Let’s start learning about deep sleep, when you are asleep, your body goes through three non-regular eye movements (NREM) and then one rapid eye movement (REM) phase. The process usually takes 90 minutes to 120 minutes to go through all four steps. After that, the cycle starts again.
Adults usually have between 4-6 cycles every night. In the first part of the night, you are more likely to sleep in NREM sleep. But as the night progresses, you’ll be spending more and more time in REM sleep.
- Stage 1: Your breathing and heart rate slow down during this brief, drowsy stage before you go to sleep.
- Stage 2: Your heart rate and breathing slow down. Your body temperature decreases, and your muscles relax. During each cycle of the night, you spend more time in Stage 2. According to studies, at least half of your three hours of sleep each night is spent in this stage.
- Stage 3: At this stage of the sleep cycle, brain waves are at their slowest frequency and highest amplitude, representing the deepest sleep of the cycle
- REM: The name REM comes from the rapid movement of your eyes beneath your eyelids during REM sleep. During REM sleep, the brain is similarly active as it is when awake. Although you do not move, the activity is still similar. Research suggests that most dreams occur during REM sleep.
What Is Deep Sleep?
3rd-stage sleep is characterized by deep sleep. During deep sleep, the brain produces long, slow waves known as delta waves. The frequency of these waves is 0.5 to 2 Hertz, and they must occupy at least 6 seconds of a 30-second window in order to be classified as deep sleep.
Typically, you go to complete sleep in the first hour after being asleep.
You will have shorter, and the deepest sleep occurs within an hour of falling asleep, and as the night progresses, the deepest sleep becomes shorter and shorter. Automatic body functions like breathing and heart rate are also very slow at this stage, and your muscles are relaxed. Wake up can be difficult for someone, and waking up from deep sleep can leave you feeling mentally foggy for an hour or more.
Deep Sleep: How Much Sleep Do You Need?
You need more healthy sleep as you get younger. Newborns need a lot of sleep, and as children grow, their sleep requirements decrease.
The below list is reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
|Newborn||0–3 months||14–17 hours|
|Infant||4–12 months||12–16 hours|
|Toddler||1–2 years||11–14 hours|
|Preschool||3–5 years||10–13 hours|
|School Age||6–12 years||9–12 hours|
|Teen||13–18 years||8–10 hours|
|Adult||18–60 years||7 or more hours|
|61–64 years||7–9 hours|
|65 years +||7–8 hours|
Why Is Deep Sleep Important?
All stages of sleep are necessary for good health, but deep sleep offers specific physical and mental benefits. Your body releases growth hormones and repairs muscles, bones, and tissues while you sleep. In addition, deep sleep may help regulate glucose metabolism, and it helps athletes replenish their energy stores, which is why deep sleep is valuable.
- Throughout the day, you receive information inputs that help your brain’s synapses or communication points flourish.
- A good night’s sleep is important to cognitive function and memory, and it is also believed to play a role in language learning, motor skills, and brain activity.
- It has been suggested that deep sleep prepares your synapses for the next day. As a result, your brain evaluates new memories and only retains and consolidates the ones that are relevant to avoid oversaturating memory paths.
- There is some evidence suggesting that after learning a new task, people are more likely to obtain deep sleep and show higher concentrations of slow waves in areas of the brain linked to the task.
- After a good night’s sleep, you are better equipped to absorb new information and adapt to a new environment.
Increase your deep sleep with these tips
Deep sleep is likely to be increased by heat. Spending time in a sauna or taking a hot bath before bed may improve your healthy sleep quality.
Although more research is needed in this area, a low-carb diet or certain antidepressants may also promote deep sleep.
A good night’s sleep can also increase deep sleep.
Here are a few tips:
- You should establish a bedtime schedule in which you wake up and go to bed simultaneously each day.
- Exercise regularly, for about 20 to 30 minutes each day. (It is good to work out every day, just avoid exercising before bedtime.)
- Drink water and other decaffeinated drinks before bedtime. Nicotine, alcohol, and caffeine may make it harder to sleep at night.
- Read a book or take a bath before bedtime to relax after a long day.
- Keep your bedroom dark and quiet. Don’t spend too much time watching TV or using the computer.
- Don’t spend too much time lying in bed tossing and turning. Get up and do light activities, like reading, until you feel tired again.
- Consider replacing them if you have been using your pillows for over a year and cannot get comfortable.
Signs You May Not Be Getting Enough Deep Sleep
The signs that you aren’t sleeping enough include:
- Feeling unrefreshed and sleepy
- A decrease in alertness and concentration Reduced alertness and attention
- Learning difficulties and the formation of new memories
- Cravings for high-calorie foods
The right time to see a doctor
About 70 million people in the U.S. suffer from sleep disorders ranging from sleep apnea to sleep onset insomnia and restless legs syndromes, as well as Narcolepsy.
If you are worried about your sleeping patterns or suffer from one of these conditions, you should make an appointment with your family physician or a sleep specialist if you are asked to participate in the study.