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Sleeping environment: Bedroom Environment: What Elements Are Important?

Sleep Environment: Temperature, Humidity, Light, & Noise

Sleep is important for almost every part of the body, from the brain to the immune system, yet nearly half of the U.S. population has trouble sleeping. In fact, over one third of adults aren’t getting the recommended amount of sleep each night.

One potential barrier to a good night’s sleep is your sleep environment. Sleep environment refers to your bedroom and other nighttime surroundings. Your sleep environment includes important qualities, like the temperature as well as levels of humidity, light, and noise. 

Having the right sleep environment can mean the difference between a night of restful, restorative sleep or one filled with uncomfortable tossing and turning.


Top 5 Tips for Sleep Environments

  • 1
    Set your room temperature for around 65 to 68 degrees.
  • 2
    Consider blackout curtains or shades to help keep your bedroom dark.
  • 3
    Try ear plugs or a white noise machine to mask disruptive noises.
  • 4
    Pick the right pillow and bedding materials that promote good airflow.
  • 5
    Find a comfortable mattress that provides you with the best support and cushioning.

The right sleep environment can mean the difference between a night of restful sleep or one filled with tossing and turning.

Learn More

Elements of a Relaxing Sleep Environment

The best sleep environment is an area that’s cool, quiet, and dark with a comfortable space to lie down. Whether that’s in your bedroom, a hotel, or even a friend’s couch, optimizing the environment for sleep can help you get a better night’s rest.

Best Temperature for Sleep

For most people, the best temperature for sleep is approximately 65 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Bedroom temperature can have a major impact on your sleep. That’s why you may find it harder to sleep in a cold room or during the hot summer months when heat waves cause higher nighttime temperatures.

One link between temperature and sleep comes from the body’s circadian rhythms. Circadian rhythms help control daily cycles in the body. In response to environmental signals like sunlight, circadian rhythms regulate a wide range of biological functions, including sleep and wake times, metabolism, and body temperature.

Core body temperature is usually around 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit but fluctuates slightly throughout the day. When the sun goes down and darkness sets in, your body’s temperature starts to fall and your body begins to release more sleep hormones like melatonin. Core body temperature continues to drop as you sleep, reaching a low point sometime in the early hours of the morning.

This nightly drop in body temperature represents an important signal that tells your body it’s time for sleep. But if the sleep environment is too hot or too cold, you may have a harder time falling asleep and staying asleep.

Humidity and Sleep

High humidity can also have a negative impact on sleep, especially when combined with higher temperatures. For general comfort, most health experts recommend keeping indoor relative humidity levels somewhere between 30% and 50%.

Relative humidity refers to how much moisture is in the air relative to the temperature. High levels of relative humidity can make the air feel hotter than the reading on the thermometer might suggest. For example, high humidity can make 85 degrees Fahrenheit feel more like 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

When there’s a lot of moisture in the air, sweat evaporates more slowly. As a result, your body has a harder time cooling itself down. This interferes with the normal nightly drop in core body temperature that helps to promote sleep. During the hotter summer months, using air conditioning to cool the bedroom can help keep indoor humidity at a comfortable level.

Low humidity levels can occur during the colder winter months, in dry climates, and when using a heater. This lack of moisture in the air may also lead to uncomfortable symptoms like dry itchy skin and eyes. In areas where the humidity is very low, a humidifier can help add moisture back into the air.

How Noise Affects Sleep

Anyone who has been jolted awake by a sudden, loud sound understands the disrupting effect noise can have on sleep. The scientific research aligns, indicating that too much noise puts a damper on quality rest.

Boisterous neighbors, family members, and pets, a snoring partner, smartphone notifications, and street noise all pose challenges to keeping the bedroom quiet. Whatever the source, the effect of loud noise breaching the bedroom is typically the same. People exposed to noise at night tend to have lower quality sleep.

When a person sleeps, they cycle through three stages of non-rapid eye movement (non-REM) sleep and one stage of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. The body and brain cycle through these stages multiple times throughout the night. Stage 3 of non-REM is associated with the deep sleep needed to feel fully rejuvenated.

