In this second blog about insomnia, we will discuss deep sleep. We use the term “deep” to refer to any sleep that feels profound or heavy. According to SleepHelp.org, the specific meaning of deep sleep refers to stages 3 and 4 of the sleep cycle. Even though it’s normal to talk about sleeping deeply, here we’ll focus on the more particular meaning of “deep sleep.”
In stages 1 and 2 of the sleep cycle, we start to doze off and settle into sleep. In these stages, you still have more involved breathing and brain activity even though your body is beginning to slow these things down. For this reason, it is still referred to as fast-wave sleep.
In stages 3 and 4, your body moves into slow-wave sleep. This means that brain waves start to slow way down, including with delta waves, the slowest that the body produces. Virtually all systems of the body, including the heart and lungs, seem to slow down and rest at this point. It is much harder to be disturbed or woken up (such as from light or noise) when you are in deep sleep.
Towards the end of stage 4, the body begins to move into REM sleep. During REM sleep, brain activity picks up significantly. Though dreaming can happen in all stages, the most intense dream activity usually occurs during REM sleep. Because the body is ramping up from the slow down in stage 4 to the activity of REM sleep, the latter part of deep sleep is when many people, including children, experience sleep disturbances like nightmares, sleepwalking, night terrors, and bedwetting.
Check back for more about sleep and how to make improvements. Reach out if you have any questions or would like to discuss your sleep concerns: