Updated: Oct 11, 2021
In this third instalment of my Deep Sleep series, you will discover the vital benefits of Deep Sleep… and a little-known master key that makes it possible: the humble biological concept of homeostasis.
Do you ever feel that the demands of modern life are a bit excessive? I’m with you. In my opinion, we have become too stressed, too busy, and far too ignorant of the causes of our dis-ease. Because, as you are about to find out, an alarming number of our physical and mental health complaints share one common cause: a lack of Deep Sleep.
If we can understand the underlying problem, we can find the solution. And that is exactly what I have been investigating over the past years. In this post you will discover a shortcut to the master key I found on this quest.
Let me tell you my story…
After turning 50, I noticed that my sleep patterns had changed. Unlike before, it was taking me a long time to fall asleep. And then, I would wake often, only to struggle to fall asleep again. I soon learned this is called Shallow Sleep Syndrome. And it was not working for me.
I realized I had accumulated so much tension and stress in my body that sleep was eluding me. And not only that, but I was also suffering from hormone-related symptoms. These two issues were feeding each other in a vicious circle. Brain fog. Fatigue. Aches and pains. Memory loss. Hair loss. And to top it all off, unwelcome signs of premature aging. Yes, even more little worries to keep me up at night. So, there I was, in and out of anxiety-induced, shallow sleep!
Fueled by my lifelong desire to live at my optimal natural state, I acquired knowledge and skills to understand and heal my changing body. (That optimal natural state is homeostasis, and it is the master key to not only Deep Sleep, but overall health and wellbeing. But more about homeostasis later…)
Initially, in perimenopause, applying this knowledge was relatively easy. My body responded very quickly to minor changes in diet and exercise. Then, as I fully entered menopause, my body response became slower and slower. And it continued to worsen, until I did not know nor understand my body at all.
It was not a pretty picture!
My ongoing quest to restore my sleep patterns led me to research, reflection and deeper investigation of different healing modalities. My professional experience, both as a forensic psycho-physiologist and a Biodanza facilitator, cast further light on the mysteries of Deep Sleep. As I experimented with my findings, I found my way back to quality, Deep Sleep. My symptoms turned around, making way for newfound vitality.
Believe you me, I know what it’s like to lack Deep Sleep. I also know what a difference it makes to solve this problem. And, at last, I know how.
That is why I am committed to helping others facing the same problem. The trouble is, they might not even know that this is the one underlying problem causing their seemingly unrelated symptoms.
Do you experience any of the following symptoms?
Decreased immunity presenting as illness, slow recovery, just not feeling well
Decreased cognitive function presenting as brain fog & memory loss
Rapid weight gain coupled with insatiable cravings for sweet or salty carbs
(By the way, if your mouth is watering after reading that, it’s probably a yes!)
Perpetual exhaustion presenting as permanent tiredness and run-down appearance
Aging faster than you think you should, with unexplained aches & pains
These may seem like very different health issues, but a lack of Deep Sleep can cause all of them. If you said yes to more than two of the symptoms above, perhaps Deep Sleep can turn things around for you.
But where to start? At the end of this post, I will introduce you to the master key to Deep Sleep: Homeostasis. But first, we need to understand the Stages of Sleep.
The Stages of Sleep
Every night, we cycle through four stages of sleep. Each stage serves a different purpose for the body and brain.
This first stage of sleep only lasts a few minutes after falling asleep. In this Non-REM (Rapid Eye Movement) stage of sleep:
Eye movement slows down
Heart rate slows down
Breathing slows down
Relaxation sets in
You enter a BETA brainwave state.
Some minutes later, you enter STAGE 2 of sleep.
Eye movement STOPS
Heart rate slows down more
Breathing slows down and deepens even more
Body temperature drops
You enter an ALPHA brainwave state.
After anything from 10 to 25 minutes of STAGE 2 sleep, you enter STAGE 3. And this is where the gold lies. STAGE 3 is Deep Sleep, the most vital stage of our sleep routine.
Brainwaves slow down even more into DELTA state
Bursts of electrical signals flush our brain and spinal cord with Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF)
The pituitary gland also releases Human Growth Hormone (HGH).
These processes are instrumental for keeping the body and brain in good shape.
I simply can’t say enough good things about Deep Sleep. But more about this important stage a little later. Because the sleep cycle continues...
Following STAGE 3, which can last from 20 to 40 minutes, the body moves on to STAGE 4 of sleep: REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep.
Eye movement starts up again
Heart rate speeds up slightly
Breathing speeds up slightly
You become more awake, entering THETA brainwave state.
Slipping from Stages 1 to 4 of sleep can take up to around 90 minutes. Throughout the night, your body needs to cycle through this process a few times to enjoy the full benefits of deep sleep.
A Closer Look at STAGE 3: Deep Sleep
As we have seen, during Stage 3 of sleep you are in a DELTA brainwave state. CSF flushes the brain and spinal cord. Here is why that matters.
