Deep Sleep Vs Light Sleep - How They're Different

Updated May, 2021
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Deep sleep and light sleep preform different functions in your nightly sleep cycle. While deep sleep takes up the majority of the process, light sleep is necessary to wake refreshed and rejuvenated. Though part of the same cycle, they're different and provide separate benefits.

What is light sleep?

Light sleep is the earliest stage of sleep. It takes place before deep and REM sleep, and is commonly referred to as non-REM or NREM. This is the stage of sleep during which it's easiest to wake, and it only takes up about 3% of our overall sleep cycle.

What is deep sleep?

Deep sleep takes up the majority of your sleep cycle. This is the time during which you become less responsive to outside stimuli. Your breathing and heart-rate slows, and this stage is where most vivid dreams take place. It's also the most vital part of sleep, where your body begins to undergo all the natural biological processes necessary during sleep.

Is light sleep good?

Yes. Though deep sleep gets all the credit, light sleep is an integral part of your good night's sleep. Some of the benefits of light sleep include:

  • Light sleep is necessary to wake feeling refreshed.
  • Dreams are less vivid. It's during light sleep that you are likely to have dreams you can control!
  • If you wake during the light sleep stages, you're more likely to feel happier and less groggy.

How much deep sleep should you get?

Not as much as you might think, though it's different for everyone. Most experts recommend getting between 1.5%-2% of deep sleep per night. However, it's important to note there are several factors that go into determining how much deep sleep you should get, including age, weight, and overall health. Getting enough deep sleep has been known to:

  • Decrease mental health issues
  • Increase overall health
  • Improve mood and productivity

What if you don't get enough deep sleep?

If you don't get enough sleep, you'll be less productive throughout your day. Those who don't get enough deep sleep generally have a weaker immune system, and are therefore more susceptible to illness. Also, not getting enough REM sleep has a correlation to mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety.  

Will a new mattress help me get deep sleep?

Investing in a new mattress helps you find the comfort you need to achieve REM sleep and increase your level of productive rest. If you're looking to help control your sleep environment and experience a more restful sleep, finding a new mattress is a wise step in the right direction.

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