sleep makes such a positive difference. When you wake up after a night spent in
deep slumber, you're refreshed and ready to handle anything that comes your
way. When you don't get that restorative sleep, you feel the negative effects
physically and mentally.
What happens during REM sleep, and why is it so important to your sense of well-being? Do you wonder about how to get more deep sleep and improve the way you feel every day?
It helps to understand the different processes involved in deep sleep. We offer this guide as a resource for learning about how it all works and how you can enjoy more of that deep slumber that makes such a positive difference.
Understanding Your Personal Sleep Cycle
On average, you sleep eight hours each night, but you move through five levels of rest from light relaxation to deep sleep and finally partial wakefulness. It all takes about 90 minutes, and the process cycles four to six times from when you turn in to when you wake up the next morning. Let's examine these sleep cycles more closely.
What Are the 5 Stages of Sleep?
Until the 1950s, there was very little research into the science of sleep. That changed dramatically thanks to the pioneering work of physiologist Eugene Aserinsky. His years of research and documentation paved the way for our current understanding of the five stages of sleep.
• Stage One - This first sleep phase is transitional as you begin to drift in and out of consciousness.
• Stage Two - Your heart rate decreases, body temperature cools and brain waves slow down.
• Stage Three - Both body and mind move into deep stages of sleep as the brain begins to produce delta waves.
• Stage Four - Deep sleep continues as brain activity exclusively consists of delta wave production.
• Stage Five - The final sleep cycle is marked by rapid eye movement (REM) as the brain becomes energized again.
In What Stage of Sleep Do You Dream?
You might experience some dreaming while in stage three or four sleep. More often, vivid dreams occur during stage five sleep as brain activity increases and delta wave production decreases.
What Happens During REM Sleep?
During REM sleep, brain activity increases dramatically as eyes rapidly move behind closed lids. Over the course of the night, the duration of these final stages of sleep typically increases from as little as 10 minutes to an hour or more.
What Is the Deepest Stage of Sleep and How Does It Work?
You enjoy the deepest rest of the evening when you slip into stage three sleep. To really appreciate how this critical cycle affects mind and body, consider these five things everyone needs to know about deep sleep.
1. Your Body Requires a Minimum Every Night
Deep sleep provides relief from daily physical and mental stress. It's your body's way of recharging over the course of eight hours to offset the other 16 hours spent awake. Most adults need at least 1.8 hours of deep sleep every night.
In general, deep sleep should compromise about 20 percent of your bedtime. Even youngsters have measurable needs for stage three slumber. Until the age of 18, children need from 2 to 3 hours of deep sleep for each 24-hour cycle.
2. Breathing and Heart Rate Slow Down
As you slip into stage three sleep, breathing becomes deeper and more measured. Your heart beats more slowly resulting in lower blood pressure. However, your deeply relaxed state actually increases therapeutic blood supply to tired, aching or injured muscles.
Normally, you're blissfully unaware of these changes in your body. Still, problems like sleep apnea or chronic respiratory issues interfere with deep sleep and lead to more serious health complications.
3. You Become Almost Paralyzed
If you've ever tried to wake someone in deep slumber, you know how slowly they respond. This deepest of the five sleep cycles minimizes body movement that might occur while you dream. From neck and spine to arms and legs, the brain keeps your body very still through stage three sleep.
If you wake up feeling as though you can't move, the immobilized state can be disturbing. Known as sleep paralysis, the condition isn't dangerous. However, many people find it upsetting, and it also disrupts normal sleeping patterns.
4. Learning Processes Fire Up
At what stage of sleep do you dream and learn at the same time? It can happen during the deepest sleep as trillions of nerve cells in the brain fire up in a rewiring process. Studies suggest the stage three sleeping brain maps new information as it generates fresh neural connections.
The same process discards outdated memories keeping your short-term recall sharp. Think of deep sleep as an overnight routine that sorts out the day's details and warehouses data you need to keep.
5. Mental and Emotional Health Depend on It
Stage three is the most important of the 5 stages of sleep because it restores you physically, but it also helps you stay mentally sharp and emotionally stable. Deep sleep improves long-term memory and boosts energy levels while it suppresses stress hormones.
There are strong links between sleep deprivation, emotional functions of the brain and diagnosed mood disorders. You know how out of sorts you feel after a bad night's sleep. Imagine the difficulty of trying to function day after day without the mental rest of stage three sleep.
How Can You Increase Deep Sleep Every Night?
Knowing how to get deep sleep makes a remarkable difference in how you feel physically. It also contributes to a positive sense of well-being. You don't need to make drastic lifestyle changes to sleep better. Instead, think about how these five tips can help you drift into deep, peaceful sleep.
1. Develop a Healthy Bedtime Routine
A little exercise in the evening is often relaxing, but save heavy workouts for the gym. Ease away late-day tension with simple yoga routines. Practice a light, healthy workout several hours before going to sleep.
Let the clock ease you into bed too. Designate a specific time for turning in, and stick with it. You only need a week or so to develop healthy bedtime routines that become lifelong good habits for a better night's rest.
2. Eat Smart and Light
A big dinner makes you feel drowsy, but waking up later with indigestion makes it hard to get back to sleep. Heavy meals interfere with a good night's rest because they direct your body's resources away from the sleep process.
When nighttime cravings get the best of you, choose something that helps you relax. Warm milk is a traditional home sleep remedy, but you can satisfy that late night appetite with almonds, whole grains and even kiwi fruit.
3. Say No to Caffeine and Cocktails
Increase deep sleep by avoiding caffeine and alcohol before going to bed. Some teas work well as sleeping aids, but play it safe with this kind of goodnight drink. Lukewarm water and quick steeping help tame the caffeine in brewed teas.
Cocktails might make you the life of the party, but they keep your metabolism in overdrive when it's time to go to bed. Even one or two glasses of wine interfere with enjoying stage three sleep. Make a habit of making your last call for drinks several hours before bedtime.
4. Shut Down Gadgets and Open a Book
How to get more deep sleep can be as simple as turning off your smartphone. Close the digital doors on your tablet, and tuck the laptop in a drawer. Electronics and sound sleep don't mix, so shut down gadgets an hour before turning in.
If you find it hard to just switch off the lights, get comfortable in bed with a good book. As you snuggle in and focus on reading, your body begins to unwind. Even the latest page-turner can turn into an effective sleep aid.
5. Rest Easy on a Quality Mattress
The quality of your sleep often rests on the quality of your mattress. A sure way to increase deep sleep is to be sure your bed suits your personal sleeping style. You might need the support of a mattress designed for side sleepers, or you might rest more comfortably on a bed that keeps you cool through the night.
If you decide to improve deep sleep with a new mattress, do your research. Not every bed in a box is built the same or comes with a warranty you can trust. Make a decision on a new mattress based on features you value most.
What Are the Benefits of Deep Sleep?
Now that you better understand the process, you might still wonder: What is the deepest stage of sleep really doing for you each night? Are there benefits in addition to feeling better each morning? The answers might surprise you.
• Deep sleep actually helps with fitness and weight loss.
• Minutes saved each morning you don't hit the snooze button quickly add up.
• Finding time for a daily nap is finally off your busy schedule.
• Higher energy levels put a special bounce in your love life.
Where Can You Learn More About Quality Rest?
Knowing how to get deep sleep makes such a wonderful difference. Knowing where to find reliable information is really important too. We're here for you with articles that cover serious sleep issues and posts that share fun facts.
We're also here to answer questions you have about making the right choices for your personal sleeping style. Sweet Zzz enjoys a solid reputation as one of the country's most trusted online mattress stores. It's always our pleasure to be at your service, so just let us know how we can help.