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What is Deep Sleep, and Why Does it Matter?

What is Deep Sleep, and Why Does it Matter?

Those who have sleep apnea may experience dozens of interruptions to their sleep each hour of the night. As the breathing passages close off, the lack of oxygen triggers the brain to make you wake up so you can start breathing again.

While individuals with sleep apnea typically wake up gasping for breath, they fall back asleep almost instantly. As a result, people with sleep apnea generally don’t realize they have this condition unless they have a spouse who notices their symptoms or they get tested because they feel tired all the time.

Because you fall back asleep so quickly after these incidents, you may not think that sleep apnea is such a big deal. However, the constant awakenings during the night have a major impact on your sleep quality — mainly because they keep you from getting deep sleep.

What is Deep Sleep?

sleeping person

The average adult needs seven to nine hours of sleep each night. As part of this, there are several different sleep stages that the body will cycle through.

The sleep cycle starts with “Stage 1” non-REM sleep as the body transitions from wakefulness to sleep. This lasts for just a few minutes before the body transitions to stage 2, when core temperature drops, eye movements stop, and brain waves slow down.

Next comes Stages 3 and 4 of non-REM sleep, when deep sleep occurs. This period is also known as slow wave sleep because the brain waves are at the slowest they will be during the entire time you are asleep. Breathing and heartbeat also reach their slowest points. Because of this, it is hard for most people to wake up during this stage — even if a loud noise occurs.

While only 13 to 23 percent of the night is spent in deep sleep, it is vital for your health. Deep sleep promotes healthy glucose metabolism and the secretion of important hormones from the pituitary gland. During deep sleep, your body is able to restore energy, repair tissues and regenerate cells, and strengthen the immune system. This is also when your brain processes information from the day into your memory.

After about 90 minutes of non-REM sleep, your body enters REM sleep, which is when you dream as the body gets closer to its waking state. After REM sleep, the cycle starts again.

What Happens When You Don’t Get Enough Deep Sleep?

tired man

Because sleep apnea can cause you to wake up every few minutes, it essentially keeps you in the early stages of non-REM sleep throughout the night. You never get to the deep sleep phase, which keeps you from feeling truly rested and recovered from the day.

While poor sleep quality will naturally leave you feeling fatigued and irritable, the long-term effects can result in significant health complications. When the brain is unable to process the day’s events during deep sleep, you may experience memory problems and have trouble retaining new information.

Poor sleep quality has been linked to several serious health problems, including Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

While the amount of deep sleep you get naturally decreases as you get older, sleep apnea can prevent you from getting any deep sleep. Remember, it’s not about the number of hours you slept. Seven hours of frequently interrupted Stage 1 non-REM sleep is far inferior to being able to go through multiple sleep cycles during the night.

Why a CPAP Machine is Vital For Restoring Deep Sleep

CPAP machine

If you regularly wake up feeling exhausted, you may need to get tested for sleep apnea. This is typically performed at a specialty sleep lab, though at-home testing is also available. These tests monitor your breathing rate, brain waves, oxygen levels, and so on throughout the night, enabling doctors to determine if you have sleep apnea or another disorder.

Based on the severity of your sleep apnea, specialists will provide a prescription for a CPAP machine, which provides a constant flow of air throughout the night. The prescribed air pressure, delivered by a properly fitting face mask, keeps your breathing passages open so you don’t experience sleep apnea.

As a result, you will be able to cycle through the stages of non-REM and REM sleep so your body and mind can fully recover from the day.

By getting enough deep sleep, you will feel adequately rested in the morning. You will be able to think clearly and concentrate on your daily tasks. Your mood and overall health will improve, as you will have the energy you need for your daily activities. Most importantly, you will protect yourself from potential health complications that can result from consistently poor sleep.

Get the Quality Sleep You Need With Help Medical Supplies

With a CPAP machine prescription, you are one step closer to getting the uninterrupted rest you need to enter deep sleep. Despite the well-documented impact these devices can have on improving sleep quality, some people are understandably concerned because of the price — particularly when insurance coverage for CPAP equipment isn’t the best.

This is where Help Medical Supplies makes a difference. In addition to providing discounted prices on CPAP machines, masks, and other equipment from leading brands like ResMed and Philips Respironics, we also offer financing on purchases of $500 or more. Free shipping is available for all orders over $89.

With the right CPAP equipment, you can enjoy deep sleep and feel truly rejuvenated in the morning. Place your order today!


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