Dr. Jason Gordon, a back specialist with a practice in Manhattan, explains the importance of deep sleep cycles for healing.
“Basically, we live our lives in four cycles — alpha, beta, theta and delta. When you’re asleep you’re in theta and when you're in deep sleep you're in delta. When you’re up and awake, you’re in alpha and beta. You heal in theta and delta. We want patients to be in the delta sleep stage as long as possible. That’s why a supportive mattress is so important. If you’re constantly waking up because you’re uncomfortable, you’re going to be going in-and-out of beta and theta and never allowed to achieve the delta stage of sleep. You’re not going to get the quality of sleep you need to heal and awaken feeling refreshed. And when I say ‘quality sleep,’ I mean 7 to 7 1/2 hours.”
The below graphic illustrates one second of brain activity in each of 4 stages.