Exposure to noise changes this normal pattern of sleep. People exposed to even low levels of noise experience more frequent sleep interruptions and spend less time in REM and stage 3 sleep. As a result, they’re less likely to feel well rested and recuperated in the morning.

The Impact of Light on Sleep

It’s no coincidence that you tend to feel alert after the sun rises and sleepy after the sun goes down. That’s because your body’s circadian rhythms try to synchronize to changes in levels of light to help control when you wake up and when you go to sleep.

Getting plenty of natural light in the morning can be a powerful tool to help you stay energized during the day and fall asleep at night. Bright light from the sun is especially effective.

However, in modern life, light exposure doesn’t usually end when the sun goes down. Indoor and outdoor lighting as well as TV, computer, and smartphone screens can keep you bathed in light right up until or after your usual bedtime.

Your body is most sensitive to bright light an hour after waking up, two hours before bedtime, and throughout the night. As a result, exposure to artificial light in the late evening can make it harder to fall asleep. This is especially true for devices that emit blue light, a wavelength that mimics the effect of sunlight.

Researchers are still working to understand exactly how different types and levels of light impact sleep. But health experts agree that a dark room is best for sleep. It’s also a good idea to dim your lights and avoid screen time at least 30 minutes to an hour before bed.

Shop the Best Mattresses of 2023

Tips to Improve Your Sleep Environment

There are several simple changes you can make to help transform your bedroom into the ultimate space for relaxing sleep.

  • Keep the temperature just right: The best temperature for sleep is around 65 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep an eye on your thermostat and make sure your bedroom isn’t too hot or too cold to sleep comfortably. Remember, everyone has different comfort preferences, so figure out what works best for you.
  • Consider blackout curtains: Keeping your bedroom dark can be hard for people who sleep during the day or whose bedroom is exposed to street lights or other light pollution. Installing light blocking shades or curtains can help to keep your bedroom dark.
  • Try a white noise machine: White noise machines can help mask disruptive background noise. You can also use a fan or white noise app on your smartphone for a similar effect. Pink or brown noise are other types of sounds you can try.
  • Experiment with eye masks and earplugs: An eye mask and a pair of ear plugs are simple, cost-effective options for controlling your exposure to light and sound during sleep.  
  • Change your smartphone settings: Phone notifications buzzing and beeping throughout the night can detract from a good sleep environment. Many phones have a ‘do not disturb’ option for nighttime hours. You can customize this setting to turn off all non-essential alerts while still allowing emergency calls to come through.
  • Use blue light blocking glasses: TV, computer, and smartphone screens emit blue light that can disrupt your body’s circadian rhythm and make it harder to fall asleep. If you can’t avoid using a screen right before bed, try using blue light-blocking glasses that help prevent the blue light from reaching your eyes.

When putting together the ideal sleep environment, it’s not just about optimizing temperature, humidity, noise, and light. Having the right mattress, pillows, and bedding can also help you feel relaxed and ready for a good night’s rest.

  • Find a better mattress: When searching for the best mattress, you may focus most of your attention on support and cushioning. But a mattress can also play an important role in regulating your body temperature during sleep. If you sleep hot, look for a mattress that promotes good airflow around the body and doesn’t retain too much body heat.
  • Pick an appropriate pillow: Choosing the right pillow that meets your needs is another important part of creating a relaxing sleep environment. Look for a model that provides the right amount of loft and support to suit your sleep style.
  • Choose the right bedding: Good bedding is key for helping you feel comfortable and regulating your body temperature as you sleep. Choose sheets with the right fabric and weave to suit the season and climate as well as your personal comfort preferences.
  • Replace when needed: Bedding, mattresses, and pillows don’t last forever. After many years of use, a mattress starts to break down and may develop an indentation where you usually sleep. Likewise, pillows eventually lose their loft and can gather dust. Consider replacing your mattress, bedding, and pillows when they no longer provide a comfortable sleep surface.


