Stages of Sleep

The four stages of slow wave sleep and their properties

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Stages of SWS (slow wave sleep)

Stage 1

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Stages of SWS (slow wave sleep)

  • heart beat slows down
  • muscle tension is reduced
  • eyes may roll a little
  • alpha waves a replaced by slower, smaller desynchronized activity
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Stages of SWS (slow wave sleep)

Stage 2

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Stages of SWS (slow wave sleep)

  • EEG pattern becomes synchronized with large slower waves interrupted by periodic bursts of fast spiking activity called sleep spindles that last one or two seconds
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Stages of SWS (slow wave sleep)

Stage 3

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Stages of SWS (slow wave sleep)

  • Large amplitude very slow waves (delta waves) dominate the EEG pattern and sleep spindles become less common
  • Heart rate continues to fall as does body temperature.
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Stages of SWS (slow wave sleep)

Stage 4

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Stages of SWS (slow wave sleep)

  • EEG recprdings consist purely of delta waves
  • Metabolic rate reaches its lowest
  • Arousal threshold is very high
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