Sleep is an essential component of healthy living. It is estimated that adult humans need about 8 hours of sleep daily. This number varies mostly depending on age, with younger people requiring more sleep than older people.
It is widely acknowledged that as people age, they require fewer hours of sleep, with most old people doing 6-7 hours of sleep.
In this article we will explore 15 ways of how to get more deep sleep, enhancing the overall quality of your health and body functions.
Stages of Sleep
There are different stages of sleep. A session of sleep involves an evolution of sleep from one stage to another. Sleep is categorized into two, with a Non-Rapid Eye Movement (Non-REM) stage and a Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage.
Throughout a sleeping session, for instance, during the night, your sleep will move back and forth from the Non-REM to the REM stage, with cycles of deep sleep interspersed with light sleep.
Deep sleep, occurs in the last stage of Non-REM sleep and may last for between 1-2 hours. During this phase of sleep, your whole body is relaxed, and your breathing becomes slower and methodical. Your heart rate changes to its slowest at this point with a heart rate falling below 60 beats, as opposed to the normal 60-80 beats per minute.
It is in this stage of sleep that people are hardest to wake, as they easily block out all noise.
The importance of deep sleep
So why is it important for you to understand how to get more deep sleep?
Deep Sleep is essential for the growth and restoration of the body. The reason why the number of hours required for sleep decreases with age is that the long sleeping hours in childhood are needed for the growth desired by your body at that age.
However, it all changes, as you age and the body’s priorities shifts, and you need more hours awake to fend for yourself, and do everything else that is needed to stay alive, like working, learning and socializing.
During deep sleep, the body generates human growth hormones from the pituitary glands, which are required for the growth and development of the body. It is also at this stage of sleep, where hormones for cell regeneration, necessary for the growth and repair of tissues, bones, and muscles happen.
Deep sleep is also important for energy restoration, as well as the strengthening of the body’s immune system. If our bodies were electronic gadgets you would equate sleeping, with getting recharged after a full day’s use.
Scientists agree that sleep is essential for humans. It is the quality of your deep sleep that determines the quality of your overall sleep, and how well-rested you feel the next morning.
Let us, therefore, look at some 15 ways in which you can get more deep sleep.
15 Ways to Get More Deep Sleep
1. Develop a bedroom routine and stick to it
To get a daily dose of a deep sleep, it will be important to adequately prepare yourself for it each night before going to bed. Use the last 30 minutes of your day for this exercise, by doing things that will induce sleep and ensure you get the best quality sleep.
Schedule sleeping hours, and get into and out of bed at the same time each day. Don’t be tempted to sleep more over weekends, as they will disrupt your cycle. Avoid afternoon naps, and if you must take power naps, then make sure they are short.
In setting a bedroom routine, you can include some of the tips given in this article. If you have a partner, it will be best that you follow the same routine, and you will both get deeper sleep.
Most of all, stick to the routine and deviate from it only when necessary, or when it is unavoidable. With time, you will find that you will not require an alarm clock, and you will wake up well-rested and rejuvenated, after your scheduled sleeping hours.
By orienting yourself to a daily bedroom routine, your body will become accustomed to a daily cycle that makes it easier for you to gain more deep sleep.
2. Unwind before going to bed
Unwind with a cup of chamomile tea, or use skullcap, California poppy, and valerian. These are great natural remedies that can induce sleep, and prevent insomnia.
You can also unwind with relaxation or meditation techniques that will help you relax for instance yoga, a massage or warm scented baths.
You should also include soothing background music, beautiful scents, and fragrances, with dimmed lights as you set the tone for the body to fall asleep.
A proper wind down as part of your daily bedtime routine will be a sure way to ensure that you get more deep sleep.
3. Switch off all gadgets and electronics at least one hour before you go to bed.
At least one hour before going to bed, you should switch off all the gadgets and electronic devices in your house. If soothing music is part of your bedroom routine, it would be best that this music comes from a device that does not emit light, for instance, a traditional radio, or CD player.