  1. Accessed on October 17, 2022. https://www.ninds.nih.gov/health-information/public-education/brain-basics/brain-basics-understanding-sleep
  2. Accessed on October 17, 2022. https://www.merckmanuals.com/home/brain,-spinal-cord,-and-nerve-disorders/sleep-disorders/overview-of-sleep
  3. Accessed on October 17, 2022. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29073398/
  4. Accessed on October 17, 2022. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26890214/
  5. Accessed on October 17, 2022. https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/work-hour-training-for-nurses/default.html 
  6. Accessed on October 17, 2022. https://blogs.cdc.gov/niosh-science-blog/2020/06/29/sleep-hwd/
  7. Accessed on October 17, 2022. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22738673/
  8. Accessed on October 17, 2022. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36073025/ 
  9. Accessed on October 17, 2022. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK331/
  10. Accessed on October 17, 2022. https://www.weather.gov/arx/heat_index
  11. Accessed on October 17, 2022. https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/features/extremeheat/index.html
  12. Accessed on October 17, 2022. https://www.weather.gov/lmk/humidity
  13. Accessed on October 17, 2022. https://www.epa.gov/iaq-schools/moisture-control-part-indoor-air-quality-design-tools-schools
  14. Accessed on October 17, 2022. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14646307/
  15. Accessed on October 17, 2022. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26483931/
  16. Accessed on October 17, 2022. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/insufficient-sleep-evaluation-and-management

About The Author

Alison is a health writer with ample experience reading and interpreting academic, peer-reviewed research. Based in San Diego, she is published in the journal PLOS Genetics and the Journal of Biological Chemistry and has been a copywriter for SmartBug media. With a master’s degree in biochemistry from the University of California, Davis, she has nearly a decade of academic research experience in life sciences. She enjoys helping people cut through the noise to understand the bigger picture about sleep and health. Alison likes to stay active with rock climbing, hiking, and walking her dog.

  • Position: Stomach sleeper
  • Temperature: Neutral Sleeper
  • Chronotype: Bear

What is the Ideal Sleep Environment and Conditions for Quality Sleep?

Disclaimer – Nothing on this website is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment… Read More Here.

The connection between sleep environment and quality of sleep is closely related. To get a good night’s sleep, you need to be in an environment conducive to sleep, which means having the right conditions and creating an environment that is dark, quiet, and cool.


Bedroom Elements That Affect Sleep Quality

How to Design the Ideal Bedroom for Sleep

Research shows that optimizing everything from wall color to room temperature in your sleep environment can have a big effect on your sleep quality by helping you fall asleep faster and stay asleep until the morning.
So, what is the optimal sleep environment for quality sleep then? Read on as we cover every element of the ideal bedroom environment.

NavigationBedroom Elements That Affect Sleep Quality

How to Design the Ideal Bedroom for Sleep

Bedroom Elements That Affect Sleep Quality

Science shows us that a bad sleep environment can result in sleep deprivation and sleep disorders1, which can ultimately lead to health complications like obesity, diabetes, hypertension, stroke, and mortality. The environmental conditions that affect the quality of sleep include:

  1. Sleeping temperature
  2. Noise
  3. Lights
  4. Mattress and bedding quality
  5. Wall and furniture colors
  6. Clutter in the room
  7. Scents in the bedroom
  8. Air quality
  9. Electronics

1. The ideal sleeping temperature

The temperature of the sleeping area can affect your quality of sleep. A bedroom that is too hot or cold will not allow you to fall asleep, stay asleep, and wake up feeling refreshed.

Adjust your heating or cooling to find a temperature that works best for you. The best temperature for sleep is between 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit (15.6-19 degrees Celsius). If you don’t have air conditioning, you can leave the window open to allow the fresh air to cool the sleeping area.

The negative effects of having the wrong temperature include struggling to fall and stay asleep. Temperatures that are too high or too low will allow you to fall asleep faster but tend to hinder a deeper, more restorative sleep. This means you may find yourself waking up several times during the night.

