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November 09, 2021 5 min read

How Much Deep Sleep Do You REALLY Need?

Tired face, red eyes, puffy bags, and lots of coffee… 

Reality check: how much sleep are you getting each night? More specifically, how many of those hours are quality deep sleep?

Whether it's work deadlines, bad sleep habits, daily stress, or family demands, many factors in our day-to-day lives rob us of sleep. It’s difficult enough to get the recommended seven to nine hours of slumber each night, let alone achieve the restorative deep sleep we so desire. 

But deep sleep is more than just a luxury - it plays a critical role in your overall health and wellbeing.

Today we’ll show you what deep sleep really is, its importance, and how much of it you really need. 

What is Deep Sleep?

While you rest, your body cycles through different stages of sleep. It’s the deep sleep stage where your body is at its most relaxed state and allows you to wake up feeling refreshed. 

Physiological changes occur during deep sleep, including:

  • Extremely relaxed muscles
  • Slower breathing and heart rate
  • Very slow brain waves

Now, you won’t easily wake up during this stage. But when you do, you may feel tired, groggy, and disoriented for a few minutes.

What Are The Stages Of Sleep?

There are five stages of sleep separated into two categories - rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-rapid eye movement (non-REM) sleep. You start the night in non-REM sleep, followed by REM sleep for a brief period. You repeat this cycle about every 90 minutes throughout the night.

Here’s a quick overview of how they all work together.

Non-REM Sleep

  • Stage 1
  • Your body starts to drift between wakefulness and sleep. Your mind relaxes and your muscles may twitch. If you hear the slightest noise, you may wake up for a moment or two before falling back asleep.

  • Stage 2
  • Here you progress to a more relaxed and steadier sleep. Your breathing, heartbeat, and brain waves start to slow down, indicating the beginning of restful sleep.

  • Stages 3 and 4
  • Now you enter deep sleep, stage 4 being the deepest sleep stage. Your brain waves are at their lowest level and you’re less sensitive to outside disturbances - you can even sleep through your alarm at this stage.

    REM Sleep

    Now comes the interesting part. After your body has relaxed throughout the past four stages, the total opposite happens during REM sleep. As its name implies, your eyes will make quick irregular movements beneath your eyelids. Your brain waves, breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure also increase to almost similar levels when you’re awake. 

    A lot of people have vivid dreams during this stage. Your arms and legs, however, are temporarily paralyzed to prevent you from responding to your dreams.

    Why Is Deep Sleep Important?

    So, what does deep sleep accomplish? Since this is the most restorative sleep stage, it has a significant positive impact on your physical and mental health.

    Here are a few benefits of deep sleep:

    • Helps the brain generate and store new memories

    • Helps the brain recall information faster

    • Keeps your hormones balanced

    • Strengthens your immune system

    • Supports tissue growth and recovery

    • Makes you feel a greater sense of wellbeing

    In short, deep sleep allows you to function at a high level. Plus, exercise and a healthy lifestyle are useless without getting enough sleep.

    Deep sleep is so important that not getting enough of it has been associated with Alzheimer’s disease in adults. Regular poor sleep has also been linked to chronic health problems such as heart disease, obesity, and diabetes, effectively shortening your life expectancy.

    How Much Deep Sleep Do You Need?

    If you wake up feeling tired, it may be a sign that you lack deep sleep.

    A typical night involves 75 percent non-REM sleep and 25 percent REM sleep. A little over a third of your sleep, or 13 to 23 percent, is deep sleep

    For people under 30, deep sleep should be around two hours per night. However, your need for deep sleep declines as you age. People over age 65 may barely get a half-hour deep sleep per night, if at all.

    It’s interesting to note that children need more deep sleep because it stimulates growth and development. That said, it makes sense that you spend less time in deep sleep as you age since this is the stage where growth hormones are released.

    How To Increase Deep Sleep?

    OK, now you know why you should start getting serious about building good sleeping habits. 

    Here are few tips to help you to do just that.

    Follow a sleep schedule

    Routines help your body understand the time you should be active and the time you should rest. This also helps you resist the temptation of scrolling your newsfeed for just another “one post”. So make sure you wake up and go to bed at the same time each day, even on weekends and holidays.

    Cut back caffeine and napping

    The body produces a hormone called adenosine every minute you're awake. Once your brain builds up enough adenosine, it turns off wake-promoting areas, making you sleep faster. Now, two things block adenosine build-up: caffeine and napping. So if you have trouble sleeping, try cutting back on both.

    Get your body moving

    Regular exercise can help you expend energy, feel more weary, and be more ready to relax at the end of the day. However, avoid exercising in the hours leading up to bedtime because this does not allow your core body temperature to cool down.

    No screen time before bed

    Yup, you saw this one coming. Blue light from screens misleads your brain into thinking it’s daytime and keeps you awake longer. Some of these devices have filters that minimize your exposure to this light. But for best results, make it a habit to put away your phone and laptop at least one hour before bedtime and read a book instead. 

    Take natural sleep-promoting supplements

    To ensure you’re getting a good night's sleep, consider trying our famous Forty Winkz, an advanced combination of zinc, magnesium, vitamin B6, choline, and vitamin C. This will naturally help your muscles relax and normalize hormone levels for enhanced deep sleep and recovery.

    Bottomline

    There’s no way around it - sleep is essential to your health. All stages of sleep are important of course, but deep sleep is the most critical for your overall physical and mental health.

    Deep sleep helps you retain memories, keeps hormones balanced, strengthens the immune system, and supports your recovery. A healthy adult is expected to get around 2 hours of deep sleep per 8 hours of sleep.

    There are tips to promote deep sleep, such as cutting back on caffeine and napping, and avoiding screen time before bed. You can also try taking natural sleep-promoting supplements such as Forty Winkz to fast track your way to a good night sleep.

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