Light Sleep

Last Updated: January 2, 2019

Definition - What does Light Sleep mean?

Light sleep is a category of sleep patterns that entails stage 1 and stage 2 subsets of the non-rapid eye movement (NREM) phase during circadian rhythm cycles. Many individuals are more susceptible to environmental or tactile sensations including noise, temperature change, and repeated body movements/physical contact during this category of sleep patterns. Light sleep plays an essential role in contributing to the intracellular maintenance and cognitive faculties to promote memory retention.

WorkplaceTesting explains Light Sleep

While light sleep is a physiological function of normal sleep patterns, a lack of scientific knowledge lends questionable value to the health benefits of light sleep. The increasing number of aging populations experience ample time in light sleep phases with markedly less time in rapid eye movement (REM) phase cycles. Many people believe that inadequate deep sleep compromises sleep quality, but light sleep can bolster sleep architecture.

A polysomnogram is a clinical procedure for assessing sleep pattern behaviour and concomitant deviations that might suggest sleep disorders. Sleep technologists use this test for monitoring biorhythms, which covers NREM and REM sleep phases to document variables that correspond with a particular sleep disorder. For instance, sleep apnea can interfere with light sleep where an individual may rouse from sleep due to frequent breathing cessations. A positive airway pressure (PAP) device can help regulate breathing, in turn, facilitating the NREM (light sleep) phase and subsequent REM (deep sleep) phase cycles.

Although the medical community treats light sleep as secondary to aging, it can also carry underlying epidemiological consequences if individuals fail to consult a doctor for proper treatment. Sleep deprivation is a persistent health issue that can result in diabetes, heart disease, hypertension (high blood pressure), obesity, and stroke. In the workplace, sleep disorders lead to an upsurge in accidents/injuries, medical care costs, and productivity loss, placing an economic drain on employers.

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