Understanding deep sleep

Deep Sleep, (scientifically known as Slow Wave Sleep or SWS) is the the third sleep stage N3. The EEG (electroencephalogram), which measures brain electrical activity, is made of intense slow waves (their frequencies are comprised between 0.75 and 4Hz). We can therefore estimate the depth or the quality of sleep by measuring slow wave density, the presence of stage N1, the number of awakenings…

Slow Wave sleep is associated to a diminished physiological activity but is actively regulated by our brain. Broadly speaking, it has a homeostatic function : it plays a role in body and cognitive processes restoration. It cleans out the brain, diminishes stress effect and secrete essential hormones (like growth hormone). Studies showed people deprived of Slow Wave Sleep are more lethargic, experience muscle aches and are more to insulin resistance (pre-diabetic state).

It is significantly harder to wake up during Slow Wave Sleep than in any other sleep stage.

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