This is The Most Important Sleep Phase
A full sleep cycle is made up of four different stages of sleep and lasts around 90 minutes. While the amount of time you spend in each one varies through the night and each one is important, the deep sleep phase, sometimes known as the N3 stage, is arguably the most important.
The four stages of each sleep cycle are N1, N2, N3 or deep sleep and REM sleep. Although REM, which is associated with dreaming, is often considered to be the deepest and most valuable phase of sleep, it’s the deep sleep stage before you enter into REM which is critical for overall health and wellbeing. If you’ve ever heard the term sleep deprivation, it’s this phase that experts are referring to. If you’re considered sleep deprived, it’s likely that you’re not getting enough deep sleep, the time when the brain and body really resets and repairs. If you’re not getting enough deep sleep, everything can suffer, including memory, mood, hormonal balance and even physical performance.
According to The Sleep Foundation, you typically get the most deep sleep during the first half of the night, so it’s important to go to bed at a good time to ensure you get plenty of good quality sleep early on. Other things you can do to increase deep sleep are exercise regularly, reduce your stress and limit your alcohol and caffeine intake, the latter especially after lunch and as bedtime approaches.