Following on from our article about sleep deprivation and its link to illness, we delve into the fascinating world of sleep science again to ask ‘how do I get more deep sleep?’
Our hectic days ought to be thoroughly enjoyable, full of family, travel, work, and fun. However, sleep is an essential fuel we all need to power our days. Not getting enough deep sleep can have some adverse effects on your physical health, as we will see here.
Let’s talk about what deep sleep is and how you can get it tonight.
To sleep deeply power down your devices one hour before bed
How Do I Get More Deep Sleep?
To sleep deeply power down your devices one hour before bed, sleep in a dark room, take exercise every day, have the same bedtime and wake time every day, enjoy a healthy diet full of fresh fruit and vegetables. Your night routine can set you up for a good night’s sleep, so enjoy a warm bath, read or meditate.
All the sleep cycle phases are important but deep sleep and REM sleep plays a huge role in our health
What Is Deep Sleep and Why Do I Need It?
Deep (or slow wave) sleep is a stage of the sleep cycle that facilitates memory and proper brain function. There are 5 stages to the sleep cycle:
- Stage 1: Light Sleep: muscle activity is low, eyes move slowly, easy to wake up from. Sometimes referred to as the ‘catnap’ phase.
- Stage 2: Light Sleep: muscle activity continues to slow down. ‘Power nap’ phase.
- Stage 3-4: Deep Sleep: brain wave activity slows down, eye movements slow down, heart rate and body temperature drop. ‘Body repair’ phase, muscles and tissues repairs and grows, the immune system is boosted, energy is stored for the following day.
- Stage 5: REM Sleep: Dream stage, eye movements quicken. Important sleep stage for long term memory. The average adult will have up to 6 REM cycles per night.
All the sleep cycle phases are important but deep sleep and REM sleep plays a huge role in our health. Memory and learning are boosted by REM sleep, muscles and tissues are repaired in deep sleep, along with the immune system getting a much needed boost. Energy is stored up for the following day.
Benefits of Deep Sleep
- Renewed energy
- Regeneration of cells
- Increase of blood supply to muscles
- Immune system strengthened
- Tissues and bones repaired and strengthened
Tips for Getting More Deep Sleep
Power Down Your Devices
The bright light from our devices may not bother us during the day but if you’re using a device in bed, the light can trick the brain into believing its daytime. Therefore, disrupting your melatonin levels (the hormone responsible for regulating your internal body clock). Limit mobile device use in the evening and switch off at least one hour before bed.
Set the Right Temperature for your Bedroom
A warm and cozy bed is essential to a good night’s sleep. The optimum sleep temperature of your bedroom ought to be 67 degrees Fahrenheit. Sleep scientists have found this to be the ideal temperature for restorative sleep.
Exercising 3-5 times per week can have a significant impact on your physical health. Strengthing your muscles and improving your sleep health. Swimming, running, strength training, or cycling are great exercises for improving sleep health. However, gently yoga, stretching, or walking the dog can be equally beneficial.
Fresh fruit and vegetables are at the core of any plan to improve sleep health. The nutrients found in leafy greens, root vegetables, and fresh fruit boost your immune system and help regenerate the hormones in your body. These hormones are responsible for growth, repair, and keeping your sleep cycle healthy. Not getting enough deep sleep and depending on junk food limits your body’s ability to repair itself.
Develop Bedtime Rituals
If you want to sleep deeply at night, think about implementing some bedtime rituals. These can include enjoying a hot bath before bed, turning your phone off one hour before bed, reading a book, or meditating. The best things to do before bed involve gentle stimuli and will not overexert your senses. Getting ready for bed ought to help you relax so read something that is not so strenuous, don’t watch any violent television before bed. Keep your night routine calming and gentle as possible.
Stick to a Similar Bedtime Every Night
When you eat at the same time every day, you train your body to expect the meal. This helps to keep a healthy weight because your body doesn’t enter starvation mode after eating. The same can be said for going to bed at the same time every night. Training your brain to expect the same level of sleep every night helps you to get the most from your nightly sleep cycles. Stick to a similar bedtime every night, even on your days off if you can.
Stress is a part of our everyday lives. Getting stuck in traffic, being late for an appointment, dealing with contracts, negotiations, almost every part of life can contain stress. In a stressful situation, the adrenal glands will initiate your fight or flight response. These two little glands that sit on top of your kidneys play a vital role in sleep health and overall health by producing hormones essential to life. Meditation, yoga, exercise, or listening to music can aid relaxation and help you drift off to sleep quicker.
Avoid Big Meals or Workouts Before Bedtime
Eating a large meal before bed puts your digestive system into overdrive. Your body is using all its energy to digest food rather than shutting down for the night to repair. Also, exercising before bed stimulates your system rather than winding down for rest. Avoid eating after 7pm and exercising after 8pm to wind down sufficiently for a good night’s rest.
Try Pink Noise
Listening to waves hitting the shore, rainfall, or tv static is greatly beneficial to those having trouble sleeping at night. There are sound machines available that include sounds of the rainforest, tv static, and fan noise that help to block out external noise so you can fall asleep. They are especially beneficial to those with tinnitus. If you don’t want to invest in a sound machine, there are lots of videos to stream online of pink noise. Use with a Bluetooth speaker to avoid the screen light from your phone or laptop in your bedroom.
Invest in a High-Quality Mattress and Pillow
Is your bed a sleep haven? To ensure restorative rest every night, it’s pivotal to sleep on a pressure relieving mattress and have a quality pillow under your head. An uncomfortable mattress will have you tossing and turning all night, exacerbates snoring, aches, and pains. A comfortable mattress is essential to a good night’s sleep.
Make sure you’re sleeping on a quality mattress and pillow
How to get More Deep Sleep: Quick Tips
- Practice good sleep hygiene by powering off devices and not eating big meals before bed
- Start bedtime rituals that help you relax such as taking a warm bath or reading
- Make sure you’re sleeping on a quality mattress and pillow
- Eat healthy foods and enjoy exercise
- Find ways to destress every day, walking the dog (or walking yourself), listening to chillout music, enjoying gentle yoga, or watching comedy shows can help make you happy and lessen daily stress
- Nighttime stretches: stretches to do before bed; neck stretches, kneeling lat stretch, low lunge, seated forward bend, and toe touch are all gentle and beneficial to your sleep health
To sleep deeply at night involves many elements from your diet to your bedtime rituals to how you manage daily stress.
Ensure you’re eating a healthy diet, take exercise, enjoy fresh air every day, and laugh your way to restorative deep sleep every night.
Not getting enough deep sleep can harm your physical health. If your mattress and pillows are uncomfortable, consider upgrading to a more pressure relieving option. Your bed is your sleep haven, it’s where you relax, rest, and recuperate. Therefore, it must be cozy, warm, and inviting.