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How Much Deep Sleep Do You Need?

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A guy in deep sleep on his bed at night

Deep sleep is a sleep stage that allows the neurons to rest. During this phase, the eye movement slows down further, and the body rests entirely. It is also called slow-wave sleep. Our bodies need proper rest to reactivate the mind and prepare us for the following day. 

But how much deep sleep do you need? Is 6-8 hours of sleep enough for you? And why do you need deep sleep? Read on to know the answer to these questions while you discover- what is deep sleep, how much deep sleep you need each night, types of the sleep cycle, the importance of stage 3 sleep, and light sleep vs. deep sleep.

Stages of Sleep

What are the stages of sleep? And how do the stages determine your sleep?

When you sleep, the body goes through 4 stages of sleep. You pass through these stages in a few hours of sleep. Your sleep switches from different stages -deep and light, allowing you to get the most out of it. Let’s dive into different levels of sleep. 

4 different stages of sleep explained. Illustration

Stage 1

After you’ve managed to calm your mind from distractions, your eyes tend to feel heavy, and you enter the 1st stage of sleep cycle. This light sleep stage or NREM sleep lasts for 10 mins and the body transitions between sleep and wakefulness. 

During this stage, your breathing slows, and your muscles relax. If you hear some disturbance like a dog barking or some TV noise, you will most likely wake up and fall back into sleep within a minute. 

Stage 2

The second stage lasts for 30-60 mins allowing you to enter into a more profound and relaxed state. This stage is the beginning of deep sleep. In this stage, your eye movement stops, and the body’s temperature drops. This allows the brain waves to slow down while the brain has some short bursts of activity. 

Stage 3

The third stage of sleep is the stage where you sleep deeply. It might become difficult to wake a person up from this stage. This stage lasts for 30-40 mins, and experts believe this stage is essential for restorative sleep as the brain waves slow down. They say deep sleep contributes to creativity, insightful thinking, and good memory. Your sleep health depends a lot on the deep sleep cycle. 

As you pass the sleep cycle stages, you enter the 3rd stage – the deep sleep stage. This is where you get 1-2 hours of deep sleep that leaves you refreshed and rejuvenated. 

Stage 4

Also known as the REM stage, where things get a lot more interesting. In this phase, only your eyes begin to move rapidly and start to have vivid dreams. It only lasts for 10-20 mins, but most of the dreaming part is done here. 

The body temperature in this stage rises as the heartbeat picks up pace. This is why when you wake up, you feel warm. Here the brain becomes more active and starts responding to the nearby noise and things. 

How Much Deep Sleep Should You Get Each Night?

So, how many hours of deep sleep should you get? Are 4.5 hours of deep sleep enough?

We would say it’s too much. 

On average, an adult gets 1-2 hours of deep sleep during the 8-9 hours of the sleep cycle. 

Experts agree that sleep is essential for maintaining good health, but deep sleep is essential for building up your immunity, repairing your cells, and making you fit physically and mentally. It helps the brain recover from yesterday’s activities, allowing it to refresh and get ready for the next day. 

Although all the stages of sleep are necessary for the body to function normally, deep sleep is essential. Why? It allows the brain to rest and refresh. 

You can think of your body as a computer with a sleep button. What would you do if the computer needs rest after a day’s work? You’ll put the computer to sleep, right? This way, the computer is on but is just on standby mode – doing nothing, cooling off the heat, or you’ll probably recharge your computer while it sleeps.

The same is the case with our brains! This is how the brain functions when we are in a deep sleep. Before the rem sleep, the frequency of the brain waves becomes slow. You might have noticed you have a little oil on your face when you wake up. This is because of the deep sleep. The body restores the hormone balance, which makes your skin a bit oily. 

Without deep sleep, the body won’t be able to function properly. You’ll most likely get sleep deprivation and tiredness after sleeping.  

Benefits of Deep Sleep

Many people underestimate the importance of deep sleep. It offers invaluable benefits to the body. The other benefits of deep sleep are: 

  • It helps the brain form new memories 
  • Controls the weight and regulates the blood sugar
  • Strengthens the immune system 
  • Regulates hormones 
  • Minimizes the stress levels for the next day
  • Restores the energy levels
  • Sharpens the brains 

Increased deep sleep can boost these benefits and give your body the rest it needs. 

What Happens if You Don't Get Enough Deep Sleep?

