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The Importance of Deep Sleep
We’ve explored the risks associated with sleep deprivation, but even excessive sleep can have detrimental effects on your health. Studies have shown that those who sleep 9-10 hours a night were at an increased risk of heart and blood conditions, while even those sleeping between 8-9 hours was marginally at risk. The recommended length of sleep was 6-8 hours a night. Those of us with packed schedules would prefer to sleep less without waking up tired. That’s why it’s important to make every hour of your sleep count.
Deep sleep is the stage of sleep with the slowest brain waves, when the brain doesn’t even experience dreams. People in this stage are not as easily awakened by outside disturbances.
What are the advantages of a deep sleep?
Waking up feeling energized
Strengthen the immune system
Increased blood circulation
Promote growth and repair of tissues
The first step to achieve enough slow-wave sleep is to give yourself enough time to sleep in the first place. Deep sleep usually occurs earlier in the sleep cycle, with REM sleep happening later in preparation for waking up.
Deep sleep is often achieved following a period of intense, prolonged exercise as well as heating of the body, like immersing yourself in a hot tub or sauna. It also helps to engage in aerobic activities like jogging, running, and swimming, so that your body will know to go into more rest to increase the blood supply to your muscles. It seems a major detriment to achieving deep sleep is not expending enough energy during the day.
Your circadian rhythm and homeostatic processes help regulate the threshold at which deep sleep is induced. That's why it's important to have a consistent sleepy cycle where you go to bed and wake up at the same time everyday, while also getting enough sunlight during the day.