From the outside, a sleeping person seems completely peaceful—as if they have switched into stand-by mode. But, in fact, sleep is far from being a passive state. During the time between falling asleep and waking up, we go through different stages of sleep that impact how we feel and perform during our waking hours.
Our bodies go through a full sleep cycle about four to seven times every night. And we’ll wake up in between; though this is something we should not remember in the morning. The sleep cycle is divided into light sleep (N1 and N2), deep slow wave sleep (N3) and REM sleep, when most of our dreaming takes place. While each phase has its own role, one thing is certain: deep sleep is particularly important for our daily physical and mental performance.
During deep sleep, we reach maximum relaxation: our muscles are at ease, we breathe deeply and evenly, our blood pressure drops, our brain activity is slowed to delta wave patterns and the stress hormone cortisol is at a particularly low level. When everything is so tranquil, then how does deep sleep charge our bodies?
This deep resting phase allows our physiological processes to channel energy toward rejuvenating for the next day. Growth hormone is released and reaches its peak, helping to fuel cell replenishment and repair. Meanwhile, the brain is relieved from decision-making and emotional exertion, giving time and space to store memories and embed new information that we’ve learned. Deep sleep is also supporting and guiding our immune system to help it better protect against illnesses. All of this together why deep sleep has earned a reputation as the most restorative “beauty sleep”.
There are a number of factors that impact the amount of time we spend in deep sleep. Within the course of a night, as we’ve completed several sleep cycles, the N3 phase typically gets shorter. But, aging is also shown to reduce slow wave sleep.
In addition to natural causes, lifestyle choices and environment can also interfere with deep sleep. Night sweats, changing positions too much, stress, noise and light can all disrupt healthy, restorative sleep. A chronic lack of sleep can have serious physical and psychological consequences over the long-term.
If you are feeling overwhelmed by stress, fatigue or brain fog, try to nurture your deep slumber stage with these sleep tips:
Having a good mattress is surprisingly overlooked to support deep sleep. Technogel®’s thermal and pressure relieving properties are designed to help you stay cool and comfortable. And scientific studies have shown a Technogel mattress can help extend time spent in deep sleep by up to 45 percent.
What's your secret to waking up refreshed and inspired?