Did you know that deep sleep is responsible for converting your daily moments into memories

Do you know what causes a lack of deep sleep? It could be your daily habits or routine.  Poor deep sleep can lead to conditions such as:

  • Alzheimer’s disease 
  • Heart disease 
  • Stroke 
  • Diabetes 
  • Brain fog 

Certain habits can occur because of a lack of deep sleep. If you find yourself having such issues, then remember, your deep sleep schedule might be weak. If you do not get enough deep sleep, you might:

If you wake up feeling exhausted or feel like you need to sleep again, then it might be the alarm for your body that you are not sleeping enough. 

6 Ways to Get More Deep Sleep

Not getting enough deep sleep? As mentioned, deep sleep can work wonders for your body. What you can do is identify the causes of reduced deep sleep by paying attention to your daily habits and replace or adjust them accordingly. Let’s have a look at 6 ways to get more deep sleep each night! 

Avoid taking naps

When you sleep during the day, it can affect the quality of nighttime sleep. When your mind rests during the day, it can easily skip a few sleep cycle stages at night. This could be a possible reason why your deep sleep gets disturbed.

Set a routine

Waking up early or setting a healthy time to wake up and going to bed can make a lot of difference to your sleep quality. Make sure you don’t stay up late as it can disturb the sleep cycle and mess with your precious sleeping hours. 

Exercise daily

Some physical activity is healthy for the body. When you exercise for about 20-30 mins, you release happy hormones and spend energy. It is obvious that when you spend the energy, you’ll need to recharge yourself. Hence, you’ll sleep better at night.  

Set the right lighting

The lighting of the room has a major impact on our sleep quality. Dim lights or no lights? Know what you like and accordingly set your room to get a comfortable sleep.

Water and decaffeinated drinks

Before going to bed, it would greatly help to settle down into nighttime energy. Avoid caffeinated drinks 5-6 hours before sleep to get a good night’s rest. Warm milk is a known remedy to help you sleep faster.

Take a warm bath

Warm baths really help regulate the sleep cycles. It relaxes the muscles and helps you to quickly fall asleep.

Want to know how to get deep sleep? Check our article.

Tips for Better Sleep

If you sleep for a good 8-9 hours but find yourself tossing and turning in the bed, then here are some tips on ‘how to increase deep sleep’  that can help you sleep better. Let’s dive in, shall we? 

  • Reduce stress 
  • Choose a comfortable bed 
  • Set up a routine for sleeping 
  • Eat foods that will help you sleep 
  • Follow good sleep hygiene 
  • Meditate daily 

Summing It Up

Experts agree that all 4 stages of sleep are essential for the body to function properly and for the mind too. If you haven’t paid attention to your sleep cycle, it is time that you should. For today’s lifestyle, the takeaway would be to reduce the stress levels, and you’ll be able to sleep better. 

FAQs

For adults, 20-25% of your sleep duration should be enough REM sleep for a night. If you sleep for 8-9 hours then, 90 mins of REM sleep is enough for you. 

Light sleep usually takes 50-60% of your sleep time. You can know more about light sleep through our blog. Check it out.

Toddlers sleep 11-14 hours, preschoolers sleep 10-13 hours, and school-aged children sleep about 9-12 hours. 

REM sleep  kicks in about one and a half hours after you fall asleep. This REM sleep cycle lasts for 10 mins.   

People with Narcolepsy are known to enter deep sleep within 15 minutes of falling asleep. In general, you need at least one and a half hours of sleep to enter into the REM sleep stage. Although you can try to adopt better sleeping habits that will improve your sleep quality over time. 

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Sleep trainer working in New York City in a voluntary orthopaedic practise. Also an independent medical writer and designer.
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Meet Our Review Board

Each week our team researches, writes and collaborates with industry leaders to bring you simple easy-to-read sleep information.

David Bridge

Sleep Coach

Siddhesh Tiwatne

Sleep Coach

Authored by healh experts and journalists

Fact checked and science-backed

Medically reviewed by physicians

Meet Our Review Board

Each week our team researches, writes and collaborates with industry leaders to bring you simple easy-to-read sleep information.

David Bridge

Sleep Coach

Siddhesh Tiwatne

Sleep Coach

Authored by health experts and journalists

Fact checked and science-backed

Medically reviewed by physicians

Meet Our Review Board

Each week our team researches, writes and collaborates with industry leaders to bring you simple easy-to-read sleep information.

David Bridge

Sleep Coach

Siddhesh Tiwatne

Sleep Coach

Authored by health experts and journalists

Fact checked and science-backed

Medically reviewed by physicians

Meet Our Review Board

Each week our team researches, writes and collaborates with industry leaders to bring you simple easy-to-read sleep information.

David Bridge

Sleep Coach

Siddhesh Tiwatne

Sleep Coach

Authored by health experts and journalists

Fact checked and science-backed

Medically reviewed by physicians