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Deep Sleep. What is it? How much is required?

What is Deep Sleep?

Deep Sleep is the reason why we go to sleep. This is the time when we get in touch with our source code and realign and correct ourselves to become our more authentic selves. In ancient Indian Science, they have given a lot of importance to Deep Sleep and they have even created a practice which mimics deep sleep. It is called yoga nidra. It was believed that in this stage you could get in touch with your Creator and even ask what you want and your ability to manifest it in your life will increase dramatically.

What happens during Deep Sleep?

Deep Sleep is the fourth stage of sleep and the most important one. The other 3 stages are Awake State, REM State and Light Sleep (NREM1) state.

During Deep Sleep, the brain is in Delta Wave state, where the amplitude is deep and the frequency is more regular (rather than irregular in the other states).

While a person needs all the stages of sleep, deep sleep is especially important for brain health and function. Deep sleep helps the brain create and store new memories and improves its ability to collect and recall information.

This stage of sleep also helps the brain rest and recover from a day of thinking, allowing it to replenish energy in the form of glucose for the next day.

Deep sleep also plays a role in keeping the hormones balanced. The pituitary gland secretes human growth hormone during this stage, which helps tissues in the body grow and regenerate cells as well as repair the damaged ones.

Importantly, a person has to get enough deep sleep for these functions to take place. The amount of deep sleep that a person has will relate to how much overall sleep they get. Sleeping 7 to 9 hours is the recommendation for most adults, which will usually give the body plenty of time in the deeper states of sleep.

If the body does not get enough deep sleep one day, it will compensate the next time it can get sleep by quickly moving through the cycles to reach the deepest levels of sleep faster and stay there longer.

However, if the person regularly does not get enough deep sleep, this may start to affect the brain.

As deep sleep plays a role in memory, the body may have difficulty making new memories or retaining information if it does not get enough sleep.

Long-term issues with deep sleep may have an association with other conditions, such as heart disease or Alzheimer’s disease.

How to get more deep sleep

As the American Sleep Association note, the most important thing that a person can do to increase the amount of deep sleep that they get each night is to set aside more time for sleep. Doing so allows the body to go through more sleep cycles, which makes it possible to have more deep sleep.

Below are some of the practices that could help good sleep and deep sleep:

  1. doing vigorous exercise, such as swimming, jogging, or running, early in the day rather than before bedtime

  2. making diet changes that include fewer carbohydrates and more alkaline foods

  3. warming up the body in a warm shower, hot tub or sauna

  4. Pink noise could increase deep sleep. Pink noise is random noise with more low-frequency components than white noise. Some scientific studies have indicated that listening to these sounds might enhance a person’s deep sleep state, leading to better memory function when they wake up. These are not conclusive evidence yet.

  5. Avoiding blue lights, such as smartphones or computers near bedtime

  6. Keep the room as dark as possible by shutting windows and turning off lights from alarm clocks

  7. Avoid caffeine after 10 am

  8. Have dinner 2 to 3 hours before bedtime and avoid heavy meals

  9. Reduce stress

  10. Keep a regular sleep schedule. Same time to sleep each night

The best way to get more deep sleep may be as simple as setting aside more time to sleep each night.

How much is required?

The average deep sleep duration for a healthy adult is around 1.75 to 2 hours each night.

If you give yourself adequate sleep and keep regular schedules, you should be automatically getting around this much every night.

What can be the reasons for not having deep sleep?

These are some of the possible reasons for not getting deep sleep.

  1. The person has had alcohol just before sleeping. If there is alcohol in the bloodstream, it interferes with the delta wave sleep (that is deep sleep). The person with alcohol in the bloodstream is having a sedated rest rather than the natural healthy sleep that we require.

  2. The person has had caffeine (through coffee, soft drinks, etc) a few hours before sleep. This prevents the onset of deep sleep

  3. Persons who suffer from sleep apnea/snoring could have breathing difficulty, resulting in frequent waking up, thus preventing the onset of deep sleep

  4. Disturbed sleep is possible due to environmental (room, bed, light, sound) issues or inherent medical issues, This can prevent the onset of deep sleep

  5. Persons waking up often due to frequent urination, sugar issues, etc can suffer from deep sleep deprivation

  6. Irregular sleep habits, reduced sleep hours can also cause delay in the onset of deep sleep.

So as you can see, the reasons may be many. Unless we have more information it will be difficult to isolate the cause for Deep Sleep deprivation.

For more sleep tips and answers to questions on sleep, subscribe to: Sleep Tips Blog | Ignatius Raphael or follow me on youtube: DeepSleepCoach Iggy

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