If you often wake up feeling tired, it’s because you haven’t had enough deep sleep. Deep sleep doesn’t necessarily relate to the number of hours that you’ve slept in total. You can still sleep between 7 and 9 hours and feel fatigued due to a lack of those hours of sleep not being deep.
Achieving a deep sleep is what allows your mind and body to feel fully rested and ready to go upon waking. In this post, we cover exactly what deep sleep is, the other important stages of sleep, why it’s so important, and how to sleep more deeply every night.
How to Get More Deep Sleep? Let’s Break It Down
Deep sleep is one of the 4 total stages of sleep that the human body undergoes while sleeping. When you’re in a state of a deep sleep, the activity in your brain is at its lowest point. When EEG scanners have been used to assess brain activity while people are asleep, the waves are slowest and have a low frequency.
Your rate of breathing and heartbeat are also at their lowest which is what allows your entire body to achieve the best relaxation possible. When someone is in a deep sleep, noises in the environment won’t disturb them as easily and it’s more difficult to wake them up.
Furthermore, their eye movement is very minimal, if there’s any at all. A person in deep sleep also stays in the same position for prolonged durations of time.
When children and teenagers are in a deep sleep, they’re providing their bodies with the opportunity it needs to develop and grow. In addition to this, being in a deep sleep enables your brain to soak up all of the information and memories that you’ve had over the day. People who don’t have great memory may also have issues achieving deep sleep.
The immune system can strengthen and make any repairs to itself while you’re in a deep sleep. One of the causes of a weak immune system that’s more susceptible to problems is a lack of deep sleep.
Your cells can also regenerate when you’re in a deep sleep. If your muscles are sore from working out, deep sleep is the time where your cells can repair and heal the muscles. When your cells can regenerate, it also shows with your physical appearance so that you look well-rested.
The 4 Stages Of Sleep
As we mentioned before, there are a total of 4 stages of sleep. You can learn more about how these different stages of sleep are broken down in this section.
The first stage of sleeping is the transitional period where you go from being awake to asleep. Typically, this stage lasts for a few minutes while the functions throughout your body gradually slow down and your muscles begin to relax.
Stage 2 of the sleep cycle takes up approximately half of the entire cycle. This is the part of your sleep where the temperature of your body decreases and your body is going into a deeper state of relaxation. The activity in your brain starts to decrease slowly too.
Stage three of your cycle is deep sleep which we’ve already covered. Typically, the duration of your deep sleep is anywhere between 45 and 90 minutes. There are also multiple times throughout the night where you can go through a deep sleep with the first time being the longest. The more hours you sleep, the shorter the deep sleep stage becomes.
The final stage of your sleep cycle is referred to as REM which refers to Rapid Eye Movement. This is the part of your sleep where you start dreaming and your brain activity is increased which is why your eyes begin to move rapidly. Your breathing and heartbeat also increase during REM sleep.
How Much Deep Sleep Should You Be Getting?
Approximately ¾ of your sleep is taken up by non-REM sleep with the rest being made up of REM and deep sleep. Deep sleep is the shortest stage of the sleeping cycle.
The amount of deep sleep that you get every night decreases as you get older. For elderly people who are 70 years and older, the deep sleep cycle can take up just 2% of the total sleep cycle.
For adults over 40, their deep sleep is down to around 10% of their sleep cycle and for people in their 20’s, around 20% of their sleep cycle is taken up by deep sleep. That’s the reason why older people tend to take longer to heal from illnesses compared to younger people.
If you’ve been sleep deprived one night, your body will try to make up for the lost deep sleep cycle by adding more than usual the next time you sleep. The body automatically understands how important it is to have enough sleep so that you can function better and be healthier.
Tips to Sleep Deeper
Now that you have a better idea of what the different stages of sleep are and what they entail, you may be interested to learn about how you can achieve a deeper sleep every night. You can start implementing the below tips today to improve your sleep and feel refreshed every morning you wake up.
Set A Sleeping Schedule
Doing your best to stick to a set sleeping routine by going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day is one of the best ways to help you achieve a deeper sleep. This is because it gets your body into the natural rhythm of when to fall asleep and when to wake up which makes it more effortless.
Melatonin is the hormone that’s released in the brain to make you fall asleep. It’s also the hormone that has a lot to do with the sleep-wake cycle of your body. One of the reasons why you may be struggling to sleep deeper could be because your body has a lack of melatonin.
