Ales Krivec/

As the morning light fills the room, the body stops producing melatonin and starts producing cortisol. The temperature rises, blood pressure, the level of PER protein in the blood. Your body is preparing to wake up. Therefore, observing the regimen, you open your eyes just a few moments before the alarm signal.

The Snooze button breaks this process. You begin to doze off again, falling into the first stage of non-REM sleep. The body is perplexed: melatonin is needed again, but what to do with cortisol ?! As a result, after 5–10 minutes you force yourself to get up, but you feel lethargic and overwhelmed. nine0003

“Nonsense! I never wake up before the alarm, you won’t wake me up with a gun!” If so, then you simply do not sleep enough and do not follow the regime.

To make friends with the alarm:

  • do not use the Snooze button;
  • set a pleasant melody, the volume of which slowly increases;
  • hold the alarm clock away to turn it off after the first 5 minutes of waking up, when you have already got out of bed. nine0007

Insomnia (insomnia) is a sleep disorder characterized by inadequate sleep duration and/or poor quality of sleep. It occurs in people of all ages. Insomnia can be chronic (lasts from a month or more) and acute (several nights in a row).


  1. You can't sleep at all.
  2. Constantly waking up.
  3. It pisses you off that you don't sleep well.
  4. Everything falls out of hand, I do not want to communicate with anyone. nine0042

Possible causes:

  1. Stress, problems at work and in private life, depression.
  2. Non-compliance with the regime. Deciding to lie around longer on the weekend, you can earn insomnia.
  3. Shift work schedule, and as a result - disruption of circadian rhythms.
  4. Medicines. Investigate if insomnia is a side effect of the drug you are taking.
  5. Violation of sleep hygiene (stale air in the room, too hot, noisy or light). nine0042

In addition, insomnia can be a companion of somatic and neurological diseases. Here you need to see a doctor. But in most cases, you can get rid of insomnia on your own.

Most often, our own thoughts prevent us from falling asleep. Not always pleasant.


There are various tricks to stop the round dance in the head. For example, visualization. Imagine yourself dozing on the beach under the lapping of the waves. The more detailed the picture, the faster you will find yourself in the realm of Morpheus. Another technique is auto-training: “My eyelids are getting heavy, I fall asleep…”. You can also run the events of the outgoing day in reverse order or dream up and tell yourself a bedtime story. nine0003

Also try focusing on your own breathing: inhale deeply through your nose for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds, and exhale slowly through your mouth for 8 seconds. Thanks to this exercise, you will calm down, and while counting seconds, you will have no time to think about anything else.

Thank you for the passing day. Who or what are you grateful for today? From a positive psychology point of view, expressing gratitude strengthens interpersonal relationships and is highly motivating. Falling asleep with good thoughts, you set yourself up to continue the chain of goodness tomorrow. nine0003

Sometimes we can't fall asleep because of some trifle like an uncomfortable posture or a chemical smell from bed linen. But in the science of sleep, there are no trifles. Pay attention to the position of the body in which you usually wake up. Lie down like this the next time you can't sleep. Use special candles or an essential oil lamp to fill your bedroom with the soothing scent of lavender.

But the most important thing is to develop and observe the evening rituals that set the body to sleep. nine0007

  1. Keep a diary. There you can write down the events of the passing day, your thoughts and experiences. Give preference to a pen and paper notebook.
  2. Read. Better - a regular book or an e-book with an E-Ink screen. And no horror, action and drama. Choose light, positive pieces.
  3. Planning. By making a plan in the evening, you will not only save time in the morning, but will also be ready for action. nine0007
  4. Communication. Evening is a time for family and friends. Do not engage in intellectual work at night looking. And communication is not social networks and chats, but a live conversation.

In addition, proper nutrition, meditation and walking will help normalize sleep.

Jez ​​Timms/

Many people think you have to be tired to sleep well. Physical activity really has a positive effect on the quality and duration of sleep. But intense training is recommended to end at least 4-6 hours before bedtime. nine0007

Caleb Ekeroth/

Light aerobic exercise, yoga or just meditation can be done 1-2 hours before bed.