Your bedroom routine should not include things that will require the use of gadgets and electronics. Stay away from your phone and your laptop, as they emit blue light that will stimulate you, and disrupt your sleep pattern.
For a good night’s rest, and deeper sleep, ensure you keep your cellphone particularly off. Just as it needs recharging often, so do you. You can share an alternative emergency number with your loved ones, just in case.
Also, remember that you can always catch up with your social media feeds the next day, and you do not have to glance at it just before bedtime.
4. Sleep with ideal temperature and humidity levels
If you use an air conditioner, you should set the temperature of your room to the same level every night.
The ideal sleeping temperature would be between 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, but even minor variations may disrupt your sleep.
Experiment and take notes about your sleeping pattern, and see what works for you as your ideal temperature, and once you have discovered it, stick to it.
If you live where the temperature variations within a year, are not extreme, you could orient yourself to sleep with room temperature, and only make adjustments to your beddings, depending on the season.
The optimum humidity level should be between 45% and 55%. Use a home ventilation system to ensure that you keep the humidity level in your bedroom to the same level all year round.
5. Block out the noise
Noise is an important factor of good sleep, that must be considered when answering the question of how to get more deep sleep.
factor Noise is a sure disruptor of good sleep, and with excessive noise, it will be difficult to achieve enough hours of deep sleep.
If you live in a noisy neighborhood, or next to a highway or airport, you should insulate your house as much as possible using heavy curtains and carpets.
You can use a white-noise machine that will run in the background, drowning out all the bad noise. White noise will produce a soothing effect that can make you relax and will ensure that you block out sudden noises, such as a passing vehicle.
The whirling of a fan is also good white noise that will result in a more deep sleep for you.
6. Get a good quality bed, mattress, and pillow.
It is estimated that humans spend at least a third of their lifetime sleeping. It, therefore, follows that a bed should be one of your best investments in life.
To ensure you get good quality sleep, and more deep sleep, you should get a good quality bed and beddings, including the mattress, pillow, bedsheets and blankets or duvets.
Mattresses and pillows are widely acknowledged as significant determinants of your quality of sleep.
Research on the best mattress for you, and read on what users of different brands say. The best mattress will ideally be one that is neither too hard nor too soft.
The choice of mattress is also determined by your sleeping style. Side sleepers, stomach sleepers, and back sleepers will have slightly different mattress type requirements. If you have a partner, hopefully, you can come to a compromise, on what will work for both of you.
Consider changing the pillows as often as possible, and usually not more than a year. With time, pillows lose their softness, and their quality deteriorates.
Also check on the other beddings including sheets, duvets, and blankets. Use good quality cotton sheets, that are standard and assured to provide a good night’s rest. Get a high-quality duvet with appropriate thickness and good material. Ideally, you should sleep with one duvet. and avoid multiple sheets and blankets, that may disrupt your sleep when you roll over.
7. Watch the food you take before you sleep
The food you take during the day, and especially a few hours before you sleep will affect the quality of sleep that you will get.
You should first of all aim to finish eating at least one hour before bedtime. Avoid heavy meals and foods that can give you indigestion such as spicy foods.
You should also avoid alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine, as they may stimulate you and cause you to lack deep sleep.
Equally, you should avoid taking a lot of fluids just before bedtime. Fluids will give you a full bladder and will interrupt your good night rest, as you have to get up to urinate.
8. Lighting your bedroom
To get more deep sleep, check the lighting of your bedroom, and how it complements your bedtime routine.
If possible install dimming lights, where you can adjust the light intensity, as part of your bedtime routine.
For the best deep sleep, you should sleep in complete darkness. If you are affected by external lights such as car lights on your street, or the lights from the lamp posts, consider buying heavy curtains that will block away from all the light.
Use eye shades if your sleeping partner is still using the lights, or cannot sleep without the lights on.
If you must sleep with lights on, consider using red lighting, as it has been confirmed with research that red colors would induce good sleep better than blue or white color light. There are lights available that also adjust automatically until it is completely dark.