2. Noise in the bedroom

The noise in the bedroom can make it difficult to fall asleep. A combination of noises that are too loud will make it difficult for you to fall and stay asleep.

Although some people sleep better in a noisy environment, sleep and sound don’t go well together. An ideal sleeping environment doesn’t have any noise at all. Noise in the sleeping area can come from the outdoors, the street, your neighbors, or even inside the house. You should consider whether there is any noise that’s affecting your quality of sleep and find an appropriate solution.

Noise can be manageable by using earplugs or setting up a white noise machine. If it’s possible, you may even consider changing the location of your bedroom if that will help to minimize noise.

3. Lights in the sleep environment

An ideal sleeping area should have no lights because it will make it difficult to fall asleep. Even if you fall asleep with the lights on, the effects of lights on sleep quality will have you wake up during the night or in the morning, feeling tired and in a bad mood.

The reason you should avoid lights is related to the circadian rhythm, your body’s internal 24-hour clock that manages sleep and wakefulness, and the circadian rhythm’s biggest influence is light. When it’s light out, this tells the body it’s time to be awake and alert. Conversely, darkness tells your body it’s time for sleep, so if your bedroom is as dark as possible, this will help foster sleep.

People afraid of the dark can choose dim light specially designed to not disrupt their sleep. Using a warm-red light bulb for a nightlight can help you reduce your fear of dark rooms while still creating a good sleep environment. You can use blackout shades or curtains to make the sleeping environment dark, especially if your neighborhood is well-lit during the night.

4. Mattress and bedding quality

The ideal sleep environment requires good bedding and a quality mattress because it can make it easier to fall asleep at night. You may struggle to find a comfortable position if the mattress is too soft or firm for your weight and preferred sleeping positions. The quality of the mattress should be consistent with your weight, or the mattress will be uncomfortable. Depending on what you find the most comfortable, you can choose between memory foam, latex, or spring mattresses. It’s important to consider your sleeping position when choosing the right mattress because what works for side sleepers may not be the best for people sleeping on their backs.

You’ll also need to consider the type of sheets and pillows you sleep on since you can utilize these items as well to foster better sleep. Some people run hot at night and can benefit from cooling sheets while others may prefer extra-soft sheets to help them feel more relaxed and cozy.

When it comes to pillows, you need to consider qualities like support and loft and how these correlate to your preferred sleep position. Say, for instance, you’re a stomach sleeper. Rather than having a higher pillow that can put your neck and head at an awkward angle, you’re better off with a flat pillow. Conversely, side and back sleepers are better suited to medium or higher-loft pillows.

5. Colors in the bedroom

An ideal bedroom environment should have calming colors to reduce the stress that can prevent you from falling asleep. According to science2, blue helps lower blood pressure while green promotes calmness. While you may love the idea of covering your bedroom walls in red paint, this color is known to trigger the body’s flight-or-fight response and stimulate the mind, which makes it more difficult to fall asleep.

Additionally, many design experts point to earth tones and neutral palettes3 as great bedroom colors because they, too, promote relaxation. These include colors such as white, cream, gray, brown, and black.

6. Clutter in the bedroom

Clutter in the environment will make it difficult for you to sleep. It’s best to remove all the clutter from your bedroom because it can cause stress and anxiety4 that disrupt your sleep. Clutter can consist of clothes, toys, books, or personal items. Not only will clutter make it difficult for you to fall asleep at night, but it can also increase stress in your life. Too much clutter can make you nervous once you wake up, causing you to dread spending time in your bedroom. You should only keep the things you use daily in your bedroom and remove everything that can cause stress.

Think about what items don’t belong in the bedroom. The only things that should be on your nightstand are the items you use before bed, such as a book or alarm clock. The rest you can store somewhere else to create a calm and relaxing sleeping environment. Try to find a place for every item so that the environment in your bedroom is more suitable for sleeping.

7. Scents in the bedroom

The right scent can help you fall asleep faster, but a bad smell can keep you up. Bad smells can make it difficult to fall asleep, so it’s important to know how scents can affect sleep. Citrus scents and heavy perfumes can irritate you and keep you up without you even realizing it. Some scents may even give you a headache or make you nauseous if you spend too much time in the room. A bad smell in the room can wake you up at some point during the night.

