What is deep sleep and why it is important?
Do you seem to feel tired even after sleeping for the recommended 7-9 hours at night? Then you are not getting enough deep sleep.
Sleep experts suggest getting enough deep sleep is beneficial for your overall well-being.
Consider taking the necessary steps to enjoy more deep sleep because
it boosts your immune system,
it replenishes bodily cells, restores energy
it aids the body repair process.
it increases blood supply
Remember, deep sleep should constitute 10-20 percent of your night-time sleep.
What are the stages of sleep?
The definition of sleep constitutes 2 main states which are
REM (Rapid Eye Movement) state
NREM (non-REM) states:
Stage 3 (Deep Sleep)
Stage 4 (Deep Sleep)
Both REM an NREM sleep states are crucial for the body rejuvenation. The first four sleep stages are NREM ones (or slow-wave sleep) – they finally lead to REM sleep.
Surely, we start with Stage 1, which is followed by Stage 2 and Deep Sleep (Stage 3 and 4).
But we do not transit from here to REM Sleep. Instead, we return to Stage 3, 2 and 1 before we go to the REM sleep phase.
This is our first cycle and we need 4-5 cycles per night.
During your quest for improving your sleep quality, understanding the varied sleep stages and cycles helps a lot.
We have already seen that both the REM and NREM stages comprise sleep. Moreover, all sleep is not equal. The body wades through different sleep stages during the night.
Let’s see those stages one by one.
Sleep is light during the first stage which lasts several minutes as you move from being awake to being asleep. The body starts to relax to prepare you for the subsequent phases.
Your eyes move sluggishly and you may perceive some jerks or spasms or a falling sensation
If you wake up from Stage 1, you will not feel rested at all
You are easily disturbed by noises or disruptions
Normally, humans remain in Stage 2 sleep for 40-60% of their entire sleep time. People do not wake up frequently during Phase 2.
Your eye movement stops
Your brain waves start slowing down as you enter a deeper sleep phase
Your body temperature drops
Sleep researchers say Stage 2 has two types of brain waves:
K complexes are large brain waves that are induced by noises in your surroundings or other stimuli.
Spindles are short bursts of brain activity that reduce speedily. Sleep spindles revitalize our brains and increase our readiness to learn.
Stages 3 and 4 (Deep Sleep)
What is deep sleep? The most restorative slow-wave sleep occurs through Stage 3 and 4: these stages are considered the deep-sleep ones or slow-wave sleep, delta waves are very slow during this phase. Also, awakening a person from Stage 3 is not easy.
We stay in Stage 3 for lesser time than Stage 2. Indeed, the majority of adults spend around 5-15% of their total sleep time in this phase. Stage 3 is integral for our good health and we only need a small amount of Phase 3 sleep waves for our wellbeing.
As you follow good sleep habits, you should increase your time in deep sleep.
What is REM Sleep? Why is rem sleep important?
An active sleep condition befits the description of REM sleep definition. Also, most of your dreaming occurs during the rapid eye movement (REM) phase.
Your eyes move from side to side rapidly.
If you wake up during this phase, you can recall your dreams.
Your muscles become paralyzed.
Your heart rate, body temperature and respiration process becomes irregular.
Sleep apnea occurs during the REM stage.
During our sleep escapades, we keep transiting the varied sleep phases. The science of sleep includes us passing through many sleep cycles at night, with each sleep cycle lasting between 90 to 110 minutes. The first deep sleep cycle of humans is within the 45 to 90 minutes range and then your sleep cycles start shortening from thereon.
Frequently asked questions about sleep
What happens when you don’t get enough deep sleep?
Your brain processes information slower
You will fee exhausted
It is linked to conditions, like: Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, stroke
How much REM sleep should you get?
Experiencing five to six REM cycles per night is the norm. Also, the REM stages tend to increase during the course of sleep. Thus, you may remember your dreams clearly when you are awake the following day.
When you’re woken up mid-REM, you may remember your dream, but you’ll feel sluggish due to the incomplete cycle. Now, even though REM sleep constitutes only one-fourth of your daily sleep, this sleep phase is vital.
Does everyone dream?
Everybody dreams, although not everybody remembers their dreams.
How long does it take to fall asleep?
A Stanford researcher named William C. Dement’s study found that, on average, it takes between 10 and 20 minutes to fall asleep.
After 90 minutes of falling into sleep and following the first 3 NREM stages, the body goes into the second sleep state that is the REM one.
How much sleep do I need?
For effective cognitive functioning, both getting adequate deep sleep and REM sleep are vital.
Are you wondering how much deep sleep you should get? The amount of sleep that you need depends on your age and activity levels.
Normally, the doctors suggest getting around 7 to 9 hours of sleep for enjoying the revitalizing benefits of deep sleep. You should enjoy good sleep upon following a consistent schedule. When you do so, your hormone production is optimal and circadian rhythm remains steady.
