How To Increase Deep Sleep
The importance of sleep cannot be stressed enough. Sleep plays a vital role in your body’s overall ability to function. Without an adequate amount of rest, we could suffer detrimental effects to both our physical and mental health. What is even more important than the quantity of sleep we get is the quality. High quality deep sleep is the sleep you need to wake up feeling refreshed in the morning. Read below to learn more about what deep sleep really is and the ways in which it can be increased.
What is the Sleep Cycle?
While we sleep, we go through a sleep cycle consisting of four distinct stages. These four stages are further divided into two categories known as non-rapid eye movement (NREM) and rapid eye movement (REM). The first three stages of sleep are considered NREM, while the last stage is known as REM sleep.
- Stage 1: This stage of sleep lasts for several minutes as the body starts to relax. You will most likely experience slow, rolling eye movements or muscle spasms during this stage. You can easily be woken from this stage.
- Stage 2: This stage actually accounts for 50% of the sleep cycle. Your body descends further into relaxation as your eye movements stop and your muscles contract and relax. Additionally, your heartbeat begins to slow and your body temperature drops.
- Stage 3: This is where deep sleep begins. Your brain waves slow down becoming delta waves, making it hard to be woken up. During stage 3, your body also starts to restore itself.
- Stage 4: This is the deepest stage of sleep. Your brain becomes way more active by helping you form memories and experience dreams. Your heart rate, eye movement, and blood pressure all increase.
The entirety of the sleep cycle lasts around 90 minutes and the cycle repeats itself until we wake up. The average adult should go through four to six cycles of sleep every night.
Why is Deep Sleep So Important?
Deep sleep consists of the last two stages of the sleep cycle. These two stages are incredibly important for your health being that your body restores itself while in the midst of deep sleep. This restorative phase is critical for:
- Hormone regulation and the pituitary gland’s secretion of the human growth hormone
- Boosting serotonin levels, which is key to stabilizing your moods and mental well-being
- Production of glucose metabolism, which supports your short-term and long-term memory
- Repair of body tissue and strengthening of immune system
- Cell regeneration and increased blood supply to the muscles
These are just a handful of the vital processes that take place during deep sleep, but it is clear that deep sleep is as beneficial as it is necessary. Studies have even shown that a lack of deep sleep can lead to conditions such as Alzheimer’s Disease, heart disease, and diabetes.
How To Improve Your Deep Sleep
It is natural for the amount of deep sleep we get to steadily decrease as we get older. Babies get about 2.4-3.6 hours of deep sleep, while adults typically only get 1.6-2.25 hours. Although adults require less deep sleep, it is still important to keep you feeling refreshed mentally and physically. If you believe that you are not getting enough deep sleep, there are ways to increase it. Try practicing some of the tips below:
- Exercise: Those who work out regularly tend to report falling asleep faster. Remember to avoid exercising right before bed because an increased heart rate from working out will delay sleep
- Incorporate more fiber into your diet: Studies have shown that a higher consumption of fiber can actually increase your time spent in stages three and four of sleep. More fiber may actually mean more deep sleep.
- Avoid certain drinks: Consuming caffeinated beverages or alcohol can throw off your sleeping schedule. Research has proven that caffeine can reduce your sleep even if consumed seven hours before bed. And while many people enjoy a nightcap, alcohol creates a rebound effect meaning that after a period of drowsiness, you might feel wide awake.
- Relaxing sleep environment: Where we sleep has a big impact on our quality of sleep. You want to make sure that there are no loud noises, avoid bright lights and keep the temperature cool. A comfortable mattress is just as important as the ambiance, so make sure your bed provides the perfect amount of support for sustained sleep.
- Color noises: Color noises can be used to block out other distracting noises and lull you to sleep. For instance, you can fall asleep to white noise, which sounds like static on a radio. You can also listen to pink noise, which might sound like rain or crashing waves.
Sleep, especially deep sleep, is crucial to our health and wellbeing. This is why it is important that we take the steps needed to make sure we are getting enough deep sleep. Whatever you do to increase your deep sleep, it is also important that you sleep on a mattress suitable for your sleep needs. At BedInABox® we offer six different memory foam mattress models to provide options for every sleeper.