The best smell for sleeping is lavender because it has calming effects5 that help you sleep. The scent of lavender reduces your stress hormones, helping you calm down and relax before bedtime. You can buy an essential oil diffuser or place dried lavender in the room to create a calming and soothing sleeping environment. Chamomile and peppermint oils are good choices if you don’t have lavender. Both can help you relax and sleep better.

8. Air quality of the sleep environment

The air quality of the sleeping area can help you sleep better or prevent you from sleeping at all. Bad air quality can make it difficult to sleep at night. It can make it difficult for you to breathe, resulting in headaches, nausea, coughing, and sneezing.

Things that affect the sleeping area’s air quality are bedroom cleanliness and outside air quality. The cleanliness of your room is important because dust and other particles in the air can irritate you when trying to fall asleep. The quality of the air outside is crucial if you leave the window open while sleeping. If it’s bad, it can result in dust and smoke entering from the outside.

The best thing you can do for better sleep conditions in your bedroom is clean it regularly. Vacuum any dust in the room and remove loose dirt by using a damp cloth to wipe down objects in the room. You should replace or wash your bedding weekly or every two weeks. Ventilate the room regularly to allow fresh air in, control the humidity, and change your AC filter regularly.

9. Electronics in the Sleeping Environment

You should keep electronics in the sleeping environment to a minimum if you want better sleep. All electronics should be off at least one hour before bedtime. TV, computers, cell phones, and even alarm clocks can all interfere with your sleep by giving off light that keeps you up. Light from these devices simulates sunlight, which keeps you up at night by indicating to your brain that it is daytime. If you need an alarm clock in your bedroom, choose an old-school one that doesn’t emit any light. All electronics can affect sleep quality and will disturb your sleep if you use them in the room before bedtime.

How to Design the Ideal Bedroom Environment for Sleep

Improving your sleep environment is easy. Follow these steps to create the perfect bedroom for sleep:

  • Remove all work items from the bedroom. If you are limited in space and need to work in your bedroom, use a room divider to keep your workspace separate from where your bed is.
  • Choose walls and furniture that come in blue, green, neutral, or earth tones.
  • If you want to use a nightlight, choose one with a red hue.
  • Use blackout curtains to keep out light from outside or wear a sleep mask.
  • Reduce noise pollution, either by using a white noise machine or earplugs.
  • Remove clutter to prevent additional stress.
  • Regularly clean your bedroom to prevent dust from accumulating.
  • Keep electronics away, including cell phones, laptops, and tablets. Notifications and blue light from these devices can keep you alert.
  • Have a comfortable mattress.
  • Invest in comfortable pillows and sheets.
  • Set your bedroom thermostat between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Use a diffuser with a lavender scent.

Last Word of Advice

There are many elements you have to consider when creating a bedroom environment that’s ideal for sleep. From the color of the wall and the temperature of the room to the mattress you use and more, incorporating the tips we’ve covered in this article could help you achieve more restful sleep.

A final tip to remember, though, is that you don’t have to do everything all at once. Rather, you can take it one step at a time. For example, if you’re not ready to invest in a new mattress or blackout curtains, you can start by removing any work products, cleaning your bedroom, and keeping the room cool at night.


  1. Johnson PhD, Dayna A., Billings MD, Martha E., Hale PhD, Lauren. “Environmental Determinants of Insufficient Sleep and Sleep Disorders: Implications for Population Health”. Current Epidemiology Reports. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6033330/. 2018.
  2. Kurt, Sevinc., Osueke, Kelechi Kingsley. “The Effects of Color on the Moods of College Students”. SAGE Journals. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2158244014525423. 2014.
  3. Bennett, Jessica. “16 Neutral Bedroom Color Concepts for a Restful Retreat”. Better Homes & Gardens. https://www.bhg.com/rooms/bedroom/color-scheme/neutral-colored-bedrooms/#:~:text=Bedrooms%20are%20intended%20for%20relaxing,to%20achieve%20a%20restful%20look. 2022.
  4. Saxbe, Darby E., Repetti, Rena. “No Place Like Home: Home Tours Correlate With Daily Patterns of Mood and Cortisol”. SAGE Journals. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0146167209352864. 2009.
  5. “The smell of lavender is relaxing, science confirms”. Frontiers. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/10/181023085648.htm. 2018.