How to increase deep sleep?
We spend more time in NREM sleep as compared to REM sleep, but both are equally important. If you want to know about how to get deeper sleep, one of the best ways to sleep better and deeper is adhering to a regular sleep schedule.
The importance of quality sleep is not to be undermined – lack of sleep can affect your life adversely.
So, here are some handy tips for getting quality deep sleep.
1. Maintain a Sleep-Friendly Diet Regime
People who consumed a diet high in added sugars had a greater risk of developing insomnia, a new study from Columbia University has found. Whose diet included higher amounts of vegetables, fiber, and whole fruit were less likely to develop sleeping problems.
Further, you must avoid consuming certain foods which include vegetable oils, grains, and sugary varieties.
2. Set the Ideal Room Temperature
The ideal temperature for falling asleep is between 65 and 68 degrees. Surely, you know that if the temperature is too hot or cold, you’re unable to sleep. So, avoid piling on blankets to setting your thermostat to lower temperatures.
3. Deep sleep music for insomnia
Consider going for a salt bath an hour before bedtime to prepare your body for sleep. Unwind with a good book or soothing deep sleep music while in the bathtub.
Also try listening to sleep music deep sleeping music like Jason Stephenson deep relaxing sleep music (3 hours) for enhancing your deep sleep patterns.
4. Get Enough Sunlight
Soaking in the sun for 30 minutes a day is the general recommendation for getting deep sleep during the night. By doing so, you can also improve vitamin-D synthesis in your body.
Exposing yourself to sunlight heightens the serotonin levels in your body as well. And, in turn, you can improve your melatonin (a hormone that induces sleep) levels at night.
5. Use a Weighted Blanket
People ailing from sensory issues (such as ADHD and Autism) are recommended to use weighted blankets. Nonetheless, to relax your body, their use is recommended by the medical fraternity for healthy individuals as well.
If you feel restless at night or are unable to sleep, a weighted blanket helps for the body relaxation while inducing sleep. In fact, over the years, weighted blankets have become ragingly popular for their relaxation benefits.
6. Try Hypnosis
If you want to know how to get deep sleep, then pursuing hypnosis before going to bed is another good way of improving your deep sleep quality.
As per a study by the University of Fribourg in Switzerland in the year 2014, the participants who listened to deep sleep hypnosis music remained in deep sleep for over 80 percent than others who did not listen to the records.
7. Engage in Stretching Exercises
A great way to relax your muscles is to stretch the body. So stretching the body keeps the muscles relaxed and helps you to sleep deeply.
8. Drink up
In general, the doctors advise keeping the body hydrated by drinking enough water throughout the way. However, avoid sipping water 2 hours before bed. Then, you do not have to wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. As such, you remain in deep sleep for longer durations.
9. Follow a Regular Sleep Pattern
For a regular hormone cycle, you must sleep and wake up around the same time every day. This rule is applicable for weekends too.
10. Reduce Exposure to Computer Blue Light
To sleep better, reducing your exposure to blue light emitted by electronics is the way forward. Several software programs are available that help to reduce blue light. Simply download on all your devices to minimize your contact with blue light.
Also, switch off all your electronics 60 to 90 minutes before retiring for the night. Simply put, avoid watching television or using your cell-phone. This is important to avoid exposure to artificial blue light, having short wavelengths.
Through the day, blue light boosts energy levels. Though, during the night the blue light radiations can be over-stimulating and are best avoided. More so, blue light disturbs your circadian rhythm and minimizes melatonin production.
11. Meditation helps
After a long day a work, indulging in meditation alleviates stress. By reducing your stress levels, you can have a good night’s sleep and feel fresh the following day. More so, listening to deep sleep meditation music tunes before sleeping is perfect to improve your time while in deep sleep.
As per the National Institutes of Health, following an exercise regime for 30 minutes per day and 5 days a week can work wonders for the body. Though avoid over-exercising or you could face sleep difficulties, including Insomnia.
Instead, opt for low-impact exercises such as cycling, swimming, and walking during the initial days. Gradually, you can increase the intensity of your workouts.
Exercising is also beneficial because the body releases the ‘feel-good’ hormones or endorphins. In turn, you can keep depression and other mental health problems at bay. So, in all, you have a win-win situation. Only remember to not exceed your body exertion limits for optimal benefits.
13. Your Mattress Matters
A comfortable mattress is an important requisite for quality sleep. Conduct research on the different types and, also, talk to your doctor during your mattress purchases and choose suitable ones. Besides, opt for organic mattresses and other bedding material for the breathability aspects.
Sleep more, live more
In a nutshell, you have to follow a healthy lifestyle overall if looking to enhance the quality of your sleep. Consuming a healthy diet and practicing a regular exercise regime are some requisites.
More so, you can take other measures an hour before bedtime such as taking salt baths and listening to soothing music as you start preparing your body for sleep.