As CSF increases in your brain, blood flow decreases, meaning the heart is resting. With every flush, vital tissues in your brain are repaired and proteins are cleaned out. This clears your neural pathways, helping with memory and cognitive function. This literally cleans out and maintains your brain to keep your mind clear and sharp.
During Deep Sleep, your pituitary gland also releases Human Growth Hormone (HGH), a veritable fountain of youth that maintains, builds and heals tissues throughout your body and brain.
Research has also suggested that sufficient Deep Sleep increases your inclination towards positive emotions and reduces negative emotions throughout the day.
In a nutshell, Deep Sleep does wonders for restoring your body, your mind and your emotions.
Make getting a good night's Deep Sleep a priority
Cycling through all the Stages of Sleep several times a night contributes massively towards your overall health and wellbeing. In time, this also means keeping diseases such as stroke, diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s and Dementia at bay. Moreover, Deep Sleep fortifies you with emotion, mental and physical vitality to live life fully.
How many cycles of Deep Sleep do you manage in an average night?
To make Deep Sleep happen we need to get through more cycles of the 4 Stages. For that, we need the master key to Deep Sleep: Homeostasis.
Homeostasis: The Master Key to Deep Sleep
In the sciences, homeostasis essentially refers to maintaining balance in an organism. The most important organism for most of us, of course, is our own body. I like to describe homeostasis as that feeling of being relaxed, safe, connected. You know? Feeling…. good.
And by the way, this should not be rocket science. Homeostasis is our natural state of being, our feeling of origin. Yes, both scientifically and existentially.
Ideally, we should already be in a state of homeostasis before going to bed. Homeostasis is the best state to help you fall asleep with ease.
Being in a state of homeostasis before sleep allows for brainwave transition as we slip from one stage of sleep to the next. As we have just seen, it is in these cycles of sleep that we find the true gold: Deep Sleep.
Homeostasis is regulated by your Autonomous Nervous System (ANS), those automatic bodily functions like breathing, the beating of our heart, digestion etc. Let’s take a closer look at the ANS.
The Autonomic Nervous System
The ANS is divided into 2 parts: PARASYMPATHETIC & SYMPATHETIC.
The Parasympathetic Nervous System governs our ideal natural state. It is regulated by our Ventral Vagus Nerve, which is triggered by relaxation of our eyes and diaphragm. This is when we feel safe, relaxed, and connected.
We get there by softening our eyes and breathing deeply.
The Sympathetic Nervous System is also divided into 2 parts: FIGHT OR FLIGHT & FREEZE
The Fight or Flight Response is triggered by stress. Adrenaline allows us to be mobilized, agitated or even frantic; we are in a state of action. Useful in an emergency, but unfortunately, most of us are in this state most of the time.
Our modern lifestyles stimulate the release of adrenaline into our systems constantly. Many environments even celebrate busy-ness and “hustle” as a virtue. The price of this frantic pace is high: anxiety, burnout, depression, high blood pressure, heart disease and other lifestyle diseases are a direct or indirect result of a never-ending fight-or-flight response.
When the Fight or Flight Response kicks in, we can get back to homeostasis by choice. We do this by slowly stretching our bodies, softening our eyes, and breathing deeply.
The Freeze Response, on the other hand, suppresses action. It is regulated by our Dorsal Vagus Nerve. Freeze is triggered by trauma and danger. Unlike the go-go-go reaction of the Fight or Flight Response, Freeze paralyses us. We become numb, collapse or faint; we go into a state of shutdown.
Once again, we can get back to homeostasis with deliberate action. Slowly moving and stretching our bodies, softening our eyes, and breathing deeply, we return to balance.
How often have you found yourself here? Fight or Flight? Freeze? Or perhaps a bit of both?
Modern life can leave us in a perpetual, watered-down version of this state. And if you have been feeling stuck, dull, listless, anxious or even depressed, rediscovering your natural homeostasis could be your first step back to freedom, energy and, yes, even delight.
Homeostasis can take you there. In this post you have found the core actions that can help you to restore homeostasis to bring you Deep Sleep. And as you have read, my quest has led me to a wealth of unique information and practical strategies to support Deep Sleep by restoring homeostasis. The easiest and most accessible way to access this right away, wherever you are, is with my Guided Preparation to Deep Sleep tutorial series.
My quest for homeostasis resulted in what is no my Guided Preparation to Deep Sleep tutorial series. In each Guided Preparation to Deep Sleep tutorial, I gently take you through three phases of preparation for Deep Sleep. Each phase is strategically paced to release any remaining tensions of the day, unwind your body and mind and trigger your parasympathetic nervous system to a state of calm. The result? Homeostasis… the master key to Deep Sleep.
The Guided Preparation to Deep Sleep tutorials are doing wonders for users, recharging them overnight and even turning back the clock. Here is what one user had to say after a few days of the tutorials…
Find the Guided Preparation to Deep Sleep Full Collection at http://gum.co/GPTDS4... and find your way back to homeostasis and the quality, Deep Sleep you deserve.
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P.S. Discover other articles in my Deep Sleep Series at the links below: