Science vouches that as we get older we also undergo a systematic reduction in our total sleep duration per day. In relation to deep sleep, it is found that in our 20s, we spend 20% time in deep sleep whible in 50s, the same is halved. Simply put, an octogenarian achieves a bare minimum of 5% deep or the restorative phase of sleep. Nevertheless, Deep Sleep disorder is merely a side effect of old age, like wrinkling of skin.
Is it right to say that elderly have no deep sleep?
Deep sleep is important because it comprises of the last stages of sleep where our brain commands to repair the day’s malfunctions in the body.
What is Deep Sleep Disorder?
Akin to most somnipathies, erratic sleep duration is the most common deciding factor of deep sleep disorder. Comprising of Stage III and Stage IV of sleep where Rapid Eye Movements (REM) happens, deep sleep is also termed as slow wave sleep, N3 or Delta Wave Sleep. Drifting into deep sleep is notable owing to its preceding fast wave sleep. Mostly, people do not wake up from deep sleep phase due to the same. When they do, they suffer from Sleep Inertia.
If a person suffers from the so-called sleep debt the following day, the day also ends with a double-the-previous-day sleep in order to compensate for the lost deep sleep owing to sleep debt. For some people, the same leads to sleepiness during the day and they end up taking power naps, without deep sleep. Lack of deeper sleep becomes a disorder when there is a chronic escapism from the stage of deep sleep.
The Stage III sleep waves are aimed at tissue repair in adults while enhancing rate of physical growth in children. The process starts with secreting the growth hormone in the beginning of deep sleep, which revitalizes the body and keeps it asleep. Our brain activity, including of adrenaline secretions and blood pressure descends during the same. From the activities you engage during the day, to other sleep problems within you, there can be many catalysts of deep sleep disorder.
How to identify the symptoms of Deep Sleep?
From endless yawns to drowsiness after waking up, there are many signals that our body tends to give when we there is a lack of deep sleep. The dramatic sleep stage of dream sleep is also the stage where all oddities happen.
· Daytime Drowsiness
The most common symptom of people suffering from lack of deep sleep is how their waking hours are blurred with sleep inertia. Owing to the lack of restorative sleep, your day becomes too much to handle. ‘Sleep drunkenness’ is yet another paradigm of lack of deep sleep.
· Lack of Energy
Fatigue is a common signal of chronic deep sleep issue. If your body has not undergone the necessary repairs to rejuvenate and strengthen your cells, how can you metabolize or gain energy?
The major reason behind the erratic metabolism is the disturbance to the circadian rhythm of the body.
A common occurrence for those suffering from lack of deep sleep, migraines are excruciating in this case. Our body results in an undue count of proteins when deep sleep is unattained. This is the same reason, restorative sleep also known for sustaining or generating chronic pain.
Cluster headaches are also commonly seen among the patients suffering from lack of deep sleep.
Chemicals in the brain along with hypertension and lack of oxygen, waking up with a headache becomes religious for people who lack deep sleep.
· Memories and Sleep debt
One of the most important processes during deep sleep is storing and registering memories as well as the expansion of memories based on the happenings during the day. When you lack deep sleep, your brain is confounded without registering the memories. On top of the sleep debt, your memories are often lost in the same irritability.
· Psychiatric Depressive Illness
Depression is another direct cause of lack of deep sleep. Many varieties of study over the past half a century has reported that lack of deep sleep tends to create a irritability in the person, in addition to disorientation. Clubbed together, these two account for serious psychiatric illnesses when they occur along with any parasomnia.
Factually, for people who have half the total deep sleep time (45 minutes against 90 minutes), the extremity of depression differs.
These are short spasms of sleep, where the person is seldom aware of falling asleep. The sleeper usually wakes up believing to have winked or thought over something long. These short tremors of sleep are a reminder that your body has not had enough of deep sleep.
· Lack of Dreams
Another important realization of people without deep sleep is the lack of dreams. The state of dreaming helps people to settle their memories in a negative or positive light. Without dreams, there is a haphazard or jaded registration of thoughts. It helps to regulate negative emotions into self–defining memories relating to older experiences relevant to the same.
In addition, the Mortality rate of a person significantly decreases due to lack of deep sleep. Yet another misnomer that is a subset of causes of lack of deep sleep is RBD or REM sleep Behavior Disorder. Narcoleptics display a lack of deep sleep and there is a faint relation between lack of deep sleep and occurrence of narcolepsy.
Is lack of Deep sleep serious?
Accounting for about 20%- 30% of total sleep phase, deep sleep is a necessary part of our healthy living. When the stage of deep sleep begins, our brain goes into a slomo mode and the rest of the bodily organs follow. The relaxed state is a charging state where the
- kidneys begin to cleanse all the blood
- detoxification within the body occurs
- Preparation for the next stage of REM Sleep.
Furthermore, our dead cells are replaced and wounds begin to heal alongside the muscle tissues.
