Why Deep Sleep is Essential for Physical and Mental Well-Being
Deep sleep is essential for physical and mental well-being. It’s the most restorative phase of sleep, when your body is able to rebuild and repair itself. But how much deep sleep do you need, and how can you ensure you’re getting enough?
When you sleep, your brain cycles through four stages: non-REM (rapid eye movement) sleep and REM sleep. Non-REM stages 1 through 3 are followed by stage 4, known as REM sleep, which is when our dreams usually occur. Each cycle is about 80 to 110 minutes long, and the cycles repeat four to five times a night. During these cycles, the body transitions from shallow to deep sleep.
To get the health benefits of deep sleep, you need to maintain a consistent sleep schedule. Going to bed and getting up at the same time every day, even on weekends, may help you achieve deeper sleep. Avoid staying up too late or trying to “catch up” on lost sleep by sleeping in. Moderate to vigorous exercise can help promote deep sleep, but avoid working out too close to bedtime. Also, avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol close to bedtime.
Melatonin is a hormone responsible for regulating sleep cycles. Your body produces more melatonin in response to darkness, which can help promote sleep. Taking a melatonin supplement can help increase deep sleep. Additionally, creating a sleep sanctuary in your bedroom can help by making it dark, cool, and quiet. Calming activities such as taking a bath or using relaxation techniques can also help promote better sleep.
Finally, a lack of deep sleep can increase your risk of developing chronic diseases like heart disease or cancer. To support deep sleep, get plenty of exercise and avoid caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine before bed. If you’re still having trouble sleeping, talk to your healthcare provider for more guidance.
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