There Is more to be known about sleep that can help you with healing and recovery. In particular, Deep Sleep goes well with chiropractic care for deeper healing – including for back pain. When you have an injury or are on a treatment plan, if you’re not getting enough Deep Sleep, it’s going to take you longer to recover. Accordingly, if you know a few things about sleep, it can be a big boost. There is more to getting a good night’s sleep than just closing your eyes. I always encourage my patients to work towards more deep sleep in order to help recover and maintain their bodies.
Sleep stages are described as “Awake”, three stages of non-REM sleep – “Light” Sleep or Non-REM1 (NR1), Intermediate Sleep (NR2), “Deep Sleep” (NR3) and REM Sleep. You can be in bed with your eyes literally closed for 7 hours and still get only 5 hours of “productive” sleep, and maybe even less of the Deep sleep your body needs. Deep Sleep is actually typically only 10-20% of your entire sleep cycle (opinions will vary from resource to resource on this percentage, but it is always less than you might expect). Most adults need 1.5-2 hours of Deep Sleep per night, but you don’t always get down to it. This is why shorting yourself on sleep can impact your entire physiology.
Briefly, Light sleep is important and restful, but it is really just a transition phase. Core sleep, or Non-REM 2(NR2) is asleep. but your muscle tone and breathing is the same as when you are awake. Technically, you are not resting. Deep Sleep is the next non-REM phase (NR3) when your body does physiological functions like the release of hormones and repairing tissues. REM or “Rapid Eye Movement” sleep is the fourth phase, when your brain is actively processing cognitive functions, like when you are converting the material you studied all day into knowledge for tomorrow. Dreaming occurs in REM sleep. REM sleep is not restful sleep. For this reason, we are focusing here on Level 3, NR3, or “Deep Sleep”.
Deep sleep, also known as slow-wave sleep, is a crucial stage of our sleep cycle that aids in the healing and recovery of injuries. Brainwaves slow down during this phase. The body goes into overdrive to restore the damage done during the day, with cell regeneration, tissue growth, and repair occurring at accelerated rates.
Human growth hormone (HGH) – which plays a pivotal role in repairing tissues – is primarily secreted during deep sleep (NR3). This hormone accelerates your body’s metabolism of proteins, which are the primary building blocks for cell growth and repair. The increased protein synthesis and tissue repair that occur during deep sleep are crucial for healing injuries. Bones will be built during Deep sleep. Even strain and sprains, muscle trigger points, migraine patterns – even whiplash – can benefit from deep sleep.
Deep sleep is characterized by decreased blood pressure, heart rate, and metabolic rate. Collectively, these reduce the body’s energy expenditure and redirect resources towards the immune system. This boosts the production of immune cells, enhancing the body’s ability to combat infections and inflammation, further aiding the healing process. Deep sleep can help a chiropractic adjustment improve your function and vice-versa.
The deep sleep stage allows the brain to coordinate the complex interplay between different hormones and cells involved in healing and recovery. This coordination ensures that the healing process is efficient and effective, minimizing the time required for injury recovery. Deep sleep is a vital component of injury recovery, facilitating various biological processes that contribute to tissue repair, inflammation reduction, and immune function enhancement. Prioritizing quality sleep, therefore, can significantly improve healing outcomes and speed up recovery time following an injury. Deep sleep has an integral role in the body’s healing process.
Smart wearable devices like an Apple Watch, Oura Ring, or a less expensive FitBit can provide a lot of information. Many of these devices will show actual percentages of each stage that you are getting. if you are waking in the middle of the night, comparison with your particular sleep stages can provide helpful clues. At the same time, you don’t have to get a new toy in order to get to the deepest level of sleep. Sleep studies are sometimes available by referral, and some are even covered by insurance. Sometimes some basic advice can also make a difference. When you are in the clinic, let’s go over your options.
Blue Heron Clinic does not require you to mask. However, including with the latest variants, RSV and the Flu, people are still getting sick and knocked out for a week or more. As of this time (January 2024), staff is going to mask, while your mask is definitely optional. Staff is always vaccinated and boosted. We remain proactive to support folks who are immune compromised, have “Long Covid”, or need special considerations. Patients may wear their own mask at any time. If you would like a mask and don’t have one, we can provide it – but again, masking is optional. If you have flu-like symptoms, are sneezing or coughing or blowing, we may provide you with a mask, so we can continue to serve you better; feel free to mention this to us when you call in to confirm your appointment. You can access Chiropractic safely and securely at Blue Heron Chiropractic & Healing Arts Center, with Dr. Dana Sibilla, DC DABCO FIANM.
Want some more chiropractic reading? Try our prior blog on 5 to 7-minute Quick Standing Exercise Routines to help keep your body vital.