One of the best yoga postures for relaxation is shavasana. Lie on your back. Place your hands along the body with palms up, but do not touch the body. Stretch your legs and spread them a little. Close your eyes. Relax one by one all the muscles of the body, starting with the toes. Gradually move up: buttocks, lower back, abdomen, back, chest, and so on. Finish relaxing with the muscles of the neck, face and eyes. Usually by this point the person is disconnected. nine0003

But the best option for evening physical activity is a walk. You will enrich the body with oxygen, literally step over the worries and anxieties of the day and, perhaps, work up an appetite.

Eating at night is harmful. But going to bed when your stomach is growling with hunger is wrong. The last meal should be 2-3 hours before bedtime. At the same time, you need to eat foods that are conducive to relaxation.

Ali Inay/

Specifically, rich foods:

  • melatonin - sleep hormone;
  • tryptophan, an amino acid from which melatonin can be synthesized;
  • calcium, which promotes the absorption of tryptophan;
  • magnesium - a natural muscle relaxant that helps to relax;
  • a protein that lowers the acidity of the stomach, causing drowsiness.
  1. Cherry juice or fresh cherries. This berry contains a lot of melatonin, and contains the hormone itself, and not its predecessor. Regular consumption of cherry juice significantly increases the duration of sleep. nine0007
  2. Bananas. They are rich in magnesium and also contain tryptophan.
  3. Yogurt or low-fat cottage cheese. Dairy products are high in calcium and protein.
  4. Turkey, legumes, eggs. These are low calorie, nutritious foods that help lower stomach pH and induce sleepiness through tryptophan.
  5. Spinach and other dark greens, pumpkin seeds, almonds. Rich in magnesium to help relax muscles and help you fall asleep. nine0042

Neha Deshmukh/

Do not consume fatty foods, coffee and caffeinated foods, and alcohol before bed. The first can cause indigestion and adversely affect the figure. Coffee, black tea, energy drinks and other caffeinated products will keep you awake for a long time. They should be discarded at least 3 hours before bedtime. The last cup of espresso must be drunk no later than 14:00. At night, it is better to drink herbal teas with chamomile, oregano, lemon balm or hawthorn. They will help you calm down and relax. nine0003

Alcohol is especially insidious. It helps to switch off, but it has a bad effect on the REM phase, and due to dehydration and the breakdown of ethanol, we wake up without having time to rest. So a jar of beer or a glass of wine before bed is not the best sleeping pill.

It is better to drink a mug of warm milk with honey. Milk contains tryptophan, protein and calcium. This drink has a warming and lulling effect. Just like in childhood.

Sometimes the cause of insomnia lies not in us, but in our partner, who lies next to us and snores. Do not rush to hit him with a pillow - help him solve this problem. Snoring is the process of breathing during sleep, in which a person makes a characteristic rattling sound. According to statistics, 45% of adults snore in their sleep at varying intervals.


Snoring can be a sign of certain diseases (apnea, obesity, hypertension, and others), but the most common cause of snoring is weakened throat muscles, clogged nasal passages, or palatal vibration.

Throat muscles lose tone with age. But they can be strengthened with some simple exercises. nine0007

  1. Close your mouth and close your lips as tightly as possible for 30 seconds.
  2. Open your mouth, move your lower jaw to the right and hold for 30 seconds. Then repeat the same on the other side.
  3. Stick out your tongue as far as possible, then relax. Repeat 10 times. Stick your tongue out again and try to touch your chin and then your nose. Repeat 10 times.

Alcohol, coffee and sedatives relax the throat muscles. And smoking blocks the airways, causing irritation of the mucous membranes of the throat and nose. Therefore, sometimes, to get rid of snoring, it is enough to give up bad habits. nine0003

And the simplest thing: change your posture. During sleep on the back, the muscles of the lower palate relax, the tongue sinks, and pressure on the airways appears. Therefore, sleep on your side or stomach, raise the pillow higher or use a special orthopedic pillow.

