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N3 Sleep

N3 Sleep

The third stage of non-rapid eye movement. Often called “slow-wave sleep”. This is the deepest and most restorative stage of sleep. Wound-healing is most intense in this state. Short periods of sleep or napping may not even get to this state, often taking about 40 minutes of sleep to be attained.

This stage takes up about 20% of our sleep cycle. The body’s metabolism and blood pressure reach their lowest points in this state. Dreams may occur in this stage, although often lacking the narrative structure and memorability of REM dreams. Waking immediately from this state will result in disorientation and confusion.

It can take half an hour for someone to return to normal brain functioning if they awake from this state. Daytime activities such as exercise, warm baths, and meditation can increase the amount of this stage of sleep. Recovery from prolonged sleep-deprivation can also lead to an increase of this stage of sleep.

Lack of N3 sleep can lead to decreased tolerance for pain, poor short-term memory processing and retrieval. Extended lack of N3 can even lead to depression. It’s also the stage where the brain clears itself of toxins.

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