While sleeping, the body and brain enter 5 stages of sleep as part of the sleep cycle. They are the drowsy phase, light sleep phase, mediocre sleep phase, deep sleep phase and the rapid eye movement sleep phase.
Deep sleep is the 4th phase and it’s the sleep you get in order to wake up feeling light and refreshed! In contrast to REM sleep, this is the stage when your brain waves slow down and your body is truly resting.
Facts about deep sleep:
- The light, mediocre and deep sleep phase are called slow wave sleep because brain waves are slow at this time
- You get only 1-2 hours of deep sleep for every 8 hours of sleep
- The food you eat can affect the amount of deep sleep you get
- Lack of deep sleep for a prolonged period could lead to Alzheimer’s disease
- Meditation is a great way to increase it, as it helps the body and brain wind down
Understanding its benefits:
Physical recovery. This is the stage of sleep when your body starts to rest and shut down. Even your brain is resting and recovering from the day’s effort. Your heart rate is lower and breathing is also very shallow. There is overall muscle relaxation and eyes are resting. Moreover, even the pituitary gand in the brain secrets more human growth hormone (HGH) at this time, facilitating body growth. As a result, your body and brain rest, your overall energy levels increase and you can make a full physical recovery and feel stronger. This allows you to gear up and get ready for the next day.
Improved memory. When in this phase, your brain waves are slower and more relaxed. During this time, your old memories are strengthened and secured due to this relaxed state. Moreover, it also facilitates the learning of new memories as your brain recovers and refreshes. The more of it you get, the better your memory will become.
Better immune system. Sleep is the best way to allow your body to relax and recharge. It keeps you healthy and happy. Deep sleep is when your brain and body are resting, blood sugar levels are stable and you’re in recovery. It also leads to an increase of T-cells which help your body fight infections. As a result, your immunity is boosted and improved.
Deep sleep is a key stage as it helps us wake up refreshed and improves our health. In case you’re looking for ways to improve it and get better sleep, look no further than meditation. As the Dalai Lama said, “Sleep is the best meditation.”