Churchill never missed an afternoon nap, even during the war. The politician believed that an afternoon nap, like nothing else, increases efficiency. And he was right. Daytime naps are really helpful. Especially if you don't get enough sleep at night. nine0007


Winston Churchill wrote: “You must sleep between lunch and dinner, and no half measures, never! Take off your clothes and get into bed. Don't think that you will do less work because you are sleeping during the day. This is a stupid opinion of people who have no imagination. On the contrary, you will be able to do more, because you get two days in one - well, at least one and a half.

  1. Short nap improves memory and other cognitive functions. It helps to transfer accumulated information from short-term to long-term memory. nine0042
  2. This kind of sleep stimulates creativity and enhances the ability to learn.
  3. Helps to resist stress and improves mood.
  • 10-20 minutes. This is the ideal nap length. You will pass the first two stages of slow wave sleep and wake up easily, having time to rest your mind and body.
  • 30 minutes. After half an hour of daytime sleep, a state of inertia similar to a hangover may occur. It will continue for another 30 minutes. nine0042
  • 60 minutes. After such a smoke break, it is easy to remember facts, faces and numbers. But for a while you will act by inertia.
  • 90 minutes. A complete sleep cycle has been completed. It is easy to wake up, you feel a surge of strength.

Thong Vo/

When, how and where to take a nap

The best time for a siesta is from 13:00 to 16:00. But specific hours depend on your routine and biorhythm. For example, if you wake up at 10:00, you are unlikely to want to take a nap in just 3 hours. nine0003

Daytime naps take some getting used to. Practice it for several days at the same time. Try to sleep the same number of minutes. Consider the time it takes to fall asleep. If you switch off in 10 minutes, then for a full 20-minute daytime sleep, you need to start the alarm clock half an hour ahead.

You can take a nap anywhere: in the car, at the table, on the couch. The sleep is short, which means that you almost do not risk getting up with back or neck pain. Ideally, find a quiet place with dim lights. If the office does not have this, use a sleep mask and earplugs. nine0007

Mats-Peter Forss/

  1. Stick to the routine. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time according to your internal biological clock. Use special tracker applications to study the features of your sleep.
  2. Create a comfortable sleeping environment. The optimal temperature in the bedroom is 18-21 ºС. Ventilate the room at night. Shade windows so that the light of outdoor advertising, street lamps and passing cars does not interfere with you. If you sleep more than one, discuss with your partner what factors affect your and his sleep, and create comfortable conditions for both. nine0042
  3. Buy a comfortable mattress, pillow and sleepwear. Change bedding as often as possible. Do not let pets in bed.
  4. Walk and meditate before going to bed.
  5. Don't lie down on an empty stomach, but don't overeat either. No coffee or alcohol at night.
  6. Use the bedroom only for sleep and sex. Do not watch TV in bed, do not use a laptop, tablet and smartphone. The light from the screens suppresses the production of melatonin - the quality of sleep decreases. nine0042
  7. Avoid digital noise at least 2-3 hours before bed. Instead of scrolling through social media feeds, watching emails and watching videos, go about your evening rituals.
  8. Do not keep your phone or watch under your pillow. If you don't wake up yourself, the alarm will wake you up. You do not need to control how much you have already slept and how much is left to sleep.


Interesting topics:

Author — Nastya Raduzhnaya. nine0007 Editors - Oksana Zapevalova, Alina Mashkovtseva.
Layout - Lera Merzlyakova.

Optimizing sleep: how to sleep less but better

  • David Robson
  • BBC Worklife

Image copyright Getty Images

Scientists have already learned how to deepen and speed up the recovery processes that occur in our brain during sleep. Will it make us feel better even when we go to bed too late and wake up too early? nine0590

We often talk about our sleep difficulties with some pride. After all, they testify that we lead an extremely busy life.

Let's remember Thomas Edison, Margaret Thatcher - yes, the same Donald Trump. All of them are famous for their short night rest - 4-5 hours of sleep, much less than the 7-9 hours recommended by doctors for adults.

