Adults usually get about 7-9 hours of sleep, but its quality sometimes matters more than its length. Deep sleep is one of the stages of slow-wave sleep that’s crucial for your well-being. In this article, we’ll discuss what exactly deep sleep is, why it’s essential and how lack of it can negatively affect your body.
DEEP SLEEP WHO?
When we sleep, our body goes through NREM (non–rapid eye movement) and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep stages. During REM sleep, the brain remains highly active, it works in the same way as during wakefulness, processing information received during the day. Slow-wave sleep is a time of complete relaxation. And if you sleep the recommended 7-9 hours a day, but still feel groggy upon waking up, the reason is probably the lack of deep sleep.
During deep sleep stage, your breath and pulse hamper, while muscular tonus (muscle tension) and sensory perceptions become weaker.
It’s difficult to wake somebody up during their deep sleep. Getting out of bed immediately after you’ve been in it, you’ll need a while to come round. Phenomena like talking in your dreams or sleepwalking happen only during this particular stage.
During sleep, various sleep phases alternate in cycles. It's like a rollercoaster: you don't get into a deep sleep just once; you experience it several times. Generally, deep sleep takes a quarter of each night, lasting for about 90 minutes.
WHAT HAPPENS IN DEEP SLEEP?
Many different regeneration processes happen within the deep sleep phase. You're relaxed, the muscles aren't tense, the heartbeat and breathing run at the lowest frequency, and therefore the brain’s nerve activity also decreases.
Here is a summary of the most important processes that happen during this stage:
- Wounds and injuries heal (regeneration happens);
- Your immune system strengthens;
- Growth hormones are released;
- Experiences are processed and memories are brought together (the brain consolidates all knowledge and experiences you’ve had during the day).
There are many benefits deep sleep provides, but they're not limited to nighttime only. During this state, your body is also getting ready for the upcoming day, building up its strength. Sufficient deep sleep ensures that you perform well during the day and are prepared for any challenges that you might face, physical or mental. In addition, glucose metabolism is activated in the brain during this phase, which affects short-term and long-term memory and learning ability.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU DON’T GET ENOUGH DEEP SLEEP?
Not only do you get drowsy all the time: it becomes harder to learn and memorize something new, your immune system gets weaker, you become more forgetful. The body simply doesn't receive enough time to produce all the necessary hormones, which can lead to negative consequences. Various studies have linked lack of deep sleep to Alzheimer's disease, heart condition, diabetes, and even stroke.
IMPROVING YOUR DEEP SLEEP
There are many tactics that are proved to increase your deep sleep. The primary step is to spot and eliminate the disruptive factors that hold you back from a night of healthy deep sleep. Do you live in a loud neighborhood? Buying a pair of foam or wax noise-canceling earplugs might help you nod off faster and sleep deeper. Is your bedroom dark enough for a nighttime snooze? Purchasing some blackout curtains or drapes is always a great idea.
Sleep tight with PQ Earplugs.