There are those days that you have got the recommended hours of sleep but still feel weary and tired throughout the day. It almost feels like you haven’t slept at all. If you are nodding your head while reading this, it probably means you haven’t got enough deep sleep.

To understand what deep sleep is and why it is important, we first look at the different stages of sleep. People generally go from NREM (non-rapid-eye-movement) sleep and REM (rapid-eye-movement) sleep through the night. This too can be broken down into 4 distinct stages. [1]

Stage 1: The first stage is characterized by eye movement and is the lightest stage of NREM sleep. People can be easily woken up and this stage.

Stage 2: The second stage is the actual NREM stage of sleep where the brain waves slow down, and the body begins to relax.

Stage 3: This is the deepest stage of sleep and is deemed as the stage where bodily repair and restoration occurs at its peak. This type of sleep is called slow wave sleep.

Stage 4: This last stage is the REM stage of sleep where dreaming occurs. People can be woken up easier at this stage. The brain waves are more active, similar to being awake and eye movements are rapid.

A sleep cycle is when a person goes through these different stages from NREM to REM, lasting about 90 minutes. You can use Nectar’s sleep calculator to gauge the number of cycles you will need to feel great in the morning. Deep sleep occurs at stage 3 of the sleep cycle. It occurs in longer

Why is deep sleep so important? This stage is very important as it is when the body works towards repairing and restoring itself. The brain at this stage is in such deep rest that if you try waking a person up from deep sleep, they will be groggy to about 30 minutes after. It is also the time where the body recovers from the after-effects of sleep deprivation. The deep sleep stage will see the blood pressure drop down to a more relaxed rate. Just like a phone recharging at night, your body will slowly begin to recharge as well.

Here are the different ways to ensure you get more deep sleep:

  1. A nice warm bath – We aren’t talking about a quick shower but to let your body heat up in a sauna or warm bath. If you don’t have access to a sauna at the local gym, light up some candles, put on some relaxing music and let your body soak in bubbly warm water for a while.
  2. Exercise – There is no honest way to underestimate the importance of exercise in a person’s life. Adding to the physical and mental health benefits, it also helps aid deep sleep. With exercise, you expend energy which forces your body to recover it during the night. [2] However, if you overtrain, your body might be going in overdrive, keeping you from sleeping well at night. In these cases, you might want to take two days off in a row to reset your body.
  3. Remove the distractions – One reason why people find it difficult to sleep well are all the distractions around them. The noise and light from the streets are the common distractions people face during the night. Often, white noise machines and blackout curtains help reduce the effects of these distractions by creating a calm, dark environment for you to rest easy. [3]
  4. Uncomfortable mattress – One of the most common reasons people struggle with their sleep is an uncomfortable or unsupportive mattress. Mattress brands are now focusing on creating great sleeping experiences with technology. For example, by using an expensive adaptive hi-core memory foam as one of the five layers, Nectar ensures the sleeper gets enough support to the various pressure points in the body. These brands are committed to creating tranquilizing sleeping experiences that lasts all night.
  5. Monitor your diet – The best thing about adulthood is that you don’t have someone else monitoring your diet. It could also possibly be the worst thing about adulthood. Often, what we put in our bodies have a profound impact on your sleep. Caffeine, high sugar items, high carbohydrate foods all impact sleep negatively. A tart cherry juice at night also improves your deep sleep. [4] Other foods that help you sleep include honey, walnut, and pretzels. [5]
  6. Tea – While people know the value of chamomile tea to put you to sleep, not a lot is known what makes it special. The tea is made from dried flowers of the chamomile plant and is rich in antioxidants and antimicrobial properties. It also does not contain any caffeine which helps induce sleep. Apart from chamomile tea, green tea, passionfruit tea, and lemon balm tea are also great to induce sleep.
  7. Avoid Alcohol – People are often under the misconception that alcohol helps you sleep better. This could not be further from the truth. Irshaad Ebrahim, The London Sleep Centre in the U.K says, “Alcohol may seem to be helping you to sleep, as it helps induce sleep, but overall it is more disruptive to sleep, particularly in the second half of the night.” [6] It may be best to stay away from that nightcap after all.

You can use this article to establish a good wind down routine for yourself that helps you relax much easier. The faster you relax, the better your sleep will be.

Sleeping better is a conscious step that needs to be taken by people with a pinch of salt. If you haven’t been sleeping well, it could possibly be caused by something you did with your diet, exercise or even excessive stress you bear. It starts with cleaning up your lifestyle, which can be harder than you think. Good sleep hygiene starts with accepting that there might have been wrong choices you have taken for your body and then moving on to a healthier, fuller lifestyle.

References:

[1] Stages of Sleep and Sleep Cycles. Retrieved from Tuck. https://www.tuck.com/stages/

[2] The Benefits of Exercise For Sleep By Dr. Michael Breus. The Sleep Doctor https://thesleepdoctor.com/2017/05/22/benefits-exercise-sleep/

[3] How To Get Deeper Sleep By Carlie Dobkin. Retreived from Eight Sleep https://site.eightsleep.com/blogs/news/how-to-get-deeper-sleep

[4] Ideas For Extending Your Deep Sleep By Leah Perri. Retrieved from Sleep Score Labs https://www.sleepscore.com/extend-deep-sleep/

[5] Best foods to eat at bedtime for a good night’s sleep by Erin. Retrieved from Nectarsleep https://www.nectarsleep.com/posts/healthy-foods-help-you-sleep/

[6] Alcohol and a Good Night’s Sleep Don’t Mix By Denise Mann. Retrieved from WebMD https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/news/20130118/alcohol-sleep#1

Leave a Reply

avatar
  Subscribe  
Notify of