Within each subset of deep sleep is a responsibility to repair, renew or heal. If you happen to sleep too less, then your immune system weakens along with your mind and collapses. Often, REM sleep is termed along with deep sleep and is known for introducing dreams into the sleeper.
Process of Sleep and Deep Sleep
Ideally, a person must have 20% of Stage III sleep and 20% of Stage IV REM Sleep or 40% total of deep sleep.
To test how long you enter deep sleep, it is better to have your spouse or roommate observe you after 1 hour into sleep. The assistant should try to wake you up and measure the depth of your sleep from your reflexes, break of sleep or waking up. When a person suddenly jerks awake in REM sleep stage, many oddities can happen. From sleep talking to seeing ghosts, any improper transitioning from deep sleep to wakefulness can lead to dangerous sleep disorders. The person might wake up during the dreaming stage and act out his or her dreams without being aware of the activity.
Every night we engage in five cycles of REM sleep, which begin roughly after 90 minutes into sleep. The first REM phase lasts for 5 minutes and is succeeded by secretion of Human Growth Hormone or HGH. The total deep sleep cycles take 90 minutes. During the process, the cerebrospinal fluid that is strictly outside the blood-brain barrier circulates within the brain. The same is also a minor removal of Alzheimer’s disease in its early stages.
Ways to Treat Deep Sleep Disorder naturally
When we do not acquire enough growth hormone during the first stage of sleep, it takes longer for the physical and mental body to heal. It is true to say that a good night’s sleep is the best remedy to treating your deep sleep disorder.
From nicotine to alcohol and caffeine, there are many natural ways to curb your inability to drift off into deep sleep.
· Transition Routine
Commonly known as the sleep routine this can comprise of any actionable steps that tune your biological clock to heighten its melatonin secretion. Ages since we have heard about changing into sleep clothes, brushing and saying the Goodnight Kiss and Prayer as the most common sleep routines.
These actions help our body to habituate itself to a synchronized routine for sleep. When you follow the same sleep schedule, you begin to develop a consistently deep sleep routine as well.
· Mattress and Pillow Health
One of the omnipotent requirements of people suffering from sleep disorders, mattresses ought to be chosen according to trial-and-error-method. Universally, too firm and too plush mattresses are impolitic. A mattress must provide support for the body than impact it. Hence, one must use a mattress that conforms to one’s own body. Using multiple pillows is imprudent as one pillow is perfect to keep your sleep posture perfect. However, depending on your needs to the neck, pelvis and elevation for legs, you must use appropriately plush pillows.
· Sleeping Room Ethics
An important aspect of mentally preparing your body for deep sleep starts with making your bedroom appealing for sleep. The basic ethics suggest avoiding TVs and other entertainment options in the bedroom. The room that you sleep must automatically make you feel drowsy. Same is why sage green and likewise soothing paint hues are advised for bedrooms.
· Massage to Sleep
An effortless way to drift off to deep sleep is to ask your spouse to give you a massage when you fall asleep. If your partner has the habit of waking whenever you wake up, it is good if you can massage each other (get massaged, most importantly) and drift back to sleep. Deep sleep is hard to attain if you have a habit of waking up in the middle of the night, but massages help to keep your body properly circulated with blood to provide deeper sleep.
· Tuning into Deep Sleep
It is highly recommended to use calming down scents that are welcoming to slumber. One of the best ways to make your bedroom smell sleep is by misting lavender water in and around the bed that you sleep in.
Sleep teas that are infused with chamomile are an ancient recipe to deep sleep.
· Bath before Bed
Yet another granny’s wise recipes, having a hot bath before bed helps to increase your skin temperature, which tends to lower your body temperature. The sudden drop in temperature, suggests your brain that your body is ready to crash. The best advice is to take a hot bath, half an hour before bed. In contrast, if you belong to the hot and humid climate, bathing in lukewarm water will bring down your body heat and even it to lukewarm temperature for a long and deep sleep.
· Banana in Warm Milk
One of the supreme melatonin foods, having bananas before bed will induce drowsiness in your body and suggest the brain to drift off to sleep. As banana also contains tryptophan, warm milk and banana makes the best healthiest sleeping pill to have.
If you’re not aware of your mental health and biological clock, recognizing deep sleep disorder is difficult. There are two ways to determine if you have deep sleep disorder- Polysomnogram or Jawbone Up App. The former studies brain waves and patterns during sleep by connecting medical apparatus with the head while the latter is an android application. The app lets you measure your total sleep and deep sleep based on the movements that a person makes during sleep.
With science suggesting that men with lack of deep sleep are most prone to sleep apnea and sleeplessness, there are many underlying causes of lack of deep sleep. From sleep cycle discipline of psychologically setting sleep in physical body to lifestyle choices, there are multiple ways to ensure that you are accounted healthy deep sleep each night.
Listening to a soothing and husky voice on tape reading a bedtime story is yet another bright idea to help you enter deep sleep and stay within!