All sleep is good sleep, but not all sleep is deep sleep!
Adults need between 7-9 hours of nightly Zzz's. The reason? During this time, your body goes through different stages of the Sleep Cycle. You need to reach the Deep Sleep phase (N-REM 3) multiple times during the night to make your shut-eye count!
Without deep sleep, you'll be waking on the wrong side of the bed (aka unrefreshed!)
Sleep Fact! Commonly mistaken with REM sleep, Deep Sleep is when your body and brain waves slow down and happens during the final stage of non-REM sleep.
A quick recap for our Sleepyheads who may be new to the Sleep Cycle game!
- Sleep Cycle's usually take about 90 minutes to complete, and repeat throughout the night.
- Non-REM 1: The first stage which lasts several minutes as you move from an awake to sleepy state. During this phase, your body functions slow down, your muscles relax and your brain waves slow.
- Non-REM 2: During the second stage, your body's systems continue to slow down as your core temperature drops and brain waves continue to slow.
- Non-REM 3 and 4: Deep sleep happens here! Your heartbeat, breathing, and brain waves become their slowest, your muscles are relaxed.
- REM: The final stage of the Sleep Cycle, where you experience dreaming, and brain activity and heart rate increases
So Why Do We Need Deep Sleep? Tell Me The Benefits!
- Deep Sleep supports learning: During this part of the Sleep Cycle, with your body temperature, blood pressure and heart rate lowered, your metabolism slows to conserve energy for the next day. This means glucose metabolism in the brain increases, which helps with your short-term and long-term memory consolidation.
- Deep Sleep allows your body to grow and develop: Your pituitary gland begins to secrete important hormones during Deep Sleep, like human growth hormone which leads to your body's proper growth and cell regeneration. There's a reason it's so important for young ones to get the shut eye they need!
- Immune support: Deep sleep strengthens your immune system by helping with the production of 'natural killer cells'. These allow us to fight infection, illness, and reduce inflammation! Healthier, happier you!
- Energy, energy, energy! By conserving energy and slowing your body's functioning during deep sleep, you're conserving energy which means you'll have more energy upon waking. We often feel groggy and unrefreshed when we don't get the deep sleep we need for this exact reason! Increased adenosine triphosphate provides energy to your cells during deep sleep, which contributes to this!
Wanting to increase your Deep Sleep? There are some easy ways to make changes for a better night's sleep!