You can boost this hormone by eating specific foods that include cherries, kiwis, almonds, bananas, and walnuts. When your body can properly produce melatonin, you’ll be able to fall asleep easier and even experience increased periods of REM and deep sleep stages that leave you waking up refreshed in the morning.
Avoid Afternoon Naps
Avoiding naps in the afternoon time is crucial to ensuring that you can sleep deeper at night. After taking an afternoon nap, your energy can be boosted but it can also interfere with your ability to fall asleep at night.
Therefore, we recommend saving naps for times where you truly do need it to make it through the day. But for the most part, keeping yourself tired and saving sleeping for when you go to bed at night is the best way to achieve a deeper sleep.
Exercising regularly is an excellent way to keep your body and mind healthy. One of the great benefits of exercising is that it can leave you feeling more exhausted when it comes to bedtime, which is great for being able to sleep deeper with less interference.
The muscles in your body require repairing which is why your body puts you in a deeper sleep so that it can make the necessary repairs. As a result, you’ll also notice that the quality of your sleep improves too.
Hot Showers & Baths
Having a hot shower or bath before going to bed is an excellent way for you to relax both your body and mind. The hot temperatures can help you unwind from the day and clear your mind so that by the time you get to bed, you’re ready to sleep.
If you’re an avid coffee drinker, you must avoid consuming caffeine in the late afternoon and evening. We recommend that you avoid caffeinated beverages after 4 pm. This is because caffeine can stay in your system for hours and impact your ability to fall asleep soundly.
In addition to this, try to avoid cigarettes and alcohol too close to when you’re sleeping as they can have a stimulatory effect on your body that will keep you awake.
Switch Off The Screens
Many of us have TV’s in our bedrooms or like to go on our phones in bed at night. However, watching TV or being on your phone at bedtime could be detrimental to the quality of sleep that you’re able to get.
The brightness from the screens sends signals to your brain that it’s not time to sleep yet. So, if you want to achieve a deeper sleep, be sure to avoid looking at any screens around an hour before your desired bedtime.
If you’re someone who likes to fall asleep to something, you can download apps that reduce the blue light of your screen. Blue light is what keeps your brain more awake, so you can cut out the blue light with apps to help you sleep easier. It won’t be as effective as cutting out screens completely at bedtime but it can make a difference.
Don’t Eat Too Close To Bedtime
If you tend to eat large meals right before going to bed, you’ll struggle to be able to fall asleep. This is because your body is focused on digesting the food that you’ve just eaten which means that there are too many active functions for you to fall asleep soundly.
So, we advise that you try to eat meals around 2-3 hours before the time that you want to sleep. In addition to this, it has been found that people who have diets that contain low carbohydrates can have longer periods of REM and deep sleep.
This is due to the way that your body can spend less time and energy on metabolizing high quantities of carbohydrates which may enable you to have an easier time sleeping.
A simple but effective way of making sure that you’re able to sleep deeper is to make yourself comfortable. Therefore, you may want to experiment with different kinds of pillows to make sure you’re able to sleep on one that feels the most comfortable for you.
Sleeping on a pillow that you don’t find comfortable leads to lots of tossing and turning, even if you’re tired and ready to sleep. Furthermore, considering the type of mattress that you sleep on is imperative to falling asleep easier and staying asleep for longer.
Create A Relaxing Bedroom
Another element to boosting your comfort is to make the bedroom an environment that’s more relaxing. We recommend that you sleep in temperatures that are between 60 and 70 degrees as they’re optimal for relaxation.
In addition to this, people who can’t fall asleep in total silence may want to play sounds from devices, such as white noise or soothing sounds. To help your brain make stronger links between the bed being for sleep and not work or where you watch movies/TV, be sure that you keep your bedroom a place just for sleeping.
After some time, your brain will automatically know that it’s time to sleep by simply getting into bed which can make achieving a deeper sleep a lot easier.
Line Up Your Circadian Rhythm
When you first wake up in the morning, try your best to expose yourself to sunlight. This is an excellent way to tell your body that it’s time to wake up in the morning which can help get your circadian rhythm on track.
The other part of lining up your circadian rhythm is to keep your room dark when it comes to sleeping. This is an easy way to tell your body that it’s time to wind down and go to sleep soon.
After reading through our post on the different stages and tips on how to achieve a deeper sleep, we hope that you feel more confident about improving the quality of your sleep.
You may not need to implement all of the tips on how to sleep deeper straight away, but the more of them that you practice, the better you’ll be able to sleep. Being able to sleep deeply every night is what will help you wake up in the mornings feeling revitalized and ready for the day ahead, so don’t wait to start improving the quality of your sleep.