Secrets Of Deep Sleep: Stages, Benefits, Requirements, And Tips For Optimal Sleep Cycles

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Our body needs sleep, and not just sleep. It's vital to get good quality sleep. Thus we need to ascertain the quality and quantity of sleep. There are different stages of sleep. How much sleep one gets in each stage has a great impact on the quality of restoration the sleep grants. late in the surveys, it was found that there was a sharp increase in the number of sleep-deprived patients. Lack of good quality Deep sleep leads to many health problems.

The Consequences of Not Getting Enough Quality Sleep

  • Lack of focus
  • Irritability
  • Lethargic
  • High blood pressure
  • Gut issues
  • Low productivity
  • Lack of sexual drive
  • Compromised immunity
  • Slow healing from injury and illness
  • Anxiety
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Hampers Cognitive functioning

Lack of sleep results in slow growth in children. Further, in the case of chronic illness, it results in slow recovery.

What happens while sleeping?

Secrets Of Deep Sleep

It is not only the stage of rest while sleeping. The body and mind are actually doing hard work repairing from the day and helping to rejuvenate for the next day. Sleep prepares the body to get up and show up at work.

Here is where the stages of sleep come. There are five stages and each is responsible for granting a unique set of benefits.

Stage 1

the beginning of the sleep cycle when the sleep comes swiftly. The stage lasts for a few minutes, mostly from one to seven minutes. In this stage, it appears that the body is in a relaxed state; however, the truth is that the body is not fully relaxed. Brain and body activity are entering the slow rest mode.

The stage is referred to as light sleep or even awake stage. One could easily wake up in this stage. For light sleepers, it is an issue as their sleep cycle brings them back to stage 1. If one is not getting ample rest in the other stages, then stage 1 lasts for a long duration, and it is not a healthy sign. 

Stage 2

the stage is still considered a light sleep stage, yet the person is drifting to steadier sleep. It becomes difficult to stay awake. In this stage breathing, heartbeat, and brain activity start to slow down. The muscles start to relax and the body temperature drops. The brain has short bursts of activity that prevent it from waking up by external stimuli like a dog barking next door. The stage is referred to as core sleep, and it lasts for 10 to fifteen minutes. It becomes of longer duration each time you enter the stage through the night. 

Stages 3 and 4

stage 3 and 4 are deep sleep stages and stage 4 is the deepest sleep stage. In these stages, breathing, heartbeat, body temperature, and brain waves are at the lowest level. The muscles are extremely relaxed and it is very difficult to wake someone from this stage. It is the stage of restorative sleep and maximum repair work of the body occurs in this stage.

The brain detoxifies, cellular energy is restored, the immune system is rejuvenated, tissue growth and repair occurs, important hormones are released, and memories are consolidated in stage 3 and 4. The stage occurs in the first half of the sleep. Ideally, thirteen to twenty-five percent of sleep should occur in this stage. Thus, if an adult body requires eight hours of sleep then anywhere from one hour to two hours of sleep should occur in stage 2. 

Surveys claim that sleeping between 8 P.M. to midnight sets the body to get the best quality of sleep. Irrespective of the waking up time, it takes an hour to drift into stages 3 and 4, where the most restorative sleep occurs. Thus, sleeping before midnight ensures that at least one to two hours of restorative sleep is done.

REM Sleep

REM sleep is the last stage before sleep is over. The first REM cycle of the night starts ninety minutes after sleep and recurs every ninety minutes. The stage showcases breathing, heart rate, body temperature, and blood pressure are the same as the awake stage. In this stage, paralysis affects the arms and legs. In this stage dreams usually occur. As the limbs are paralyzed, they cannot physically act while dreaming. REM sleep is essential for cognitive functions like memory, learning, and creativity.

Deep sleep tends to cover the first half of the sleep and REM takes over the latter half and gets longer as the sleep hours increase. The first REM stage lasts for a few minutes and the later stages last for an hour. About twenty to twenty-five percent of sleep is in the REM stage.

Sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome (RLS), and other conditions that could hamper a good night’s sleep. Oversleeping or sleeping at abnormal hours could hamper the sleep quality. It also gets difficult to get back to normal after sleep.  

Read More: Why is yoga important for a healthy life?

Tips to get a good night's sleep:

If one had a bad night's sleep then the next day is foggy. Thus one could tend to rely on caffeinated drinks. However, the benefit of good restorative sleep cannot be replaced by a good night’s sleep. several ways can help get a good night's sleep. 

  • Mealtime- avoid heavy meals before bed. Eat at least two hours before sleep. As the process of digestion interferes with sleep. Also, eating healthy food and avoiding fatty processed food can help in getting a good night’s sleep.
  • Remain active- staying active through the day helps the body get tired and thus helps get a good night’s sleep. Avoid working out three hours before bedtime as it increases your heart rate and stops you from getting a deep night's sleep.
  • Do not consume drugs, tobacco, alcohol, and caffeine three hours before sleep to promote better sleep quality. Tobacco is a stimulant, and it prevents the body from getting into sleep mode.

References

  • Memar P, Faradji F. A Novel Multi-Class EEG-Based Sleep Stage Classification System. IEEE Trans Neural Syst Rehabil Eng. 2018 Jan;26(1):84-95. [PubMed]
  • Buysse D.J., Reynolds C.F., III, Monk T.H., Berman S.R., Kupfer D.J. The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index: A new instrument for psychiatric practice and research. Psychiatry Res. 1989;28:193–213. doi: 10.1016/0165-1781(89)90047-4.  [CrossRef

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Dr. David G Kiely is a distinguished Medical Reviewer and former General Medicine Consultant with a wealth of experience in the field. Dr. Kiely's notable career as a General Medicine Consultant highlights his significant contributions to the medical field.

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