Solana is engineered for widespread, mainstream use by being energy efficient, lightning fast, and extremely inexpensive. Solana uses proof of stake to validate information and a special innovation called proof of history on top of that that allows it to validate even quicker. That makes it extremely efficient, using energy at the same scale.
The tokens in a stake account must be delegated to a validator. A single stake account can only be delegated to a single validator at any time, so if you want to delegate to different validators you will need to split your tokens between multiple stake accounts.
To stake SOL tokens, SOL tokens in your wallet must first be moved into a stake account. You can create as many stake accounts as you like, and deposit as much or as little SOL into each stake account as you want. Each new stake account has a unique address, and a single wallet can manage or “authorize” many different stake accounts.
Staking rewards are computed and issued once per epoch. To begin earning rewards, you must first wait for two epochs, an epoch is approximately 2 days long. Rewards accrued in a given epoch are issued to all validators and delegators in the first block of the following epoch. Rewards are issued once per epoch and are deposited into the stake account that earned them. Stake rewards are automatically re-delegated as active stake. If the rewards due to a validator or one of their stakes is less than one lamport for a given epoch, reward issuance is deferred until the next epoch in which both would receive at least one lamport.
Tokens can only be withdrawn from a stake account when they are not currently delegated. When a stake account is first un-delegated, it is considered “deactivating” or “cooling down”. Tokens may not be withdrawn from the account until some or all of them have finished deactivating and are considered “inactive” and therefore no longer earning any potential staking rewards. Once the tokens in a stake account are inactive, they can be withdrawn back to your main wallet address or to another address immediately. Tokens in a stake account with a lockup may not be withdrawn until the lockup expires, regardless of the delegation state of that account. Once the lockup expires, undelegated tokens may be withdrawn immediately. There is no action required by the account holder to specifically unlock the account.