Just about everyone has had trouble sleeping at some time or the other and in the absence of proper sleep, functioning the next day can be difficult at best. There are many benefits of deep sleep and some may even surprise you. Deep sleep is also called REM sleep or “Rapid Eye Movement.” It occurs about three to five times during a night of good, restful sleep. This phase of deep sleep is quite interesting and it might be just what you think it is.
What Is Deep Sleep?
Deep sleep or REM sleep is the fifth cycle of sleep and it’s one of the most important. While most people associate REM sleep with dreaming, that is not the only thing that happens. Your body also sorts through different memories, emotions, and stress. Your blood pressure and heart rate can increase. You may breathe a little heavier and your fingers and toes may twitch. It might sound as if your body is not resting but the opposite is actually true.
The Benefits of Deep Sleep
Deep sleep helps our minds to process our memories, stress, and emotions much more easily and can help our brains process new skills and information. It also boosts our mood when we are awake and can help improve our overall health. With the right amount of deep sleep, you will have more energy during your day and not feel so drained in the afternoon. Deep sleep benefits also include younger looking skin, increased vitality, and an improved mental state. In addition, research studies have shown that three deep sleep or REM cycles each night can help improve memory and other cognitive functions.
Deep sleep may help improve some medical conditions as well. For example, the symptoms of depression and anxiety can be reduced with regular, deep sleep. You will find that your body is less susceptible to illness and you are able to fight off infections more easily when you get enough recuperative REM sleep. Your body will produce more white blood cells when you are sleeping. Your body also increases protein production and decreases the breakdown of proteins. This is why the body is able to repair itself better when you are in deep sleep. In teenagers and children, the growth hormone is released as they sleep.
How to Increase Your Deep Sleep Cycles
The longer you sleep, the longer your deep sleep cycles. The first REM cycle occurs about an hour to an hour and a half after fall asleep and only last about two to ten minutes. As you continue to sleep, your REM cycles increase in length and this appears to be when you get the most benefits of deep sleep.
There are ways that you can increase the number and length of your deep sleep cycles. For starters, turn your television off in your bedroom. If you feel you must have some sort of noise, then consider investing a white noise machine. You should have a bedtime routine that doesn’t involve using the computer, drinking caffeinated beverages, or balancing your cheque book. Sleeping a cool room helps encourage deep sleep and an eye mask is a great addition to your pyjamas. Eye masks help block out the light in the room; sometimes even the smallest sliver of light can affect your sleep. You’ll be surprised at just how rejuvenated you feel in the morning.