Jill Zwarensteyn


Jill Zwarensteyn is the editor for Sleep Advisor and a certified sleep science coach. She is enthusiastic about providing helpful and engaging information on all things sleep and wellness.

Based in Los Angeles, she is an experienced writer and journalist who enjoys spending her free time at the beach, hiking, reading, or exploring new places around town.

She’s also an avid traveler who has a personal goal of being able to successfully sleep on an airplane someday.

Sleep phases: what they are, what they affect and how to get enough sleep

. Doctors say

Updated on September 12, 2022, 14:44


Human sleep is cyclical and consists of phases. Each of them is responsible for certain functions – from the development of cognitive skills to general health. When the body has gone through all the phases in a dream, in the morning we feel cheerfulness and a surge of strength. Lack or disturbance of sleep, on the contrary, worsens well-being, affects memory and the ability to think clearly, and chronic sleep deprivation is fraught with serious neurological disorders. We understand what sleep hygiene is and in which phase it is better to wake up in order to feel good.


  1. What is the sleep phase
  2. What are the
  3. How to get enough sleep: the rules
  4. How to control

What is sleep phase


In sleep, a person restores the balance between the neuronal centers of the brain

The sleep phase is one of the stages in the sleep cycle, characterized by a certain activity of brain neurons, changes in muscle tone and eye movements. During the night, a person sequentially goes through two phases – fast (REM) and slow (NREM), which, in turn, consists of three stages. Phases and stages follow each other, forming a cycle of up to about 110 minutes each.

The sequence of these stages in healthy people is the same, but their quality and duration vary. This is due to many factors: age, gender, bad habits, stress levels, medications and diseases, including provoking frequent awakenings – sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome (RLS).

Vladislav SinitsynPhD, neurologist “SM-Clinic” in Ivanovo

“The physiology of sleep is not fully understood. It is a dynamic process that affects almost every system in the body, from the brain to metabolism and immunity. Among the main mechanisms that determine sleep, the following are distinguished.

  • Circadian rhythms. This is just one of the varieties of biorhythms that, in the context of sleep, determine the mode of wakefulness and night rest. The periods of the circadian rhythm can vary significantly from person to person. Some go to bed early and get enough sleep early in the morning, others go late and cannot get up early. Correction of the biological clock is carried out in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of the anterior lobe of the hypothalamus, which is located above the optic chiasm of the brain. For example, some people with CCN damage sleep erratically during the day because they cannot match their circadian rhythms to the light-dark cycle [1].
  • ** Melatonin ** – sleep hormone. Its concentration gradually increases with the onset of twilight, reaching a maximum by four or five in the morning. Then its level slowly decreases, and the person wakes up. Even dim lighting at first glance can delay the synthesis of melatonin and thus disrupt sleep.
  • Autonomic nervous system (ANS). When the sympathetic component of the ANS predominates, the metabolism is accelerated, falling asleep is difficult, and sleep is disturbed. The parasympathetic nervous system helps the body prepare for rest. In different people with different types of higher nervous activity, the ANS works differently.

With age, sleep performance changes: its duration decreases, it becomes fragmented, and the slow phase is reduced. Thus, the sleep characteristic changes even if there are no health problems.

Daytime sleep at any age is not equivalent to nighttime sleep. Melatonin is produced only at night, during the day our body has a higher temperature, which also affects sleep. In addition, it can exacerbate health problems, as the body does not fully implement the recovery program.

