Deep sleep, also called slow-wave sleep, is a term used to define stage three and four of sleep. During these stages, your heart rate and breathing are at their lowest, your brain waves slow down, and your muscles and eyes relax. This is also known as the
'restorative; phase of sleep because your body repairs tissues and strengthens its immune system.
To help quiet your mind and learn how to increase the amount of deep sleep you get each night, practice the tips below.
1. Work Out Daily
It's no secret that getting in a daily sweat sesh is beneficial to sleep. Those who work out during the day tend to fall asleep faster than those who don't work out at all. Researchers also found that those who work out 150 minutes a week are twice as likely to get a good night's sleep. However, make sure to avoid intense workouts right before bed as these can raise your heart rate - leading to interrupted sleep.
2. Eat More Fiber
A healthy diet does more than just improve weight loss, it also has an impact on the quality of sleep you get. A greater intake of fiber can result in more time spent in the stage of deep sleep. During the day, make a conscious effort to add more fiber to your diet in addition to other foods that promote sleep.
3. Find Your Inner Yogi
Not only is yoga a great way to center your body and mind, but it can also promote better sleep quality. Those who practiced cyclic meditation - an exercise that combines yoga poses with rest periods of lying on your back - were more likely to experience deep, slow wave sleep. Work yoga into your daily workout routine or right before bed. Focus on yoga poses for sleep that relax the
body and mind.
4. Avoid Caffeine 7+ Hours Before Bed
Caffeine is a stimulant that can make it harder for you to fall and stay asleep. It also can reduce the amount of deep sleep you get. One study found that consuming caffeine seven hours before bedtime reduced the amount of sleep received by one hour. Stick to water, tea, and other decaffeinated drinks instead. Certain drinks such as warm milk and chamomile can help induce sleep.
5. Resist that Nightcap
An alcoholic drink before bed may help put you to sleep, however, it's likely you won't stay asleep. When you have a nightcap before bed, the alcohol gets processed by the body. The sedative effect it once had disappears and will often create a rebound effect - waking you up in the middle of the night and interrupting deep sleep. If cutting alcohol out of your nightly routine seems impossible, stick to
drinking a glass earlier in the evening to avoid a wake up call at 3 AM.
6. Create a Relaxing Bedtime Routine
Stress from a busy workday or taxing afternoon with the kids can make it difficult to shut your mind off and enjoy sleep. Creating a personalized bedtime routine can help your body relax and curb any looming sleep
Your bedtime routine should be anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes and the key is to keep your routine consistent. This will help your mind associate the routine with sleep and set you up for a productive next day.
What Are the Benefits of Deep Sleep?
Deep sleep stages - REM sleep and stage three of the sleep cycle - are the most important stages of sleep. They are known as restorative phases that are critical for hormone regulation, growth, and physical renewal. REM sleep is also when the brain forms and stores information in a person's long-term memory. It also helps boost feel-good
chemicals like serotonin.
If you were to forgo deep sleep, it's likely you would wake up feeling groggy and depressed. You may also gain weight and have difficulty concentrating and being social during the day. Deep sleep is not only important for the body and mind, but for your overall quality of life.
How Much Deep Sleep Should You Get a Night?
The average adult needs between 1.6 and 2.25 hours of deep sleep a night. Newborns and babies need around 2.4 to 3.6 hours of deep sleep; children ages one to five need around 2.2 to 2.8 hours of sleep; and teenagers need around 1.7 to 2 hours of deep sleep.
Sleep needs change as you age. The older you get, the less deep sleep your body requires, however, that does not make it any less important. While there is no specific requirement of how much deep sleep you should get, people who are younger generally need more as it promotes growth and development.