Do you ever feel unrested after a night’s sleep? Even though you may be sleeping, you may not be getting the deep sleep that you need to restore your mind and body. Follow these tips to learn how to get the deep sleep you need to function properly.
5 Tips to Get More Deep Sleep
- Have a Bedtime Routine
- Don’t Use Electronics Before Bed
- Know Your Ideal Sleep Temperature
- Get a Quality Mattress and Pillow
- Make Good Sleep Choices Throughout the Day
Have you ever wondered, “How much sleep do I need?” Do you worry that you’re not getting enough sleep? Many people are confused and concerned about these issues. And far too many people aren’t getting enough deep sleep each night.
Understanding the Stages of Sleep
When you’re trying to improve your sleep quality, it’s essential to understand the sleep stages. Many people wonder: “How many stages of sleep are there?” You may have heard of REM sleep, which is when vivid dreams occur. REM stands for “rapid eye movement.” There are three non-REM (NREM) sleep cycle stages as well.
While sleeping, we journey through each of these sleep phases. We begin with stage 1 sleep, then pass through stages 2 and 3. However, we don’t go from stage 3 sleep to REM sleep. Instead, we actually go back through stage 2 and stage 1 before finally entering the REM sleep phase.
Each sleep cycle takes between 90 and 110 minutes, and we go through several sleep cycles each night.
Stage 1 NREM Sleep
Stage 1 is the transition between sleep and wakefulness. At this stage, sleep is very light. Your body starts to relax and prepare you for the next sleep stage. Your eyes move slowly, and your body may experience some mild jerks or spasms. When drifting in and out of this stage of sleep, you can have a falling sensation.
If you wake from stage 1 sleep, you may feel like you haven’t even been asleep. Noises or disruptions can easily rouse you during the light sleep of stage 1.
Stage 2 NREM Sleep
Typically, most people spend 40% to 60% of their total sleep time in stage 2 sleep. During stage 2, frequent awakenings are less common. Your brain waves slow down as you relax into a deeper stage of sleep. According to sleep researchers, two types of brain waves mark Stage 2 sleep. They are K complexes and sleep spindles.
What is a K complex? It is a large wave that can occur in response to stimuli, such as noises in your sleep environment. Spindles are brief bursts of brain activity that decline rapidly. Research suggests that sleep spindles help refresh our brains and make us more ready to learn.
Stage 3 NREM Sleep
Stage 3 is when our deepest, most restorative slow-wave sleep occurs. At this stage, our brain waves — called delta waves — are very slow. It’s difficult to awaken someone from stage 3 sleep.
Overall, we spend far less time in stage 3 sleep than in stage 2. For most adults, stage 3 is between 5% to 15% of our total sleep time. Children and adolescents typically spend more time sleeping in stage 3.
Although we only need a small amount of deep stage 3 sleep waves, this phase of sleep is critical for good health. Once you start to practice good sleep habits, you can start to increase how much deep sleep you get each night.
What is REM sleep? REM is an active sleep state when dreams occur. Often, if you wake during REM sleep, you will remember your dreams. Researchers have found that everyone dreams, although not everyone remembers dreaming.
During REM sleep, muscle paralysis occurs. Sleep experts speculate that this paralysis happens to prevent people from acting out their dreams. Respiration, body temperature, and heart rate may become irregular during REM sleep.
5 Tips to Get More Deep Sleep
A restless night or two may throw you off. But a pattern of sleep deprivation can cause health problems. Even if you’re getting the suggested seven to nine hours of sleep per night, you could find out how to get more deep sleep. During the deepest stage of sleep, your body and brain revitalize and promote better health, learning, and memory. Here are some helpful tips to help you sleep deeply each night:
Have a Bedtime Routine
Your body has an internal clock, known as its circadian rhythm, that controls your sleep-wake cycle. Many factors can disrupt your circadian rhythm and prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep.
But you can establish a sleep schedule that trains your mind and body to stay in rhythm. Start by picking a designated bedtime and go to bed at that time every night. It’s important to wake up at the same time each morning as well. Keep these sleep patterns consistent, even on weekends and vacations.
Let Yourself Relax
Plan a routine that you can follow to ease yourself into sleep each evening. Start your bedtime ritual at least a half-hour before you want to turn in for the night. Maybe you can fix yourself a cup of soothing warm milk or chamomile tea to help relax. Consider a warm bath or shower. If you choose to read before bed, pick light topics that won’t stimulate your brain and lead to wakefulness.
Remember to avoid caffeine in the evenings. If you want a snack, choose something light, and don’t eat spicy or acidic foods that could cause reflux. Make sure your room is free of bright light and consider a quality mattress and a white-noise machine to promote good sleep. Some people may appreciate room-darkening curtains, earplugs, or a weighted sleep mask to eliminate distraction during sleep. Do your research on how to get more deep sleep and experiment to find what works best for you.