What are the phases of sleep


Phases and stages of sleep alternate in a certain sequence

First comes the slow phase, followed by a shorter period of the fast phase. Then everything is repeated, a total of four to six times a night. The slow phase consists of three stages, which are replaced in turn, and one of them, the second, is repeated twice. A typical sequence of stages and phases looks like this: N1, N2, N3, N2, REM [2].

Stages of non-REM sleep

  • N1 – the shortest period of falling asleep, which lasts from one to five minutes. The body is not yet completely relaxed, while the heartbeat and breathing begin to slow down. It’s easy to wake someone up.
  • N2 – a person spends almost half of his sleep in it. It is characterized by a slowing of breathing, a decrease in body temperature and a complete cessation of eye movements. At this stage, the brain is most actively processing memories, translating them into long-term memory. This is how we remember what we have learned.
  • N3 – during this period, the main rest and recovery of the body occurs, including the strengthening of immunity and other functions [3]. Stage N3 is the stage of deep sleep, so waking up a person going through this phase is the most difficult.

Vladislav Sinitsin:

“If you interrupt your sleep in the slow phase, then, in addition to worsening your general well-being, your concentration will be disturbed, irritability will appear, and your working capacity will decrease.

REM sleep

The first time it occurs not earlier than an hour and a half after the person fell asleep. With each new cycle, its duration increases. In total, REM sleep takes up 25-30% of the time. It is in the fast phase that a person sees dreams and develops key cognitive skills, such as learning or creativity [4]. On the advice of experts, it is impossible to artificially shorten the fast phase, since the body is preparing for awakening and vigorous activity, the connection between consciousness and physiological processes in the brain is turned on.

How to get enough sleep by sleep phases: rules


Changing the basic characteristics of sleep phases can affect thinking, mood and overall health

We cannot fully control our sleep cycles, but there are steps we can take to improve the quality of our sleep. Sleep Hygiene is a set of simple rules that will help you fall asleep and sleep better.

Lada OleksenkoExpert of the Children-Butterflies Foundation, psychiatrist, State Budgetary Healthcare Institution of the Moscow Region “LCCH”

“The following recommendations should be followed.

  • Melatonin, which is produced only in complete darkness, is responsible for the quality of sleep. There should not be any light sources in the bedroom – a night lamp, light from a lantern in the window, a TV turned on, etc.
  • The body prepares for sleep gradually, so in the evening you need to reduce physical activity and limit the use of gadgets to calm the nervous system.
  • It is desirable to go to bed and get up at the same time, even on weekends and holidays. This is the key to healthy sleep in accordance with biological rhythms.
  • Ventilate the room. The optimum temperature in the room is +18 °C.
  • It makes sense to abstain from alcohol and smoking before going to bed. The latter, according to doctors, is a sure way to insomnia. Caffeine also impairs falling asleep and interferes with deep sleep.
  • Look after the bed. Use comfortable mattress, blanket, pillows and bedding. Change them regularly, avoid synthetic materials.

How to control sleep phases

Vladislav Sinitsyn:

“Today, there are technologies that help determine what phase of sleep a person is in, as well as identify its quality. For this, an electroencephalogram (EEG) is used, which shows the difference in brain activity. In addition, in order to sleep correctly in phases, you can use the options of various sleep calculators and specialized mobile applications. But in them, as a rule, the average rate and duration are calculated: 70% – slow sleep, 30% – fast. It is impossible to increase one phase of sleep at the expense of another. But, following the general rules, you can prolong slow sleep.

Lada Oleksenko:

“To feel alert and rested, you need to wake up in the fast phase. The reliability of various gadgets that calculate the wake-up time is no more than 80%. You can do it yourself. For example, during the week go to bed at the same time, and get up at different times. So, by your own feelings, you can understand in which of the phases you woke up. After that, you can calculate how many minutes you have in one cycle and how many of them you pass per night.


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Nadezhda Gurina

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Do you scratch your heels?

– Is this the same reflex that Academician Ivan Pavlov spoke about?