9. Take a hot shower or a bubble bath
Before going to bed you should take a hot shower or a bubble bath with warm water. A hot shower before bedtime will get you in a sleeping mood and will ensure you get a good night’s rest.
Conversely, a cold bath will stimulate you, and keep you alert for longer, and is great for a morning bath.
As an alternative to a hot shower, you could soak your feet in warm water, probably as you relax and read a book. Try adding Epsom salt on the water, and you will notice the relaxing feeling that it will give you. Dry your feet well before jumping into bed.
10. Check on your partner, and how sharing a bed prevents you from getting deep sleep.
Check on your sleeping partner and how their sleep affects yours. The quality of your sleep will be directly affected by the sleeping habits of your partner. Some of the sure sleep killers include snoring, excessive rolling over in bed, and pulling and tugging of bed covers.
Or, you could be the one with the bad sleeping habits, affecting the quality of sleep that your partner gets.
As sleep is a fundamental component of life, it will be a good idea to have an open discussion with your sleeping partner about your respective sleeping habits.
If your partner pulls and tugs on the beddings, try using different covers in the same bed. If their rolling and turning are excessive, try different beds. Also consider using earplugs if the snoring is unbearable, or eye shades if your partner can’t sleep with the lights off.
If you have a sleeping partner with sleeping behavior that interrupts your deep sleep, you will have to compromise – or worse, sleep in different rooms.
11. Let’s talk about sex baby
Talking of partners, before you kick them out of your room, consider how they can help you get more deep sleep.
Having sex is a great way to improve the quality of your sleep. Sexual activity induces sleep, due to the hormones that are released while having sex. During sex, the body releases prolactin, especially when sexual satisfaction is achieved. Prolactin causes a feeling of relaxation that induces sleep.
Sex will also relax you more, and relieve any stress, worry or anxiety that you may have.
12. Don’t Worry – Worry is a killer of good sleep
Before bedtime, take time to release all the worry and negative habits of the day. Worry is a killer of good night rest, and you should set aside all the cares of the world, as you prepare to sleep.
Whatever may be troubling you, will not be solved by worry. You will find that a good night’s sleep will keep you well-rested, and will probably help you handle whatever it is that is causing the worry and anxiety.
Try meditations and affirmations, if you are a constant worrier. Before going to sleep, say affirmations for 30 minutes about how you are about to get the best sleep ever.
To quote a famous book “who by worrying can add a single day to their life”
13. Exercise during the day
To get more deep sleep, you need to keep your body active and vibrant during the day. This you can do by doing physical exercises, including a session at your gym, jogging, a basketball game or taking a brisk walk by the park or with your dog.
Physical exercises that wear you out is instrumental in giving you more deep sleep during your sleeping cycles. It will also relieve you of stress, and the bath that you will get after the exercise will relax your body.
Exercises done outdoors will be the best as you absorb the natural sunlight and air, putting you in a more natural state.
Avoid heavy exercising just before bedtime, and ensure you get sufficient rest before sleeping. Physical exercises will ensure that you get longer cycles of deep sleep.
14. Avoid sleeping pills and medication.
If you are unable to sleep, avoid sleeping pills and try more natural remedies to get your sleep back. Usage of sleeping pills can lead to addiction, and increase your reliance on them.
To induce some sleep, get a book and read it until you are sleepy. Also try deep methodical breathing, inhaling and exhaling long deep breaths. This will calm you and will help you achieve some sleep.
If you have to take any medication before you sleep, check the active ingredients and ensure they will not interrupt your sleep. Some medication also leads to hallucinations and heavy dreaming. Check for the side effects.
In general, avoid pills and medication unless you are on a prescription.
15. Go to a sleep therapist, or get professional help
If your lack of sleep persists, you should seek professional help and see a sleep therapist, to help you understand how to get more deep sleep.
You could be suffering from any of the 88 sleep disorders, and it will be important that the disorder is diagnosed for appropriate remedies to be instituted.
A therapy that could be effectively employed is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which can enhance the quality of your sleep by altering your thought patterns before bedtime. It works by improving relaxation skills and causing lifestyle change habits.