When you sleep, your body travels back and forth between different stages. Each stage has an important purpose, and if you’re a snorer, chances are there are some stages of sleep that you’re not experiencing as much as you should be. Sleep stages can be divided into four or five general categories. To make things simple, let’s divide the cycles into four stages: stage 1, stage 2, stage 3 and REM.
This stage happens when you’re just beginning to doze off. Your brain activity will start to slow down, and your muscles are beginning to relax.
In stage 2, you begin to transition from just dozing off into actual sleep. In this stage, your brain activity continues to slow down even more and your muscles are beginning to fully relax. This is the point where your throat muscles become so relaxed that the tongue falls to the back of your throat, blocking your airway and thus causing snoring. This lighter stage of sleep aids in mental and physical restoration and is where you’ll spend a good chunk of your night.
Although light sleep is important, it’s your deep sleep that most strongly promotes physical and cognitive recovery. In fact, this stage is so important, that you could wake up from a 9-hour sleep and still feel tired because you did not spend enough time in this stage. Unfortunately, this is where things get especially bad for snorers.
Those who snore end up spending far less time in stage 3. The reason for this is, if your airway is being blocked, your body is not getting an easy flow of oxygen, and as a result, you won’t be able to move from stage 2 to stage 3. Similarly, if you suffer from sleep apnea, you may not realize it, but you are waking up several times in the night, again, preventing you from falling into a deeper sleep.
Rapid eye movement (REM) is a stage in which your brain is extremely active, while your muscles are virtually paralyzed. This is the stage where you experience very vivid dreams. For those with sleep apnea, the paralysis or hyper relaxation can be that much more damaging, as it can cause the airway to be completely blocked.
If you snore or suffer from sleep apnea, your sleep is being disrupted, meaning your body is constantly being prevented from transitioning into a deeper sleep. This will not only affect how rested you feel the next morning, but will also interfere with your body’s ability to maintain a strong immune system and metabolism, and prevents the body from growing and strengthening in many other ways.
Don’t let snoring and sleep apnea reduce your quality of life. Stop snoring and start living today.