  • We reduce our own sleep, and the consequences are very disturbing
  • Why good sleep in the morning is good for your work
  • Is it true that with age a person needs less time to sleep
  • How long can one go without sleep?

Many of us seem to follow suit: According to the US Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, more than a third of US adults regularly lack sleep.

The consequences are known - from memory impairment to increased risk of infectious diseases, from difficulty making decisions to obesity. But they are often ignored. nine0003

Alas, when our work needs exceed our normal daily schedule, the first thing we sacrifice is hours of sleep.

But if we could optimize the hours we spend sleeping, make them more efficient? Would we then need less time to sleep, and would it be deeper?

Such an opportunity is closer than we think. Techniques for optimizing sleep already exist, and experiments around the world are proving that we can improve the efficiency of our brains at night. nine0003

First we speed up our deep sleep, and then we increase the quality of our rest.

Do you think it sounds too nice to be true? Let's figure it out.

Slowing down the rhythm

During a normal night, the brain goes through different stages of sleep, each with its own characteristic "brain wave" pattern. At the same time, neurons in different areas of the brain work synchronously, in a certain rhythm (like a large crowd chanting something in unison). nine0003

During the phase of REM sleep, also called the phase of rapid eye movements (REM), the rhythm of neurons is relatively fast - at this time we usually dream.

But at certain moments, our eyes stop moving, dreams stop dreaming, and the rhythm of brain activity drops to one "beat" per second.

And here we plunge into that very deep unconscious state, which is called the phase of slow sleep.

It is this stage that is of most interest to scientists studying the possibilities of optimizing sleep. nine0003

Image copyright, Getty Images

Image caption,

Margaret Thatcher, among other things, was known for getting four to five hours of sleep a night, at least during her years as British Prime Minister

Research since the 1980s has shown that non-REM sleep is critical to maintaining normal brain function. During it, the corresponding areas of the brain transfer memories of what happened during the day from the category of short-term memory to long-term - so that we do not forget what we have learned and learned. nine0003

"Slow-wave sleep facilitates this transfer of information," says Jan Born, Head of the Department of Medical Psychology and Behavioral Neuroscience at the University of Tübingen (Germany).

  • How some people manage to get by with little to no sleep
  • The best recipe for a broken heart or clouded mind is to take a nap

Slow-wave sleep also triggers the flow of blood and CSF to the brain, thus "flushing out" potentially damaging neurons. blockages". nine0003

At the same time, levels of cortisol (hydrocortisone, the “stress hormone”) are lowered, which helps to restore the immune system, preparing it for future attacks of infections.

Image copyright, Getty Images

Image caption,

Many companies are now working to develop methods to help their customers achieve deeper NREM sleep, much like children do

Born and other scientists wondered if we could to improve the quality of sleep and, in particular, the phases of non-REM sleep so much that it will improve our daytime functioning? nine0003

One of the most promising techniques is to use a sort of metronome for the sleeping brain. Participants in the experiments put on a kind of helmet on their heads, which captures the phases of their brain activity during sleep - including when they are immersed in the slow phase.

And then the device begins to reproduce short impulses, barely audible sounds with a frequency that matches the brain impulses of the non-REM sleep phase.

These sounds are not loud enough to wake up a sleeping person, but a person subconsciously perceives them. nine0003

Bourne came to the conclusion that such gentle sound stimulation is quite sufficient to ensure that the correct brain rhythms enhance the state of deep sleep.

  • Circadian rhythms: why is daylight so important for good sleep?
  • Scientists have found how sound sleep can prevent the onset of Alzheimer's disease slept with a device that produced no stimulation. nine0003

    The signals sent by the device changed the hormonal balance, helped to reduce the level of cortisol in the body.

    To date, none of the participants in the experiments have reported any undesirable effects or side effects of such brain stimulation, Born says.

    Shop for sound sleep

    Most of the experiments to deepen non-REM sleep involved small groups of young and healthy volunteers. So, in order to be fully convinced of the benefits of such techniques, research should be wider and in groups with more diverse composition. nine0003

    But the technology has already made its way into some household devices, mostly in the form of headbands worn at night.

