We spend around one-third of our life sleeping but have you ever wondered, “How much sleep do we actually need?” Some might say 7-8 hours; some might argue that it depends on how old you are... etc. Well let’s start with a simple question “Why do we sleep?” Then we’ll go through more details into sleeping itself, deep sleep, and how much deep sleep do we need?
Why Do We Sleep?
Does this question ever come across your mind? Why do we sleep? Why do your dog and cats sleep? Surprisingly, did you know that most animals or even insects sleep as well? Sleep appears to be a must for all mammals and most other animals.
It might not make sense for human or animals to sleep, since it is when we are most vulnerable.“The cost of losing consciousness to survival is astronomical,” says Matthew Walker the director of the Center for Human Sleep Science at the University of California, Berkeley.
However, most people enjoy sleeping since sleeping is like recharging. You feel more energetic and sharp. In fact, sleep is beneficial to human in many ways, it is when your body repairs and rebuilds. Likewise, if you stay awake for way too long, you can die from heart failure, stress, and it might also damage your brain. Again, sleep plays a crucial part in our lives.
Sleeping stages are most commonly known as Stage 1-3(Non REM) and REM.
Dozing off while still being able to hear things and having somewhat sense of awareness is considered as stage 1. Stage 2 is when your memories started to process while your heart rate and breath drops slightly. Then stage 3 (deep sleep), is when your body is repairing and rebuilding itself. It is considered as one of the most important part of our sleeping cycle.
“If deep sleep is about body, then REM is about the brain,” says Dr. Grandner, the Director of the Sleep and Health Research Program at the University of Arizona. REM is where all the nightmares and sweet dreams come from.
Why is Deep Sleep Important?
Deep sleep is when your tissue repairs, your hormones release, and it detoxifies your blood and body. Without sleep, your immune system drops and the risk of catching a cold or diseases rise high. As a matter of fact, lack of sleep will significantly raise your risk of having Alzheimer’s disease as well. During deep sleep, the brain would clean out toxic protein that triggered Alzheimer’s. For this reason, not getting enough sleep is likely to risk yourself from accumulating those toxic proteins in your brain.
Studies shown that the shorter your sleep, the shorter your life is. For example, adults aged 45 years old or older who sleep less than 6 hours per night are 200% more likely to have a heart attack or stroke compared with those sleeping 7-8 hours per night. Similarly, after just one night of four or five hours’ sleep, your natural killer cells, the ones that attack the cancer cells drop by 70%.
How Much Deep Sleep Do We Need?
“Increasing amount of evidence indicate that sleep deprivation is harmful for the brain’s health and function” said Dr. Rudolph Tanzi, the vice-chair of Neurology and director of Genetics and Aging research at Massachusetts General Hospital.
The older we grow, we need less sleep than we used to. A newborn baby usually sleeps around 14-17 hours per day, while deep sleep is around 3-4 hours. Likewise, an adult usually needs around 7-9 hours of sleep while deep sleep is around 1.5-2 hours. The numbers drop drastically in half as we grow older. Deep sleep can’t actually be controlled. As can be seen, the most important thing is to get enough sleep and you’ll be able to maintain the proper hours of deep sleep for your body to rest.
After all if you can’t actually control how much deep sleep you’re getting every night, there are ways to improve your sleeping environment and sleep comfortably at night.
How to create the perfect sleeping environment?
If you are looking for ways to get a better night of sleep, creating a perfect sleeping environment might be a great solution.
Colours, noise, bed sheet fabrics are just a few elements that can affect your sleep. Eating any kind of food in bed should definitely be avoided. If your bed is messy and have too many things laying all over your bed, that will probably reduce your sleep quality too.
We have compiled all valuable information on the topic of sleeping environment and turned them into a FREE Ebook. It will definitely help you sleep better, click on the link below to download now.
As winter is just around the corner, staying warm during sleep also helps to put you to sleep.
Electric blanket and heating pad would be a necessity during winter time. If you want to learn more about why Wellcare’s electric blanket products offer maximum comfort, read this article on 4D DWF technology: a new innovation that infuses electric blankets with the perfect combination of warmth, comfort, and breathability.