Benefits and Importance Of Sleep – Infographic

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This holiday season, all of us are thankful for family, friends, and our health. However, many of us do not fully appreciate the important role sleep plays in our health, and also in our overall quality of life. Medical researchers and professionals are making great strides in understanding sleep, but there are still many unanswered questions. One answer we can all agree upon is that sleep is extremely important.

Every so often, when we do not get enough sleep, we become moody, unproductive, and struggle to concentrate. Furthermore, if we continually do not get enough sleep, the effects are far-reaching, impacting our work, relationships, appearance, weight, memory, sex drive, safety, and overall health.

We’ve written a number of posts in the past about the negative impact that the lack of sleep has on our lives. This infographic illustrates 12 Benefits of sleep where a good night’s sleep improves our lives. Sleep is beneficial for

Long-term lack of sleep slows down reaction time, reduces concentration, and also can make a driver drowsy. It is as dangerous as driving drunk, with a report that in the United States 250,000 people fall asleep at the wheel every day. Additionally, lack of sleep causes increases in accidents at work and in the home because our concentration and decision-making are impaired.

Lack of sleep impacts all aspects of work and life. If an individual cannot focus, memory is impacted which results in poor work performance. Of course, we all know what happens with poor work performance.  Moreover, this can lead to poor self-esteem and even spiral into depression.

Even though many of us are aware that a lack of sleep causes health issues, we might not know how important sleep really is for a healthy body and mind. Chronic sleep loss from Sleep Apnea can have serious and permanent consequences. Our brain needs to proceed through 4 to 5 sleep cycles every night, because different stages of sleep are important for different tasks.   For instance, in stage 4 sleep, our immune system replenishes itself. If Sleep Apnea awakens a person before he gets to that level of sleep every night, his overall health will suffer. People who sleep less than 5 hours per night double their risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.

The Importance of Sleep

The attached infographic depicts the 5 stages of sleep. Every stage is important, and we cycle through them 4-5 times a night during a good night of sleep. This is what happens in the 5 sleep stages:


This is the stage when the body prepares for sleep, with tense muscles, erratic eye movements, and slow relaxation. The brain emits many waves including Gamma, High Beta, Mid Beta, Beta Sensory Motor Rhythm, Alpha, and Theta

Different Stages of Sleep

  • Stage One lasts 5-10 minutes
    • Eyes are closed, but the person can be easily aroused and will not feel that they were asleep.
    • Alpha brain waves produce periods of dreaminess and even hallucination
    • Theta brain waves – the period between being awake and asleep
    • There is a 50 percent reduction in brain activity between wakefulness and stage 1 sleep.
  • Stage Two lasts 20 minutes
    • The brain produces rapid, rhythmic brain waves called” Sleep Spindles” and periods of muscle tone and muscle relaxation
    • Body temp drops
    • Heart rate drops
    • The body prepares for deep sleep
  • Stage Three is a brief transition to deep sleep producing slow Delta Waves
  • Stage Four lasts around 30 minutes and produces Delta Waves
    • Sleepwalking and bed-wetting typically happen at the end of Stage Four sleep.
  • Stage Five: REM – Rapid Eye Movement
    • Dreaming
    • Increased respiration and heart rate
    • Twitching in fingers, face, and legs
    • Increased brain wave activity
    • Involuntary Muscles become paralyzed – to keep the body from acting out dreams. The first period of REM typically lasts 10 minutes. Each REM after that lasts a bit longer, and the final REM lasts about an hour.

Each stage of sleep is independent and marked by subtle changes that can be measured by polysomnography, which shows brain waves and muscular states during sleep.

The Sleep Cycle

The non-REM sleep stages last around 90 minutes, and stages 2 and 3 repeat backward before the first REM sleep. A normal sleep cycle proceeds in the following way: waking, stage 1, 2, 3, 4, 3, 2, REM. The first sleep cycle usually lasts for 100 minutes. Every cycle lasts a bit longer because the REM stage lasts longer. People without sleep disorders usually complete sleep five cycles per night.

For more information read our article on Sleep Cycles.

OSA and Other Sleep Disorders

Obstructive Sleep Apnea and other sleep disorders interrupt the sleep cycle and change how people fall asleep, how long they sleep, and the quality of sleep. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, more than 12 million people in the U.S. have sleep apnea. The risk increases with obesity and age, with half of those diagnosed with OSA overweight. Men are also at higher risk. One in 25 middle-aged men and one in 50 middle-aged women have sleep apnea. Signs of a sleep disorder include daytime drowsiness, headaches, snoring, difficulty concentrating, and moodiness. Improvements over the last few years in CPAP therapy make treating sleep apnea much easier and more effective.

This holiday season, snuggle in and give yourself a few more hours of sleep. It may be your favorite gift this season.

Chris Vasta


Chris Vasta

Over a 10+ year career at PHH Mortgage managing a $100 million portfolio, Chris Vasta learned the ins and outs of the business world. He learned how to establish business relationships, lead a multi-prong team, and implement strategies for long-term growth. In 2007, Vasta used that experience to transition his role into president of The CPAP Shop. Over his tenure, Vasta has been involved in everything from website design to warehouse layout. His hands-on approach with customers has evolved into an in-depth understanding of the challenges of beginning and adhering to sleep therapy. He often provides his insights on product…

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