We all know that getting your head down for eight or nine hours of deep sleep each night is optimum for health and wellbeing – but is it as easy as just getting those optimum hours?
The quality and type of sleep you’re getting is just as valuable as the amount of sleep you get each night. One of the most vital stages of sleep is “deep sleep”.
Deep sleep, also called slow-wave sleep, is a term used to define stage three and four of sleep. During these stages, your heart rate and breathing are at their lowest, your brain waves slow down, and your muscles and eyes relax. This is also known as the ‘restorative’ phase of sleep because your body repairs tissues and strengthens its immune system.
While you sleep, you experience different stages of the sleep cycle. Deep sleep is the stage needed to wake up feeling refreshed. As we get older, the amount of deep sleep we get each night decreases. This is because our bodies are already fully developed and we don’t need the same growth that children do.
What Are the Benefits of Deep Sleep?
Deep sleep stages — REM sleep and stage three of the sleep cycle — are the most important stages of sleep. They are known as restorative phases that are critical for hormone regulation, growth, and physical renewal.
If you were to forgo deep sleep, it’s likely you would wake up feeling groggy and out of sorts. You may also gain weight and have difficulty concentrating and being social during the day. Deep sleep is not only important for the body and mind, but for your overall quality of life.
How Much Deep Sleep Should You Get a Night?
The average adult needs between 1.6 and 2.25 hours of deep sleep a night.
However, sleep needs change as you age. The older you get, the less deep sleep your body requires, however, that does not make it any less important. While there is no specific requirement of how much deep sleep you should get, people who are younger generally need more as it promotes growth and development.
Deep sleep does wonders for the body and mind. Understanding how deep sleep works can help you identify ways you can increase it. First look at your lifestyle habits. If you aren’t making an effort to work out daily, start there. Just getting outside for a 30 minute walk can go a long way!