When we sleep, our brains usually alternate between two states – non-rapid eye movement (non-REM) sleep and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Each sleep cycle is about 80-120 minutes long. We spend more time in non-REM sleep in the first half of the night and in REM sleep during the second half of the night.
Deep sleep happens in the final stages of non-REM sleep. During deep sleep, your heart rate and breathing slow down as your muscles relax. The brain waves become the slowest, producing slow delta waves. Hence, deep sleep is often referred to as slow wave sleep or delta sleep.
The quality of deep sleep is affected by adenosine, a molecule produced when our cells consume ATP (their main energy source). Adenosine has several different physiological effects, one of them is blocking wakefulness or causing drowsiness. This means the higher the adenosine levels in our cells, the sleepier we feel. People who build up adenosine levels faster are more likely to be deeper sleepers.
Take this test to find out whether you are a more likely to be a good deep sleeper.
The probability of being a deep sleeper is influenced by genetic variation in the ADA gene. This gene gives instructions for the adenosine deaminase enzyme, which is responsible for breaking down adenosine. In people with the ADA variant, adenosine is broken down at a slower rate, which is associated with increased sleepiness and being a deeper sleeper. These people also feel sleepier after missing a night of sleep compared to those without the variant.
The Importance of Deep Sleep
Deep sleep is essential for feeling refreshed in the morning. The benefits of deep sleep include:
- Supporting short-term and long-term memory formation
- Release of hormones that support growth and development
- Restoring energy levels
- Regenerating damaged cells
- Promoting growth and repair of muscles
- Enhancing the blood supply to muscles
- Strengthening the immune system
How It Works
Step 1: Sign up for a free DNA Access account.
Step 2: Upload your DNA markers to DNA Access.
Step 3: Log in to your account to access your results when they are ready.