How Much Deep Sleep Do You Need? A Deep Dive

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How Much Deep Sleep Do You Need? A Deep Dive

Just how much deep sleep do you need?

When most people think about health practices, the first examples that come to mind are exercise routines, hygiene and grooming, and healthy eating. However, your sleep habits play just as big of a role in your health.

Even if you keep up your other wellness-boosting activities regularly, a lack of sleep will take a serious toll on your overall health. This is why getting enough of the proper type of sleep is crucial for wellness.

Table of contents:

The Stages of Sleep

Most adults sleep for six to nine hours per night, depending on their age, personal habits, and preexisting health conditions. Throughout this period, the body goes through multiple stages of sleep that provide different benefits for your health.

The beginning of the sleep cycle is marked by light sleep, which is when your heart rate and breathing start to slow down from their waking paces. Your internal temperature will also start to drop, and your muscles will relax.

Over time, you will progress into deep sleep, which is when brain waves show slow frequency and high amplitude, and your body is fully at rest. This is followed by a period of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. During this stage, the brain is nearly as active as it is when awake, and most dreams take place during this period.

These stages repeat in multiple cycles throughout your night of sleep. Overall, most of your time spent sleeping will be in light sleep, while deep sleep and REM sleep will each comprise roughly 20% of your total night’s sleep.

Deep Sleep vs. REM Sleep: Which Is More Important?

Each sleep stage is an important part of getting the rest you need. However, the main goal of sleep is to rejuvenate the body’s systems and prepare for another day of activity. The majority of this happens during deep sleep.

Just how much deep sleep do you need? For most adults, roughly two hours of your night should be spent in deep sleep in order to reap all the benefits. We can’t directly control how long we spend in deep sleep, but we can encourage it by keeping up good health practices during waking hours and recognizing the lifestyle factors that might be hindering sleep.

What Factors Can Affect Your Sleep?

Even though your body needs a certain amount of deep sleep to function at its best, it’s not always easy to get the amount of deep sleep you need. A variety of health and lifestyle factors can make a difference in the quality of your sleep and have negative effects on your health as a whole.


Did you know that your need for sleep changes dramatically throughout your lifespan? While babies can need as many as 17 hours of sleep in a single night, our sleep requirements decline with age. Older adults tend to need less REM and deep sleep than younger or middle-aged adults do, and many seniors can feel their best with as few as five hours of sleep per night.


Your stress level plays a huge role in many aspects of health, and sleep is no exception. If you’ve had a busy few weeks at work or you’re going through a personal hardship, mental and physical stress can make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep.

Additionally, many people experiencing stress have stressful dreams, which can prevent their bodies from fully resting and relaxing during deep and REM sleep.


It’s no surprise that alcohol consumption can affect your body’s ability to function properly. Specifically, drinking alcohol before bed can affect the body’s transition between sleep stages, which can result in fewer hours of deep sleep than you need, even if you stay asleep for a normal amount of time.

Routine Changes

How much deep sleep do you need to feel rested?

When it comes to sleeping and wakefulness, the body craves routine. This is why it might feel difficult to recover after a night of little sleep when you usually get seven or eight hours.

If a new job, a new baby, or any other major life change has caused you to shift around your sleep schedule, you are probably feeling the effects. As your body is adjusting to your new routine, you may not be getting the amount of deep sleep you need.

Sleep Disorders

Even if you are otherwise healthy, sleep disorders, such as restless leg syndrome and sleep apnea, can significantly affect your ability to stay asleep and enter deep sleep.

When you’re waking up multiple times throughout the night, or your body is dealing with a sleep disorder symptom while asleep, you’re probably not spending the proper amount of time in deep sleep.

How Can I Tell If I’m Sleep Deprived?

How much deep sleep do you need to feel rested? Even if the amount may vary from person to person, your body will let you know if you didn’t spend enough time in deep sleep the night before. Here are some telltale signs to look out for.

Brain Fog

If you feel like you’re having an off day at work or school, and you just can’t seem to focus, you’re probably experiencing brain fog. Unlike REM sleep, the brain achieves a fully rested state during deep sleep. If your brain doesn’t get the rest it needs, you won’t feel as sharp or focused the next day.


When your brain is sleep-deprived, it will crave the quick dopamine hit that junk food can provide. However, when you need rest and recovery, make sure to reach for more balanced foods that will help your body feel its best even while you’re tired. 


If you have headaches, you may wonder how much deep sleep you need.

In some cases, a severe lack of sleep can cause physical discomfort or pain, and headaches are one of the most common forms. A headache caused by inadequate sleep may also come along with brain fog.

While the best way to treat this type of headache is to get plenty of sleep the next night, you can also treat it in the short term by drinking enough water, eating healthy meals, and taking over-the-counter pain medication.

