How much deep sleep do you need?

Sleep like a rose. When someone is sleeping soundly, red blushes sometimes appear on the cheeks. The red color of a rose. This proverb refers to the  deep sleep, one of the four sleep phases that man has. But how much deep sleep do you need exactly?

The Essential Importance of Sleep

It has been scientifically established for a long time that sleep is extremely important for our health. It plays an essential role in energy conservation, recovery and survival. Furthermore, sleep has a lot of vital functions. These include learning, emotional regulation, and the removal of toxins from our cells, for example. To perform all these functions, sleep is made up of cycles. The same cycle is repeated four to five times a night.

Fast vs non-fast eye movements

One cycle consists of four phases. Within these four phases, there are fundamentally two types of sleep to be distinguished. On the one hand, you have Rapid Eye Movement – (REM) sleep, and on the other hand, Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) sleep. During REM sleep, we are actively dreaming, also known as dream sleep. This does not apply to NREM sleep: then our body recovers.

Deep sleep

What is deep sleep good for?

To make this recovery possible, NREM sleep uses three unique phases. These three phases are chronologically the slumber phase (1), the light sleep (2) and the deep sleep (3). About 15 to 20% of our total night’s sleep consists of deep sleep. And when we are sleeping so deeply, the body repairs our body tissues and stimulates new growth at the cellular level. Also, deep sleep replenishes our energy levels.

Slow brain waves

These sleep phases were once discovered through the use of an electroencephalogram (EEG). An EEG is a study in which brain activity is measured using the electrical waves of the brain. Different sleep phases involve different types of brain activity. During deep sleep, slow wave patterns can be seen on the EEG. That is why we call deep sleep the slow wave sleep (SWS).

What is the quality of your deep sleep?

The intensity of the SWS waves is a measure of the quality of deep sleep. And this intensity has a genetic factor. To come back to the question of exactly how much deep sleep you need: that differs per person. For example, young children need it more than adults. The quality of your deep sleep also plays a role. The better the quality, the less you will need. In our Somnogenomics report, we look at this genetic factor to give you insight into this.

A sleep-inducing substance

To be precise, we look at a variation in the ADA gene that can differ from person to person. This gene makes the so-called adenosine deaminase (ADA) enzyme, which is responsible for the breakdown of the substance adenosine. Adenosine, in turn, induces drowsiness. The more ADA enzyme your body makes, the faster adenosine is broken down.

If you have the variant rs73598374 in your ADA gene, the ADA enzyme breaks down adenosine more slowly. In addition to increased sleepiness, this means that you sleep more deeply compared to the people without the variant. This deeper sleep is accompanied by a better quality.

Find out how deeply you sleep!

Do you want to find out the quality of your deep sleep ? With our Somnogenomis report, that is no longer a far-from-my-bed show. We also give you insights into, among other things, your predisposition to be a morning or evening person, your predisposition to sleep need and duration, and your resistance to sleep deprivation.