Don’t Use Electronics Before Bed
It can be tempting to check email, scan the news, check the weather, or send a text before you go to bed. But you’ll enjoy a more restful sleep if you avoid electronics for at least 60 to 90 minutes before turning in. In other words, you should not watch TV or use laptops, computers, tablets, and phones near bedtime.
Why are electronics an issue? Electronics emit artificial blue light that has short wavelengths. During the day, blue light creates more alertness and energy, but it can be overstimulating at night. Plus, blue light can disrupt your circadian rhythm and diminish melatonin production. Being mindful of your electronic use is critical if you want to sleep more deeply.
Know Your Ideal Sleep Temperature
If you’re too hot or too cold at night, sleep can be elusive. This means that you should avoid piling on blankets and set your thermostat to a lower temperature. Although comfort levels vary, most adults sleep well if the temperature is between 60 and 67 degrees.
Keep in mind that sleeping with others can raise your sleep temperature. You may enjoy snuggling with a partner, pet, or child. You may want to eliminate some layers of bedding if you do share your bed with someone else. If you have enough space to spread out that will help ensure the ideal sleeping temperature.
Get a Good Quality Mattress and Pillow
If you want to learn how to get more deep sleep, you should know that quality mattresses and pillows are essential.
What mattresses are best? Sleep experts recommend a breathable, supportive, pressure relieving mattress that can adapt to your body and sleep positioning. Look for mattresses that alleviate pressure on your back, hips, and shoulders. Seek out a mattress with good airflow that helps you stay cool even on hot nights.
If you tend to be a light sleeper, it’s important to consider motion transfer. What does this mean? Motion transfer occurs when something causes pressure on the bed. For example, a partner or pet climbing into one side of the bed can cause motion to transfer to other parts of the bed. To minimize motion transfer, you may want to consider purchasing the Purple® Hybrid, which has responsive support coils to help minimize motion transfer.
When shopping for pillows, pick ones that are responsive and cooling, like the Purple® Pillow. The right pillow should adapt easily if you shift positions at night and continue to support your head and neck. If you want to learn how to get more deep sleep, take a good look at your mattress, pillows, and bedding.
Make Good Sleep Choices Throughout the Day
You may not think about it much, but the choices you make during the day can help you sleep more deeply at night. One of the best ways to get more deep sleep is to evaluate your daytime behaviors and lifestyle choices.
Nothing helps you get good sleep like exercise. Research shows that people who do cardio regularly get more deep sleep during the night. Experiment with an exercise schedule to see what works best for you. If exercising gives you energy, work out in the morning or early in the day. But if you feel relaxed after exercising, an evening workout can help tire you out before bed.
To nap or not to nap?
There is some debate about napping. Some people find that a short afternoon nap can be beneficial. But take care not to nap too late in the day or for too long. A late nap can disrupt your sleep patterns and make it harder to fall asleep. And if you take a long nap, you may enter deep sleep stages during the day. This can also make falling asleep more difficult at bedtime.
Try to get outside every day—especially in the darker months. A brisk morning walk can give you energy and signal to your body to halt any residual melatonin production. Even 15 minutes of walking outside in the morning can make you sleep better at night.
Why Is Deep Sleep Important?
Although you only spend a short time in the deepest sleep stage each night, it’s critical for your well-being. During deep sleep, your body and mind are revitalized.
While sleeping deeply, your pituitary gland secretes human growth hormone. This hormone refreshes your muscles and helps you recover from the stressors of each day. Also, during stage 3, your immune system restores itself. You experience cell regeneration along with an increase of blood flow throughout your body.
During this restorative, restful period of sleep, your body can work on repairing tissues and bones. In addition, glucose metabolism in your brain increases, and this enhances your short-term and long-term memory.
If your sleep quality is poor, you’re unlikely to reach levels of deeper sleep. This scenario can make you vulnerable to health consequences, such as Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Deeper sleep just might be the key to health and longevity.
Deep Sleep Can Revolutionize Your Life
Today, many people are sleep deprived. Activities and distractions cause many of us to stay up later. Unfortunately, bad sleep habits and sleep disorders are all too common. However, a lack of sleep can lead to many severe health consequences, including high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. Sleep problems can harm emotional health as well.
If you aren’t sleeping enough, you’re likely missing out on restorative deep sleep. During deep sleep, our bodies and minds regenerate and give us the energy we need to navigate our days. Everyone needs enough time in stage 3, where delta sleep waves occur, for optimal well-being.
Make the Right Choices to Get Deeper Sleep
Many people wonder how to get more deep sleep. You can make many choices to improve your sleep quality—from instituting a bedtime routine to using sleep trackers to avoiding electronics near bedtime. Having an excellent mattress is one key to deeper sleep. Since there are many mattress types, do some research and read reviews to find the best mattress.
You’ll also need to consider mattress sizes carefully. Choose a mattress that works well in your bedroom while providing enough room for you and others to have enough personal sleep space.
If you care about your health, you need to know how to get deep sleep. Although deep sleep is a short part of your nightly sleep cycle, quality sleep is essential for good health. By making the right choices, you’ll be able to rest deeply and enjoy more energy throughout each day.