The benefits of deep sleep range from feeling well-rested throughout the day to physical recovery and the enhancement of heart health. Sufficient time spent in the stages of deep sleep is essential for a good night’s sleep. Learn more about four key benefits of deep sleep and how to ensure you are getting enough of it.
Deep sleep is restorative for your body.
Deep sleep is what makes you feel refreshed when you wake up in the morning, explains the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Stage 3 non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep is the period of sleep considered deep sleep, in which your breathing and heartbeat slow down the most during sleep. During this phase, the body builds muscle and bone while repairing and regenerating tissues, according to Cleveland Clinic.
Deep sleep promotes heart health.
“A good night’s rest has numerous health benefits,” Anthony Puopolo, MD and Chief Medical Officer at RexMD, tells WebMD Connect to Care. “It can help you maintain a healthy heart because your heart rate slows, which gives the heart a chance to repair itself. Deep sleep can also lower blood pressure.” Furthermore, long-term lack of sleep can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, Mayo Clinic notes.
Deep sleep promotes your short- and long-term memory.
Deep sleep promotes learning by solidifying your short- and long-term memory. When you learn new information, your brain temporarily stores it. Deep sleep helps turn that new information into stronger, lasting memories. Deep sleep is therefore essential for retaining new information and keeping it for the long term. People who don’t get enough sleep can have trouble with their memory, particularly older adults.
Deep sleep supports your immune system.
Deep sleep can help you stay healthy and fight off infections. “Your immune system also benefits from deep sleep because your body will produce immune cells and antibodies that can help fight disease,” Puopolo explains.
Mayo Clinic also notes that a lack of sleep can affect your immune system. During sleep, cytokines, which are a type of protein that helps support your immune system, are released. Sleep deprivation, which includes a lack of deep sleep, can decrease the number of protective cytokines being produced, as well as the number of antibodies and cells available to fight off infections.
Getting enough deep sleep and spending adequate amounts of time in all stages of sleep is essential for your health. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke offers the following tips for improving the quality of your sleep:
- Maintain a sleep schedule—go to bed and wake up at the same times each day.
- Exercise for at least 20 to 30 minutes daily.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine late in the day and before bed.
- Create a relaxing bedtime routine that may include taking a warm bath or reading.
- Create a dark, quiet sleep environment that isn’t too hot or cold.
- Don’t have any screens, including TV or computers, in your bedroom.
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