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What Is Light Sleep Stage – Sleep Experts Explain These 2 Sleep Stages


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December 5, 2022

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What Is Light Sleep Stage – Light sleep is used to refer to the kind of sleep that we go into during the first two stages of nREM sleep. As the name suggests, sleeping light at the time is quite different from deep sleep which is the third stage of non-REM sleep. Normally, the first stage of non-REM makes up about 3% of our total sleep time.

Our brain doesn’t really linger that much at the first stage as it simply acts as a transition between our waking time and sleeping time. All light sleeping happens at the 2nd stage of non-REM sleep. This is where most adults spend more than half of their nights. For those who are wondering, “What is light sleep?”, it’s basically the first two stages of our sleep cycle.

What Is Light Sleep Stage – Deep vs Light Sleep

There are some people who asked Reddit no sleep and what’s the difference between deep vs light sleep? You’ve probably heard of light sleepers being able to wake themselves up in a flash with the lightest of noise and then there are those who remain in deep sleep no matter how noisy their surroundings are. What’s the difference between the two, anyway?

Light sleep

Like it was mentioned before, this stage of sleep in non-REM, is the lightest of sleep which means that you can wake up easily at this point. The first stage is where we transition from wake to light sleep which typically happens during the second stage of non-REM. This is where we spend half of our sleep every night. When you are asleep at this stage, you will be able to bring yourself to waking stage easily because your brain hasn’t transitioned to deep sleep yet.

Deep sleep

This is also referred to as the delta sleep or slow-wave sleep where we become disengaged from our environment while we are asleep. We need to be in deep sleep to receive its restorative properties. We don’t dream at this point.

Light Sleep Stage

What goes on in a light sleep stage? There are some Reddit users who are thinking that they don’t really need to pay much attention to non-REM sleep because all the benefits to our brain and body happen when we go into deep sleep. Researchers say that all stages of sleep play a role to our brain and body which is why you need to undergo the different stages of sleep to feel energized and refreshed.

In the sleep-wake cycle, we first enter the non-REM stage where the stages 1 and 2 is where light sleep happens. The first stage is the lightest of sleep where it prepares the body to go to lighter sleep in preparation for deep sleep which is the third stage. The second stage is where sleep spindles occur which are basically bursts of brain activity.

What Is Light Sleep Stage – Deep Sleep And Light Sleep Patterns

Getting a good night’s sleep is critical to our health and well-being which is why we need to make sure that we follow our circadian rhythm as much as possible. Although there are some who can sleep light and still wake up feeling refreshed, there are those who need to go through several sleep patterns to achieve a good night’s rest. Let’s see how deep sleep light sleep patterns work.

Non-REM Sleep

There are three stages of non-REM sleep that we go through with each stage lasting from 5 to 15 minutes. Your body will have to go through each stage before they achieve.REM sleep. The first stage can last from 5 to 15 minutes where your eyes close but it’s easy to wake up. The second stage is where light sleep begins. Your heart rate slows down as your body temperature drops. This means that your brain and body are getting ready for deep sleep. It’s in the third stage where you enter the deep sleep stage. In this non-REM sleep phase, it will be difficult to rouse you from bed, but if you do get to wake up, you’ll most likely feel disoriented for a couple of minutes. It is at the third stage of sleep where restorative sleep happens.

REM Sleep

Rapid eye movement or REM sleep tends to happen 90 minutes after you have entered the non-REM sleep. The first phase of your REM sleep tends to last for about 10 minutes or so. As you move through each stage of sleep, the duration of your REM sleep becomes longer. When you are in REM sleep, your heart, as well as your breathing, quickens.

How Much Deep Sleep vs Light Sleep Should You Get

There are a lot of people who are wondering, “how much deep sleep vs light sleep should you get?” as we have read that both deep sleep and REM sleep play a part to our brain and body. Here’s how much we should get for both non-REM sleep and REM sleep.


Like it was mentioned before, the first stage of this non-REM stage typically lasts for 10 minutes since you are still transitioning to the sleep phase. When you enter the real non-REM phase, your body temperature as well as your heartbeat will slow down in preparation for deep sleep which is the third stage of non-REM. Most of the time, when we sleep at night, we spend 50% of it in non-REM, where 20 to 25% of it in the deeper stage of non-REM. When you are in deep sleep, brain waves are slow which means that there is not much activity or dreaming happening here. Light sleepers often stay in the first two stages of non-REM.


After you have cycled through the first three stages of nREM, your body will be entering REM where brain activity will rev up. Eye movement will happen at this point because your brain is active as it sifts through the memories and information and processes them. You will need to spend 20 to 25% of sleep every night in this stage.

Now that you have an idea on how much light and deep sleep you will need every time you go to bed, those who are suffering from obstructive sleep apnea, or difficulty in breathing at night, you will have to take measures to correct it. The same thing goes true for other age-related macular degeneration if you want to be able to meet the required light and deep sleep to keep your brain functioning, to preserve long-term memory, and your body to remain strong and healthy.

Sleep Light Depression

Sleep light depression is as real as the sleep disorders that we are experiencing, like sleep apnea, insomnia, night terrors, and the like. According to the American Journal of Epidemiology, sleep quality is affected at night when there is light exposure. They further stated that the elderly may have a hard time falling asleep at night when there is artificial light. According to Kenji Obayashi, the co-author of the study, said that there is a strong link between sleep deprivation and depression especially in the elderly since their brain has a hard time slowing down.

Although light exposure may not be the only reason why people feel depressed when they sleep, it may be because exposure to artificial light can disrupt their sleep and their brain waves hence they are not getting enough rest. And when we miss out on quality sleep at night, you can expect various health issues to crop up such as Alzheimer’s Disease, sleep-disordered breathing, and others because we aren’t getting enough rest on time.

It appears that being exposed to light as we sleep at night can trigger changes to our melatonin which affect our body clock. Melatonin is the one that helps put our body in rest mode at night. This is why some find it hard to fall asleep even when there is a little bit of artificial light filtering into their bedroom. Obayashi further stated that although the elderly are affected by this problem, the younger people are more prone to suffering from sleep disturbances especially when they are using their gadgets. Wearing blue-blocking glasses can help reduce the strain in the eyes so they will be able to sleep better at night.

For those who are having trouble sleeping because of depression due to the introduction of artificial light in their bedroom as they sleep, some experts recommend the use of light therapy to correct their body clock. Listening to a nosleep podcast can help your brain go into a relaxed state as well.

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