The Mysterious Benefits of Deep Sleep
What is the deep sleep stage?
From the time we were born ,we’ve always heard our parents, teachers, and well-wishers tell us to sleep for at least 7 to 8 hours. A body goes through different stages of the sleep cycle but deep sleep, for example, is the stage of sleep that is needed to help us feel refreshed and rejuvenated when you wake up in the morning.
The deep sleep stage is when the waves emitted by our body and brain slow down which is why it’s so hard to wake up from deep sleep. And if we do, we feel particularly groggy.
REM sleep vs. non-REM sleep
Sleep can be divided into two categories –
- REM sleep, and
- Non-REM sleep
Just about the time when we fall asleep, we are experiencing non-REM sleep, which is then followed by a short period of REM sleep. It should be interesting to know that the cycle continues throughout the night for about 90 minutes or so. It is at the very last stage of non-REM sleep that a deep sleep takes place.
Again, this sleep category has two main phases.
Stage 1: This stage lasts for about seven minutes as you move from being awake to a state of slumber. In this stage, various body functions like respiration, heartbeat, and eye movements begin to slow down. Even your muscles start relaxing with only occasional twitches and your mind waves start to slow down from its wakeful stage.
Stage 2: This stage contributes to about 50 percent of the total sleep cycle. As mentioned before, your body’s systems start to relax and slow down with the core temperature dropping. Your brain waves are slow but there might be some short bursts of activity (this is you dreaming). Even your eye movements stop at this stage.
Finally, you proceed into the deep sleep stage.
The first stage of REM sleep occurs about 90 minutes after you have entered the deep sleep phase.
In this stage, your heartbeat will increase that will take you near to its wakeful state, eyes will start moving rapidly from side to side, and limbs might even get paralyzed. Even your brain starts to become more active and breathing becomes faster and irregular at times.
What are the benefits of experiencing deep sleep?
During deep sleep, your glucose metabolism gets higher. This, in turn, supports short-term and long-term memory and improves your learning capacity. Deep sleep can also stimulate the pituitary gland to release important hormones. One such hormone is the human growth hormone that helps to promote the overall development and growth of the body.
In addition to the above, there are also other benefits that include cell regeneration, energy restoration, strengthening of the immune system, and increased blood supply to muscles. Your body also starts to repair itself when you are asleep which helps to encourage the growth and repair of bones and tissues.
Tips to help you get deep sleep
Now that we have discussed the benefits of a deep sleep, it’s important to talk about the different ways in which you can attain it as well.
- Try to create the perfect environment for sleep. This includes a comfortable bed and pillow along with the optimal temperature.
Invest in a bed and pillow that can help reduce the symptoms of specific issues. For example, if you have neck pain, you can get a pillow for neck pain. In the same way, if you like to sleep on your side, you can buy mattresses that have been specially designed for side sleepers.
Also, ensure that the temperature isn’t too hot or too cold. You might wake up during the night feeling either cold or hot which will disturb your sleep cycle.
- Get a humidifier for your room. This particular appliance is really a godsend as it can help to create the perfect atmosphere for sleep. There is lower humidity in the air as well as allergens and molds. With improved airflow quality in your room, you can fall asleep much quicker.
- Create a good sleeping schedule that can help to promote regular sleeping patterns and quality sleep. In this case, you have to ascertain that you go to bed at the same time every single day. And yes, this includes the weekend as well. This will, in turn, help to strengthen your circadian rhythm, which is your natural sleep-wake cycle.
- Refrain from indulging in stimulating beverages like tea, coffee, soda, and so on. In fact, food items like chocolate also come under the category of a stimulant. The issue with these food items is that they take at least 6 hours to wear off. Now, for you to sleep comfortably and faster, you need to be in a state of calm with your mind relaxed. Consuming drinks that have high caffeine content will have the exact opposite effect on your mind and body.
The next thing that you can do to promote fast asleep is to listen to contemporary or classical music. You may have noticed how this music has a calming effect on the body. Music genres like pop, rock, and punk are what you need to avoid.
- Always sleep in a dark room. There are people who prefer to keep the lights on while they sleep, but scientists agree that sleeping in a dark room can help a person enter the deep sleep stage faster.
You see, our body instinctively associates darkness with bedtime which is the main reason why a person is supposed to stay awake during the day and fall asleep during the night. Complete darkness also helps to stimulate the production of melatonin, a sleep-promoting hormone, in our body.
Try to block any source of natural light as well as artificial light in your room. If due to any circumstances, you are not able to do so, you can always wear an eye mask before going to sleep.