Unique Brain & Body Effects of Deep Sleep: What Happens?

The Unique Brain State of Deep Sleep

Walker and Huberman discuss the unique brain activity that occurs during deep non-REM sleep. The brain’s oscillation slows down to just one or two times per second, and the amplitude of the brain waves becomes much larger than during wakefulness. This pattern of slow waves is accompanied by sleep spindles, creating a coordinated neural activity that is not seen in any other brain state. Walker emphasizes that all stages of sleep serve different functions for the brain and body at different times of the night, and they are all important.

Deep Sleep: The Body’s Restorative State

Walker discusses the various benefits of deep sleep and REM sleep. During deep sleep, the body shifts to a calming parasympathetic nervous system state. This lowers blood pressure, restocks immune system weaponry, and increases the body’s sensitivity to immune factors. Deep sleep also helps regulate blood sugar by controlling insulin release and cell receptivity to insulin. In the brain, deep sleep moves memories from short-term to long-term storage and helps reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by clearing out toxic proteins. However, REM sleep is also crucial for overall health and well-being.

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