Slow wave sleep (SWS) is in the family of non-rapid eye movement (nREM) sleep. The majority of this sleep occurs in the first half of your nighttime sleep. Slow wave sleep is the portion of sleep responsible for growth hormone release - growth hormone playing a role in recovery (indirect anabolism via IGF-1 stimulation). Slow wave sleep is typically around 10-20% of your total sleep duration. Obviously it depends on how long you sleep as to whether or not it will be 10 to 20% (some recommend no less than 20%) of your total sleep. This is where the difference in sleep quality versus quantity comes into play.
Sleeping a lot does not necessarily mean that you are getting quality sleep. Sometimes quality sleep is determined by the amount of slow wave sleep both magnitude and percentage. When looking at QEEG brain recordings, Delta brain waves which are associated with deep sleep, are most prominent during the SWS sleep stage. It is important to find ways to not just get a good number of hours of sleep, but also good quality sleep. Sleep is often talked about for its benefits, but rarely executed on.
Sleep is arguably one of the, if not the most, easily modifiable performance/health/wellness enhancing interventions you can do. Sleep isn’t just going to bed, it’s actually sleeping while in bed (quality versus quantity) like we just discussed.
Here are some good tips for better sleep:
Bedroom temperature (64-68)
💡Dark room (block out small lights)
🔊 Ambient noise if needed
💦 No water before bed
📵Limit room activities (don’t watch TV in it, don’t play on your phone)
😴 Have a bedtime routine
💤 Have a regular bedtime
💊 Supplementation if needed (glycine and magnesium)
🎮 NO video games or high CNS stimulating events before bed
Sleep is extremely important - we like to throw that out there and just assume people follow up with it. If you are out of practice when it comes to sleeping well, get back into it. Small steps go a long way. Make it a habit to better your health.