What Does Normal Sleep Look Like?

When it comes to the way we sleep, people often become confused. Nobody really knows whether their sleep is the right amount, or they are not getting enough. This makes many people wonder what a normal amount of sleep per night actually is.

What Does Normal Sleep Look Like?

There are quite a few misunderstandings that put pressure on ourselves to get as much sleep as possible. One of those is the amount we should be getting – roughly around 8 hours for adults.

However, this can change depending on your own lifestyle and habits, and whether you have any underlying issues. 

Not only that, there is a worry that if we do not get enough sleep, we might not reap the benefits that a full night of sleep brings. If you are sleeping well through the night, then you might not be thinking of such terrible woes.

If you are struggling however, anxiety of not sleeping well might be the trigger that is keeping you awake at night, so the cycle continues.

In this article we shall have a look at sleep, and explain what normal sleep looks like.

What Does Normal Sleep Mean?

If we understood about sleep, there is a good chance that a lot of people wouldn’t have so much anxiety over how much sleep they need, and stressing if they are getting enough. 

Normal sleep relates to the fact that we go through certain stages through the sleep cycle that we assume the average person should go through to have a restful night’s sleep. However, it isn’t uncommon for us to lack sleep, especially in today’s technology driven world.

So, even if you are one of the many who struggle to sleep, or are getting plenty of sleep, let’s take a look at the different stages of sleep:

N1 – Stage One

When we first fall to sleep, we enter the first stage which is a very light type of sleep. For example, if you happen to wake up during this time, there is a high chance that you won’t even have realized that you have been asleep at all.

During this time, people may experience hypnic jerks. This is when our arms and legs often make involuntary movements. When this happens, it can wake us up, or other people can see that sleep is on the way.

N2 – Stage Two

When we go through stage one, it is making sure we are ready for stage two, or N2 as it is otherwise known. At this point, it makes up around half of the total sleep time that we have during the night. 

If you happen to wake up during N2, you will know and feel like you have been asleep. It is a little less light than N1.

N3 – Stage 3

N3 takes up around one fifth of the total sleep time, though this becomes less as we age. At this point a person is in deep sleep. In fact, it is the most difficult time to wake a person up (see also ‘How To Wake A Heavy Sleeper‘).

If you haven’t slept for a while, you will find that you spend most of your time in stage 3. This is basically due to having been deprived of sleep. 

Once stage 3 is over, the sleep pattern actually goes back through the cycle of stages and then REM happens (see also ‘What Does REM Sleep Stand For?‘). 


REM sleep is probably the most exciting as we sleep, because this is the time when we dream. It is said that it is quite similar to stage 1 and 2, so it is easy to wake up the person once they are in REM.

However, during REM sleep the brain has a lot of activity going on, hence why dreams usually happen during this stage.

However, scarily this is the stage that most people suffer from sleep paralysis if they are woken up suddenly whilst during REM. This means that the person cannot move for a short period of time.

After REM

Once REM is over, your body will repeat the stages of sleep again. Interestingly, the cycle may not be in the same order as it was before. 

As time goes on and the cycle keeps on going round, a person will spend less time in a deep sleep, and a lot longer in REM sleep. 

When you wake up, have you ever wondered why you sometimes have more than one dream?

What About Getting A Full Night’s Sleep?

You have probably heard that having a full night of uninterrupted sleep is the way to get the right amount of sleep, but in reality, it rarely happens.

What Does Normal Sleep Look Like?

Not only can things wake you up – noises from outside and your partner going to the bathroom – there are other reasons as to why you might not have a full night of sleep without waking up.

Because we experience a number of different stages throughout the night, going through lighter and deeper sleep cycles, it makes sense that we wake up sometimes. The only issue that arises is that sometimes we can’t get back to sleep.

When that happens, reading a book or a magazine can help. Physically getting up out of bed for a moment and accepting the fact that you are now awake, is counterintuitive, but can help as well. Just make sure whatever you do, don’t turn on any electronics as it will stimulate the mind too much.

Once you are awake, the pressure to return to sleep builds, especially if you are not exposed to blue light from devices. Once we fall to sleep, naturally that pressure is reduced. 

Because it lowers, we have a tendency to wake up and then struggle to sleep – sigh! However, because we do not have that same intensity to want to sleep, that is why we can struggle to try and sleep again, or keep waking up when we do. 

So the next time you wake up in the middle of the night and feel wide awake, do not worry about it.

Final Thoughts On Normal Sleep

If you are worried about how sleep works, don’t be. We all go through the stages, and it is very rare, in fact impossible, for us to know what stage we are at.

Sometimes we don’t dream, or at least we can’t remember doing so, and sometimes we have lots of dreams. The next time you catch some Zs, remember that sleep happens, and that the most important thing is to relax.

We actually cannot control the type of amount of sleep we have, or where we are in the sleep cycle when we wake up. The important thing to know is that sleep happened. While it might not be a full 8 hours either, we are all different and each of us needs a different amount of sleeping time due to a variety of factors.

From being active, to having an illness, sometimes we need more or less sleep than another person who is the same age.

However, using an app to track your sleeping patterns can give you peace of mind, plus it is exciting to see what kind of sleep you get and when. They can also help you feel better knowing that the sleep you have is, well, normal.

Hopefully this article has helped you to realize that the sleep you have is normal. Check out the rest of our website for more information on getting a good night’s sleep!

Share Post:

About the author

Easy Sleep Guide

We are a group of individuals who have a fascination, with the world of sleep and dreams. Our website and social media community were created with the purpose of educating and informing our audience about every aspect of sleep. We cover everything from tips to the advancements in sleep technology. Our team, consisting of real life experts works tirelessly to curate top quality content that offers an understanding of sleep related topics. We take pride in being your trusted source, for all things related to sleep providing insights and knowledge to help you achieve an revitalizing sleep experience.

    Comments are closed

    © 2022 Soflyy. All rights reserved.