Lucid Dreaming and the 5 Stages of Sleep

lucid dreaming and the 5 stages of sleep

By  Kerry McGlone

Guest Writer for Wake Up World

Although we all do it, many people are unaware of exactly what sleep is, and the many stages of sleep that occur in the healthy cycle of sleep we experience of a night time. Let me tell you: the cycle of sleep is very interesting, and it is essential knowledge for anyone who wants to have lucid dreams. It is also a good foundation if you want to have a greater comprehension of the theories behind lucid dreaming.

The typical person will experience five stages of sleep each night. It takes approximately 90 minutes to pass through all five stages of sleep. According to my mathematics, if a typical person has roughly 8 hours of sleep, then they should also experience five cycles of sleep.

That being said, not everyone will experience the same sleeping pattern. In fact, each individual will have a varied sleeping pattern to correlate many factors of their body, such as weight, health, etc. and hence it is not uncommon for people to sleep longer or have longer dreams than other people. It simply depends on the circumstances of each person.

Let’s explore the  five main stages of sleep  more thoroughly, shall we?

The First Stage: Light Sleep

So you’ve made it to the first stage. Stage one of sleep is considered to be the transition from being awake and being asleep. This stage is when you’re sleeping, but are extremely sensitive and can be easily awoken. )You know when the television is going, and you dream about what you hear? – this is exactly the stage you’re in). As a result, you may experience some mild twitching and jerking which will make you vulnerable to waking up. You can have hypnagogic hallucinations (hallucinations right before you sleep); you may see patterns and other peaceful things that put your mind at ease as you progress to the next stage of sleep.

This stage of sleep will last roughly 5-10 minutes, and if awoken, it might be reported that no sleep actually occurred – which is technically a lie!

The Second Stage: Heavier Sleep

Convenient, huh? This stage may sound obvious, but there’s more detail to come. This stage is where you begin to lose all your muscle control, and therefore your body enters a paralysis stage in order for you to not act out your dreams. Who wants to be a victim of a serious nightmare you’re having? Not me!

You will spend roughly half of your time in this sleeping stage, and you will not dream throughout it. This also means your brainwaves have become far slower than before, however sudden bursts of higher brainwave activity may occur which can wake you up unexpectedly. This stage of sleep will last approximately 20 minutes.

The Third Stage: Slow Wave Sleep

You are now entering into a deeper sleeping state. This is also known as a Slow Wave Sleep stage. If you are awoken from this stage of sleep, you can expect to become slightly confused, and feel dim-witted for several minutes. Let’s face it – we’ve all experienced this! Additionally, your brainwaves have inclined to the lowest frequency you’ll experience of the five stages of sleep. This means those in this stage of sleep will be less likely to wake up to any noise that occurs. With that being said, this stage is once again a dreamless stage, but is also the stage when activities like sleepwalking will occur.

The Fourth Stage: Deepest Slow Wave Sleep

Stage four is considered to be the deepest of Slow Wave Sleep you will experience throughout the five stages of sleep. This stage will restore your energy in both physical and mental senses. Have you experienced a lot of stress and exhausted as a result? This is where stage four of sleep comes in handy. If you aren’t in this stage for a long period of time, or continue to wake up in this stage, your body will not feel refreshed and you may remain tired throughout the upcoming day. This is why it is crucial to acquire a healthy and consistent sleeping pattern of a night time. This stage of sleep can last up to 30 minutes.

The Fifth Stage: REM Sleep

We have finally reached the dreaming stage of sleep! The most exciting part of sleep – the part we all look forward to before we go to sleep. Firstly, it should be mentioned that REM stands for Rapid Eye Movement, which means exactly what it sounds like. This is the stage where you will experience dreaming, having emerged from the deeper stages of sleeping. The good thing about this stage of sleep is that, if you are awoken for some reason, you can return to this stage if you return to sleep. Not only does this stage of sleep result in dreams, but it is also important healthy for the health of your brain and ability to store long-term memory.

And most importantly – this stage of sleeping is where you will experience your lucid dreams!

Sweet Dreams

In conclusion, the average person will experience five full cycles as they sleep at night. We all enter into a light sleeping stage and then experience the REM stage of sleep. Unfortunately the REM stage is remarkably short initially, however with lucid dreaming, can increase as you progress – you may sleep a higher number of cycles of sleep (the typical person will endure five cycles) and cycles can last up to one hour or more.

If you would like more information, you are more than welcome to visit me at

Sweet dreams!

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About the author:

Kerry McGlone is a lucid dream enthusiast dedicated to learning and experiencing the great mysteries dreams can bring. As a result of her efforts, she has decided to connect with other enthusiasts and educate those who want to attain lucidity for the first time. Kerry runs a website called Dream Lucidly, which discusses and explains many mysteries which dreams bring. Lucid dreaming has enhanced her life, as well as many others.

For more information, visit


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