    • Why do we twitch when we fall asleep
    • What do animals see in their dreams?

    The French start-up Dreem, for example, produces such a headband (it costs about 400 euros), as in the experiments described above, stimulating the brain with sound impulses that immerse a person in the phase of slow sleep. The effectiveness of this device is confirmed by a peer-reviewed scientific study. nine0003

    The French gadget comes with a mobile app that analyzes your sleep and offers practical tips and exercises to improve it - including meditation and breathing exercises.

    Philips, the manufacturer of the SmartSleep device, explicitly states that it wants to help alleviate the negative effects of sleep deprivation.

    The device is for people "who, for whatever reason, just can't afford to get as much sleep as their body needs," says David White, Chief Scientist at Philips. nine0003

    Image copyright, Getty Images

    Image caption,

    Philips is joining research to improve sleep efficiency with its own device for sleep-deprived people

    Launched in 2018. Like the Dreem, it's a headband that detects electrical brain activity and periodically sends out short beeps to stimulate the vibrations that are characteristic of non-REM sleep.

    The gadget relies on software that offers the optimal level of stimulation for a particular person (SmartSleep is currently only available in the US, its price is 39$9).

    David White agrees that such devices cannot completely replace healthy sleep throughout the night. But, he says, those who suffer from sleep deprivation are extremely difficult to convince of the need to change their lifestyle. And the device should at least help them feel better during the day.

    Philips' own research is reported to have confirmed that SmartSleep stimulates slow-wave sleep in those who are regularly sleep deprived and mitigates the impact of this sleep loss on the effectiveness of nighttime memory consolidation. nine0003

    No doubt, in the future, new experiments will lead to new devices and innovative ways to optimize sleep.

    • Remembering a dream: why is it so difficult?
    • Dream guide: how to overcome nightmares and start flying

    Auror Perrault of Concordia University (Montreal) recently tested a bed that gently rocked back and forth every four seconds - much like a cradle with a baby.

    According to her, her colleague suggested this after she had a baby and had to rock him to sleep. Scientists have a question: but will it work with adults too? nine0003

    Image copyright, Dreem

    Image caption,

    French startup Dreem's device uses sound brain stimulation to improve sleep quality. Similar products are beginning to appear on the market

    Indeed, it turned out that the participants in the experiment fell into slow-wave sleep faster and spent more time in it. Their brains synchronized with external movement.

    As expected, they reported feeling more rested afterwards. In addition, this was accompanied by positive effects on their memory. nine0003

    If such a bed is available for sale, it will perform the same function as head-mounted devices.

    Perro is particularly interested in whether she will help the elderly. As we age, the amount of time we spend in non-REM sleep decreases, and memory problems may be associated with this.

    Perrault hopes that the gently rocking bed will help counter this.

    Sleep anyway

    While such studies are at the very beginning of their journey, they are nevertheless promising. Perrault and Bourne are optimistic about the potential of commercial products that use sound pulses for health purposes. nine0003

    Perrault emphasizes that more research is needed on the effectiveness of such methods - and no longer in the laboratory. "It's great that they keep trying to use external stimulation - we know it works," says Perrault.

    Image copyright, Getty Images

    Image caption,

    Some research has found that long-known environmental stimuli, like bed rocking, can help adults sleep better too

    Skip Podcast and continue reading. nine0003


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    Will these techniques have long-term effects? We know that chronic sleep deprivation increases the risk of developing diabetes and even Alzheimer's syndrome. Can artificially optimized sleep reduce these risks?

    For now, the only way to ensure you get all the benefits of healthy sleep (both in the short and long term) is to make sure you get enough sleep each night. nine0003

    Whether or not to test the devices described here is up to you. But you should definitely try going to bed early more often, not drinking alcohol and caffeine before bed, and not browsing social media and your favorite Internet sites for too long while lying in bed. All this harms the quality of sleep.

    Our brain cannot function properly without the recharge that sleep provides. And it would be better for us not to oversleep the moment when it will be too late to fix something.

    Learn more