Urge to Nap

Taking a nap can be a luxurious form of self-care, especially for busy people who usually don’t have time. However, if you’re feeling a strong need to take a nap, it could be because you’re not getting your sleep needs met at night.

While naps can be a good supplement for rest once in a while, your nightly sleep should be enough to sustain you throughout the day. As long as you’re spending the right amount of time in deep sleep, you shouldn’t feel like you need a nap in between nights of sleep.

Benefits of Deep Sleep

Everyone can agree that sleep is good for you, but what are the specific benefits? Deep sleep, in particular, offers the majority of sleep’s health-boosting characteristics, both in the short term and the long term. Since we are answering the question “how much deep sleep do you need,” let’s also take a look at the benefits of this kind of sleep.

Boosts Cognitive Function and Supports Memory

Sleeping is a chance for your body to fully rest, but this period is even more essential for your brain. All day, your brain is continuously taking in and processing new information, which takes a lot of energy.

Your brain rests and rejuvenates itself during deep sleep, which gets it ready to perform at peak ability the next day. This includes taking in new information at top speeds as well as forming new memories effectively and easily accessing old ones.

Increases Growth Hormone

Deep sleep is when the body creates and releases new growth hormones. These essential hormones play a key role in building, repairing, and replacing sore and damaged muscle, bone, and other tissue. This process is important for everyone, but especially for athletes and others who are engaging in strenuous physical activity daily.

Boosts Immune System

When your body hasn’t rested properly, it won’t be able to support certain functions as well as it normally would.

The immune system is a prime example of this, which is why you might get sick more often when you aren’t sleeping as much. When you prioritize deep sleep, your immune system may be more likely to protect you from various illnesses.

Replenishes Energy and Encourages Productivity

In simple terms, getting enough deep sleep will give you more energy, both physically and mentally. You’ll feel more ready to take on your day and be fully engaged in your tasks when your brain has had the chance to recuperate from the previous day.

What If You Don’t Sleep Enough?

We explored the symptoms you might notice when you don’t spend enough time in deep sleep, but how can your health actually change when this happens? It’s important to understand how your health could be at risk if you don’t prioritize sleep as much as you should. 

Short-Term Effects

In general, the short-term effects of poor sleep are more inconvenient than damaging. For example, if you have a night of inadequate sleep before a work presentation or a test at school, you probably won’t function optimally or see the best result. However, if it only happens once in a while, you shouldn’t see any serious adverse health effects.

Long-Term Effects

If you get chronically poor sleep, it could make a significant difference in your wellness over time. This is especially true for kids, adolescents, and young adults, as a lack of deep sleep can negatively affect mental health.

Adults are also at risk for slowdowns in brain development and cognitive health when they don’t get enough deep sleep. Additionally, a lack of sleep on a regular basis could make your body more susceptible to disease or developing physical issues.

Tips for Increasing Deep Sleep

Now that you understand how important deep sleep is for your health, you may be wondering what you can do to encourage it. You may not be able to force your body through the different cycles of sleep, but you can make the conditions optimal for the sleep cycle to occur naturally. Here are a few of our top tips.

Keep an Exercise Routine

Exercising helps to promote effective rest by releasing the hormones that induce deep sleep. You may feel extra energized and alert for a few hours after your workout, which is why you should avoid scheduling it right before bed. However, if you take the time to get active, you’ll likely have an easier time falling and staying asleep later on. 

Don’t Consume Caffeine in the Evening

Caffeine is a quick fix for increasing your energy when you’re tired, which is why many people rely on it during the day after a night of poor sleep. Just don’t consume it too close to bedtime, as it could make your next night of sleep even less productive.

Create a Wind-Down Routine

With your busy schedule, your body and mind are active all day long, which can lead to racing thoughts as you try to sleep. Take the time to calm your mind and body with evening wellness practices like meditating, taking a bath, doing yoga, or listening to soothing music. This is also a great time to power off your phone for the night.

Optimize Your Sleep Environment

If the environment you’re sleeping in isn’t comfortable, you may be more likely to have fitful sleep or wake up multiple times throughout the night. Keep your room at around 60 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid overheating, and make sure it’s dark and quiet so you aren’t disturbed during your sleep.

Create Well-Rounded Health With Clean Juice

Getting proper sleep is extremely important for health as a whole. However, your wellness is made up of many parts, and they all have to be supported in order to feel your best inside and out.

Get started on your health journey with cold-pressed juices, smoothies, sandwiches, bowls, and more at Clean Juice. Eating to fuel your body has never been this delicious or this easy! Order your next meal straight to your door by finding your nearest Clean Juice today.


Disclaimer: The information presented here is for educational purposes only and is in no way intended as a substitute for medical counseling. Consult your doctor before using any health treatment, including natural remedies, and tell your doctor if you have a serious medical condition or are taking any medications.

If you’re unsure how much deep sleep you need, ask your doctor.