Deep Sleep: Stages and How Much You Need

Sleep is a natural healer. Many of the body’s restorative processes take place while we sleep.

Sleep also happens in several stages, each crucial to our holistic well-being. In this article, we narrow our focus to arguably the most important sleep phase – deep sleep.

Sleep Stages Explained

Sleep takes place in two main phases – non-rapid eye movement (NREM) and rapid eye movement (REM). Non-rapid eye movement is further divided into three stages – NREM Stage 1 (N1), NREM Stage 2 (N2), and NREM Stage 3 (N3).

A typical sleep cycle begins with N1, proceeds through N3, and then winds up at the REM stage before starting all over again.

You’re probably now wondering, how much deep sleep do you need?

The best way to answer that question is to understand what deep sleep constitutes.

What Is Deep Sleep?

Deep sleep is the third stage of sleep (N3). It’s also known as slow-wave sleep or delta sleep. That’s because this sleep phase is marked by the brain’s release of long electrical signals, known as slow waves or delta waves.

Delta waves have a frequency between 0.5 to 2 Hertz.

What Happens During Deep Sleep?

Deep sleep is the phase during which the body is most rested, and waking up becomes exceedingly difficult. If you’re woken during deep sleep, you’re likely to experience grogginess and disorientation.


Virtually all physiological processes are also at their lowest activity levels as you go through slow-wave sleep. The heartbeat slows down, leading to a significant reduction in blood pressure, breathing, and muscle activity.

What Are the Benefits of Deep Sleep?

Although blood pressure drops dramatically during deep sleep, N3 sleep is marked by increased blood flow to the muscles and tissues. This can accelerate the repair of microscopic damages sustained from strenuous physical activities during the daytime.

Deep sleep also aids the production of growth hormones, such as adrenocorticotropic hormone, thyroid-stimulating hormone, and follicle-stimulating hormone. It’s an especially important sleep stage for children and teens in their active growth phases.

Last but not least, during deep sleep, the brain flushes out toxins from the body. No wonder people who have more deep sleep tend to demonstrate immunity.

How Much Deep Sleep Do You Need?

A normal adult requires between 7 and 9 hours of restful sleep every night. Deep sleep accounts for about 20% of the total sleep duration.

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Therefore, you need around 1.5 – 2 hours of N3 sleep every night. The more, the better. But if you’re still struggling to manage your sleep cycles, how to go about it? Ouraring App can help.

It’s also worth noting that deep sleep lasts 45 to 90 minutes for each sleep cycle (from N1 – REM sleep). This duration is longer during the first half of the night. However, it’s not ideal for every user to experience a swift sleep cycle. That’s when the app discussed above can help. So, what do people have to say about it?

What People Have to Say About Ouraring

While we’re at it, one of the Ouraring App users states that listening to sleep stories in the app helped them sleep quickly even after waking up in the middle of the night.


Yet another individual using the app acknowledged the importance of their sleep cycle and how it helped their deep sleep, followed by another who stated the significance of exercising and the adverse effects of alcohol on deep sleep.

While Ouraring helps numerous users understand the intricacies related to multiple sleep stages, adhering to the app’s tips and understanding user-specific data have assisted many in their quest to determine a robust sleep cycle.


Deep sleep is the most important sleep phase. But since it’s challenging to know when you’re transitioning to N3 sleep, the conventional wisdom is to ensure you get 7 – 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night.

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