One of the easiest ways to help the body heal and rejuvenate is through REM and deep sleep. You may be on your bed with your eyes shut and unconscious of your surroundings for 7 to 9 hours every night but that is just not enough!
You need to optimise your sleep and get the minimum hours required of REM and deep sleep for repair, rejuvenation, and detoxification.
Many believe that as you get older, fewer hours of sleep are required and this is simply not true. As you age, you may have a hard time falling asleep and reach those 5 stages of deep sleep due to raging cortisol or too much exposure to blue light.
But what is deep sleep anyways? Isn’t it the same as REM sleep? And what really happens when you’re sleeping?
5 STAGES OF SLEEP
There are 5 stages of sleep, and it includes REM sleep or rapid eye movement and Non-REM (NREM) sleep. A study showed that deep sleep should be about 13%-23% of your total sleep but remember that you should be getting 7-9hours of sleep per day. So, 90 minutes is the minimum amount of deep sleep that you should be getting.
This is when you shift from being awake to being asleep. It is a light stage of sleep, and this is when you can wake up easily.
It is also when respiration begins to drop and eye movements and brain waves start to slow down which decreases brain activity and sensory stimulations. Your muscles here also relax with the occasional contraction.
It may last for a few minutes as the body prepares for stage 2.
Sleep here is more stable. Your body temperature decreases, and your breathing and heartbeat continues to slow down, eye movement stops, and brain waves become much slower.
This is the stage where people spend most of their time during the sleep cycle.
In this stage, the sleep is deeper, and it is also referred as “slow wave sleep” (SWS) or delta sleep.
It is hard to wake up during this stage and if you do, you may feel weak, disoriented and unsteady for a few minutes. It is also the stage where sleepwalking may occur.
There’s zero muscle activity or eye movement and your heart and breathing rate are at their lowest.
This stage is a much deeper stage of sleep, and it is known as the “healing stage”. This is when you will experience the benefits of deep sleep like increased growth hormone (GH) secretion, robust immune system, improve overall hormones, muscle repair, and restore cellular energy.
Remember that GH is absolutely essential for healing, and it can be a game-changer for building muscle mass, burn fat and boosting metabolism too!
STAGE 5 (REM SLEEP)
This is when REM sleep occurs. The first cycle of REM starts at about 90 minutes after you fall asleep and it typically lasts for 10 minutes, and it recurs every 90 minutes. Later REM stages get longer and may last up to an hour. It is also the closest to a wakeful state.
Your body will be paralysed momentarily with a little bit of twitching in the fingers, legs or face. Breathing, heart rate and brain activity begin to increase.
Rem sleep should be 20%-25% of your total sleep or 2-4 hours.
You can use numerous devices to measure your REM and deep sleep. If it’s not optimal, here are a few reasons why:
1. Alcohol before bed
The body should be focused on repairing and rebuilding during sleep but when it detects chemicals and toxins like ethanol, it will prioritise removing them through detoxification. More work for the body!
2. Going to bed after 10PM
The best time to get into a deeper level of sleep is before 10 PM.
3. Higher level of stress
Increased cortisol and norepinephrine mean less melatonin. Melatonin helps the body reach that deep sleep.
4. Bedroom temperature
Being too hot or too cold at night can affect deep sleep.
5. Blue light exposure
Your body needs to detect that it is nighttime in order to decrease the production of cortisol and increase melatonin. Blue light blocking glasses can help you with that and you can get a really good quality one from Foxman’s frame! You’ll even get a 5% discount using the code HEALWITHPAULA5 at checkout!
6. Dysregulated blood sugar
Dips in blood sugar can cause you to wake up at night and disrupt your sleep so make sure you’re working on balancing those blood sugar levels!
7. Hormonal imbalances
Fluctuations of thyroid, testosterone, cortisol, progesterone, melatonin, and/or growth hormone can all affect the quality of your sleep. A lack of sleep will then cause further hormonal imbalances so get your hormones within check!
BENEFITS OF DEEP & REM SLEEP
It protects the body from one of the main causes of mortality which is inflammation. It will also improve overall hormone balance – thyroid, adrenal, natural sex hormones, etc.
It can boost your energy and mood, give you stronger endurance, and help repair muscles.
You will also have a better mental cognitive performance – you don’t have to worry about short- or long-term memory loss!
It also promotes healthy levels of blood sugar, increases blood supply to all the tissues in your body and boosts secretion of growth hormones (GH). We know how vital GH is!
If you don’t wake up energised, then it’s also a great indication that you’re not tapping into deep and REM sleep long enough.
Without your health, you don’t have anything! So, it is important to start tracking your deep and REM sleep with a device if you haven’t done so already!
Sleep is essential to our overall well-being, and it is the easiest way to start your health journey! However, closing your eyes and getting into a light sleep is just not enough. You should be getting enough of that deep and REM sleep.
If you deprive your body of sleep, it can cause rapid aging, memory troubles, weight gain, lower metabolism, imbalanced blood sugar levels, inflammation and more.
Tapping into that deep sleep and REM sleep requires a little bit of lifestyle change and as an integrative health practitioner, it is my responsibility to guide and help you on that!
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