– Yes, he studied conditioned reflexes, and this is one of them. It is produced for a certain time, the situation of the bedroom. Its formation is prevented by active mental or physical work before bedtime. Because of it, a person cannot switch, and the reflex does not work. The same goes for taking stimulants before bed. This is coffee, strong tea, plentiful food, alcohol. Although the latter has some peculiarities. In small doses, on the contrary, it has a calming effect, and in large doses, it excites and disrupts the structure of sleep. Watching TV in bed, working with a tablet, smartphone and other gadgets negatively affects.

– There is a lot of talk these days about the effects of radiation from such devices.

“It has to do with blue light, it dominates the radiation from their screens. Cyan and blue spectra suppress the production of melatonin more than others. This substance is very important for sleep, it helps us switch to night mode. In an experiment, it was shown that working with a tablet for 40 minutes reduces the production of melatonin by 20%. In another study, people with insomnia were helped to fall asleep by wearing amber-tinted glasses before bed, which block out blue light and thus promote the production of melatonin. Similar experiments have not been performed in healthy people, but it can be assumed that such an effect will appear in them too.

– They also advise completely darkening the bedroom, they even produce special curtains that absolutely do not let light through.

“That’s not bad, but for the effect it’s enough to limit only cyan and blue colors.

– How important is the mandatory use of air humidifiers, salt lamps, special pillows, mattresses, magnesium supplements? All this is advised by biohackers.

– The positive effect on sleep of everything that you have listed has not been proven in studies. The main thing is to be comfortable in bed during sleep. Are ordinary bedding enough for this? Great. The temperature and humidity of the air should also be just comfortable. If the air seems very dry to some, a humidifier can be used. From what has been studied in experiments and had a positive effect, we can recall the warming of the limbs. The use of a heating pad, especially by the elderly, may improve the process of falling asleep. Rhythmic stimulation of the skin has the same effect. It can be both a massage and the use of special devices, they are produced today. So scratching your heels – remember, in “Dead Souls” Korobochka suggested Chichikov to scratch his heels before going to bed – it works!

Know your phase

– Today there is a lot of talk about the phases of sleep, the importance of deep sleep and the need to wake up only when the sleep is superficial. In order to wake up in the right phase, they even release fitness trackers and other gadgets.

– All this is really important, but studies show that the accuracy of even the best fitness trackers does not exceed 80%. So focusing on them when assessing the quality of sleep is not very reliable. But in general, I welcome such devices because they encourage people to pay more attention to their sleep. And this is really important.

– Is it possible to somehow adapt to your sleep phases and wake up when the dream is superficial, without any gadgets?

– You can, using the basic property of sleep – its cyclicity. During the cycle, all phases of sleep are replaced – first comes superficial, then deep, and ends again with superficial sleep. This is repeated with amazing frequency, the average duration of such a cycle is an hour and a half. Most people go through 4-5 such cycles per night. But there are variations: for some, the short phase can be as little as 1 hour and 20 minutes, for others it can last up to 1 hour and 35 minutes. For each person, the duration of the phase is individual and fairly constant. Anyone can calculate their cycle more accurately than any gadgets to wake up in a light sleep phase. To do this, during the week you need to go to bed strictly at the same hours, and when you get up, you need to immediately fix the time and assess your condition. When you felt unrested and overwhelmed when you got out of bed, you most likely skipped the phase of superficial sleep and woke up when the dream was deep. On those days when you woke up easily and felt good, you woke up in the phase of superficial sleep. Having estimated how much time you slept on such a night, you can calculate the duration of your personal cycle, given that it is in the interval 80–95 minutes. Knowing it, you can always calculate how long to set the alarm to sleep 4, 5 or 6 cycles and wake up in the light sleep phase. Since the optimal sleep time is at least 7 hours and no more than 9, this number of cycles approximately fits into this framework.

Research shows that it is possible to reduce total sleep time without compromising sleep quality. Since there is usually not enough time in our rhythm of life, this can be used. In the experiment, people slept 2 times a day for about 3 hours. In total, it turned out about 6 hours, which is an hour less than the minimum recommended 7 hours. This made it possible to increase the duration of the deep sleep phase, which is very important in order to get a good night’s sleep.

Source: AiF