What is Deep Sleep? & Why is this important to you?
We spend a large majority of our life sleeping. Though it seems like we may not be doing much, our brain is very active during our time asleep. In our sleep, our brain goes through four phases. Though many focus on talking about rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, the stage in which we dream, one important phase is called “Deep Sleep” or “Slow-Wave Sleep.”
Deep Sleep is naturally after the first two stages of sleep, which include transitioning and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Deep sleep is the hardest to wake up from and when one does wake, they tend to feel groggy and extremely fatigued. Deep sleep has been studied thoroughly for its effects on the human body and psychology.
Effects of Deep Sleep
Although it has been suggested that deep sleep is beneficial for metabolism and improving your immune system, neuroscientists have found the most profound impact of deep sleep is memory and learning.
Deep sleep is known for the phase of sleep in which our memory is being stored and kept in our brains. The storage of memory has a direct impact on processing anything that we have learned throughout the day.
Deep sleep can also have a significant impact on one’s character and resilience. One study showed that teenagers who acquire more deep sleep show greater mental toughness, reflecting on their character and ability to handle stress.
Deep sleep also has a physiological benefit in that it maintains our body’s temperature and basic chemistry.
Lack of Deep Sleep
Neuroscientists have also found the more sleep deprived we are, the more intense our deep sleep is during our sleep duration. The lack of deep sleep and sleep deprivation can have negative impacts on emotional regulation, learning, and memory.
Lack of sleep can affect your work efficiency and ability to work cohesively with others. People who struggle with sleep disorders often forget important details at work and struggle to regulate strong emotions such as anger.
Deep Sleep as a Keystone Habit
Keystone Habits are key habits that have positive results that transcend many areas of our life. Getting enough sleep, including deep sleep, is considered a keystone habit that affects our entire wellbeing. Simply maintaining the habit of getting enough sleep and deep sleep can be life-changing.
Ways to Encourage Deep Sleep
Some ways to encourage healthy sleep, which includes encouraging deep sleep, are:
-Physical activity can help you get more deep sleep. As our bodies are physically exhausted, our brains make up for taking care of our body by increasing our deep sleep intensity for the night.
– Although studies are still in the works, there are studies to show that auditory and sound may impact deep sleep. Neuroscientists have studied very specific soundtracks that can help with increasing and regulating deep sleep.
– Keep the bedroom a place to relax. Often, people may work on their laptops in bed or have workout equipment in the bedroom. However, to promote deep sleep, it is essential to keep the bedroom a room for sleeping and relaxing. When we enter our bedrooms, our brains recognize this location as a place of rest and we tend to fall asleep and stay asleep easier.
Power down electronics well before bedtime
– The lighting from our screens can often make it harder for us to fall asleep. It may take a while after using our electronic devices before our brains are ready for sleep and consequently, deep sleep.
Unfortunately, using our phones in bed can be a cycle for insomnia. Often people cannot sleep because of using their phone, and because they cannot sleep, they return to using their device. Instead, power down devices well before you plan on going to sleep to increase sleep quality and deep sleep.