Deep sleep is a critical part of your sleep cycle, as it indicates a high quality resting state. When you are in a deep sleep, you are very difficult to wake and lose all conscious awareness of your surroundings.
Why is it important?
- Deep sleep decreases levels of tiredness during waking hours. This is why you want to keep your naps short, so you do not end up slipping into a deep sleep which will hinder your ability to fall asleep later.
- Deep sleep is the time when hormones are released. In particular, human growth hormone is released during deep sleep, which promotes cell repair in adults. This is essential especially for those who work out frequently and need muscle healing.
- Deep sleep sets your energy levels for the next day. During this period of sleep, cellular energy is restored, giving your body the power it needs to run efficiently for the day ahead .
How many hours of deep sleep do we need in a night?
You reach a state of deep sleep during stage three of your sleep cycle, which typically starts about 35-45 minutes after falling asleep. Periods of deep sleep are longer earlier in the night then shorten in length throughout your sleep. Since all the sleep stages are cyclical in nature and it is difficult to quantify how many hours you get of each, it is important to achieve the best amount of sleep for your body (probably close to 8 hours).
Because you need around 40 minutes before you fall into a deep sleep, it is also essential that you don’t have any disruptions waking you up as you try to rest, such as snoring. If you sleep near someone who snores, check out our last blog for tips to get a good night’s rest, and if you are the snorer yourself, consider investing in a snoring mouthpiece.