Jumping into bed after a long day is one of the best feelings in the world. But sometimes, getting a good night’s rest isn’t easy. You might find yourself tossing and turning for hours before finally getting some shut eye. Even if you do manage to fall asleep, the real challenge can be staying asleep.
If you’re wondering how to increase deep sleep at night, then you’ve come to the right place! In this article, we’ll give you a list of tips on how to get more deep sleep so you can improve the quality of your slumber and feel more well rested.
The Four Stages of Sleep
There are two categories of sleep: REM and non-REM sleep. Every night, you start off with non-REM sleep before moving into a period of REM sleep.
Non-REM sleep is broken into four different stages. The first stage only lasts several minutes as you begin to fall asleep. During this stage:
- Body functions (e.g. eye movements, heartbeat, and breathing) slow down
- Brain waves begin to slow
- Muscles relax and occasionally twitch
The second stage accounts for half of the total sleep cycle, so this is the stage you spend the most time in during your sleep at night. In Stage 2:
- Body functions continue to slow
- Eye movements stop
- Body temperature drops
- Brain waves are slow but still have short bursts of activity
The third and fourth stages (aka the deep sleep stages) are where you experience deep sleep (also called slow-wave sleep or delta sleep). During the last two stages, your body experiences a range of activity:
- Heartbeat, breathing, and brain waves all slow down
- Muscles and eyes relax
- Body recovers itself to heal injuries, clear toxins, and release growth hormones (this is why it’s important to get a good night’s sleep!)
On average, adults need to spend 1-2 hours of their eight hour slumber in deep sleep.
How Do I Get More Deep Sleep?
Now that you know the basics of the sleep cycle, it’s time to learn more about how you can increase deep sleep and get some shut-eye. Below are six helpful tips on how to sleep better at night and improve deep sleep:
1. Choose quality bedding
If you’re having trouble getting comfortable, then it may be the time to upgrade your bedding — especially if your pillows and sheets are old. When choosing new bedding, it’s best to select pillows and sheets that maximize comfort, regulate temperature, and keep sleeping conditions optimal (like our down alternative pillows and cooling microfiber bed sheets).
2. Create a bedtime routine
If you’ve ever wondered how to sleep better at night naturally, one of the most common answers you’ll find is to create a bedtime routine that will help you relax and unwind. This nighttime ritual should last about 30 to 60 minutes and be consistent. However, it can be anything you want it to be, such as reading a book, taking a hot bath or shower, or giving yourself a head massage. As long as your mind isn’t stimulated too much and you’re able to associate the activities with bedtime, then anything will do!
3. Stick to a sleep schedule
Just like dogs, humans are creatures of habit. When it comes to getting some shut-eye, it’s important to follow a sleep schedule and wake up and fall asleep at consistent times. After all, you don’t want to mess with your body’s circadian rhythm.
So, what’s the best sleep schedule? While it’s tempting to stay up late and sleep in on the weekends, try to establish a consistent rise time in the mornings and regular sleep time in the evenings. In the long run, this will help improve your sleep quality and avoid breaking your internal clock.
4. Say “no” to electronics before bed
If you’ve ever wondered what helps you relax and sleep, I’m sad to say that electronics is not one of the answers. In fact, it’s generally recommended that you avoid bright screens at least 1-2 hours before going to bed to prevent any disruption to your body’s production of melatonin.
Melatonin is the hormone that your body produces to help regulate its circadian rhythm (aka the internal clock that your body functions revolve around) and notify your brain that it’s time to sleep. However, using electronics before bed can disrupt melatonin production and ward off sleep due to blue light emitted from many devices.
So when it’s close to bedtime, put your phone down, close your laptop, and turn off your TV. I know it’s hard, but trust me — you’ll thank yourself the next morning.
5. Optimize sleeping conditions
Your bedroom should be a sleep sanctuary; that is, it should be a place that’s sleep-friendly. If you aren’t sure how to sleep more comfortably at night, you can start by dimming or turning off the lights, lowering the temperature to somewhere between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit, and keeping the room noise-free. And like we’ve mentioned before, your bedding also plays a role in terms of comfort, so make sure your pillows, pillowcases, sheets, and comforters are all to your liking.
6. Be smart about what you eat and drink
The last thing on our list of tips on how to get more deep sleep is to consider your eating and drinking habits during the day. Here are some general guidelines about eating and drinking that can help you get a good night’s rest and improve deep sleep:
- Limit your caffeine intake in the day
- Avoid eating big meals at night
- Cut back on sugary and processed foods and refined carbs
- Don’t drink too much fluids close to bedtime
Common Questions About Sleep
Now that you know how to get more deep sleep and improve the quality of your slumber at night, let’s take a look at some common sleep questions you might have.
What type of exercise is best for sleep?
During the day, you can do your normal workout routine. However, try to limit moderate or vigorous exercises at least three hours before sleeping, as they can energize you and cause difficulty falling asleep. If you must exercise in the evening, try low-impact workouts like yoga or stretching to help induce sleep.
Is too much deep sleep bad?
The amount of deep sleep needed depends on your own body’s needs. With that said, there is no such thing as getting too much deep sleep, and there are currently no findings suggesting that too much deep sleep is bad for you. However, there are studies indicating that getting too much sleep at any stage can cause fatigue (just like getting an insufficient amount of sleep).
Should I stay up if I can’t sleep?
Even if you have trouble falling or staying asleep, you shouldn’t stay up all night. In fact, sleeping for 1 or 2 hours can be enough to decrease feelings of tiredness and drowsiness.
How Will You Achieve a Better Night’s Rest?
Sleeping seems like the easiest thing to do at the end of the day, but there are times where you might find yourself struggling to drift into slumber. However, knowing what helps you relax and sleep is the first step for getting a good night’s rest. No matter what tips you try for increasing deep sleep, just remember to prioritize your comfort and do what works for you and your lifestyle.
If you’re looking for ways to upgrade your bedding and improve comfort, feel free to check our bedding products for better sleep.
Now, it’s time for you to hit the hay!
Contributing Writer: Rebecca Lee