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11 Helpful Tips on How to Get More Deep Sleep

After a tiring day, sometimes all you want is to stock up on some quality sleep for a fresher start in the morning. But not every hour of sleep is created equal. When we wake up frequently at night, we disrupt our sleep cycle, ultimately leading to less restorative deep sleep. Read on to learn more about how to get more deep sleep naturally.

11 Helpful Tips on How to Get More Deep Sleep

Bearassentials

During deep sleep, your body completes important functions like restoring tissues and revitalizing your immune system

We tend to get less deep sleep as we get older, but our bodies still need the same amount

Weighted blankets can help people get more deep sleep through Deep Touch Pressure (DTP), which increases melatonin (the sleep hormone) and decreases cortisol (the stress hormone) 

Did you know?
Drinking caffeine frequently can lead to caffeine withdrawal, which leaves you feeling fatigued and irritable

We’ve all found ourselves waking up in the morning feeling less-than-refreshed. And it’s not always because we weren’t in bed for enough hours. When we toss and turn at night, we disrupt our sleep cycles, preventing our bodies from getting the rest they need.

The good news is, once we begin to understand what causes a lack of deep sleep, we can take steps to reclaim restorative rest. Drastic measures often aren’t necessary: a few simple lifestyle changes can be enough to sleep deeply again.

1. Understand Your Sleep Cycles

If you’re wondering how to get more deep sleep or how to get more REM sleep, it’s a good idea to learn what causes a lack of deep sleep in the first place.

Deep Sleep vs. REM

So what’s the difference between deep sleep and REM sleep?

REM stands for rapid eye movement. This phase of sleep doesn’t happen until about 90 minutes after you fall asleep. Once you reach REM sleep, your brain gets more active, and you might have more intense or vivid dreams.

Scientifically speaking, deep sleep is actually considered one part of non-REM, or NREM, sleep. NREM sleep is divided into three stages. When you first fall asleep, you enter stage 1 of NREM sleep, where your eyes are closed but you can easily be woken up. After about ten minutes, you’ll move into stage 2: light sleep. Finally, before shifting into REM sleep, you reach deep sleep, or stage 3 of the NREM sleep cycle.

During deep sleep you’ll have a hard time waking up. Your body is hard at work completing essential tasks like repairing tissues and refreshing your immune system.

So when you wake up feeling groggy, chances are you aren’t getting enough deep sleep for your body to do its job. That can be caused by a lack of overall sleeping hours or by fragmented sleep.

Luckily, if you’re feeling drowsy and less alert, there are some steps you can take to reclaim your deep sleep.

increase deep sleep with bearaby blanket

2. Reduce Your Caffeine Intake

It’s the elephant in the room when it comes to lack of sleep, but the evidence is clear: caffeine is bad news when it comes to good rest.

Consuming caffeine even six hours before bedtime is likely to keep you awake once your head hits the pillow.

What’s more, becoming dependent on caffeine can eventually cause caffeine withdrawal, which can make you feel fatigued even after a long night’s sleep.

You don’t need to cut caffeine out of your life entirely in order to improve the situation. You can try gradually swapping your morning drink to decaf coffee or green tea and save lattes and soft drinks for special occasions.

By reducing your caffeine intake, you can increase the number of hours you sleep at night, ultimately leading you to more of that precious NREM deep sleep.

3. Solidify Your Bedtime Routine

Everybody’s bedtime routine looks different. Maybe you listen to a podcast while tidying up your room, or maybe you prefer to unwind by reading a few chapters of a good book in bed. Whatever the case, a consistent bedtime routine can be helpful for winding down and getting your brain and body ready for rest.

How Much Deep Sleep Do You Need By Age?

You might think that bedtime routines are intended for children. And it’s true that a consistent bedtime routine can help kids sleep better!

But sleep hygiene becomes more important as we get older. Kids need more sleep than adults. But once we hit adulthood, our sleep needs stay the same, while our ability to sleep tends to deteriorate. It becomes harder to get deep sleep as we age.

A bedtime routine creates a predictable way of preparing your body for deep sleep. And by creating a bedtime routine that you actually like, you might be more excited to go to bed and more likely to turn in earlier.

4. Avoid Exercising Before You Sleep

Moving your body more during the day is one way to encourage better sleep. But since cardio causes a rush of endorphins, it’s best to avoid it right before bedtime. You may find yourself tossing.

If you typically exercise right before bed, you can swap your usual workout for something more relaxing like a nighttime stretching routine. Stretching is a great ritual for calming your mind, and it has long-term benefits, too: better flexibility can improve your performance in all sorts of other workouts.

model snuggling blanket to get deeper sleep

5. Drink Less Alcohol

It’s a bit counterintuitive: when you drink alcohol, it seems to make you sleepy, and can even help you fall asleep. But if you’re wondering what causes a lack of deep sleep, alcohol is one of the prime suspects.

During the first half of an alcohol-induced slumber, you’ll probably sleep soundly without interruptions. You won’t be dreaming much, either, because alcohol suppresses REM sleep. But once that alcohol leaves your bloodstream, it’s a different story. During the second half of the night you’ll likely be waking up more often as your brain becomes more active.

So by cutting back the amount you drink before bed, you can also cut down on the number of mornings you wake up wondering how to get deeper sleep.

6. Limit Your Screen Time

Most of us spend a lot of time looking at screens everyday. But this can make it even harder to get deep sleep. Electronic devices emit blue light, and this can be bad news for our circadian rhythms.

Does Melatonin Increase Deep Sleep?

Your circadian rhythm is the cycle that tells your body when to sleep and when to wake up. By influencing the hormones that you produce, your circadian rhythms help determine how much deep sleep you get.

It’s all dependent on light: when light levels decrease, our bodies get the go ahead to create more melatonin. This helps us fall – and stay – asleep.

Your body is programmed to wake when the sun rises and sleep when the sun sets. But blue light can throw that out of balance.

If, like many people, you use your phone right up until you fall asleep, your body’s getting mixed signals. You may be doing everything you can to fall asleep, but based on the light, your eyes think it’s time to wake up.

By putting your phone away a couple hours before bed, you’ll give your body the time to start winding down and producing melatonin for deep sleep.

7. Block Out the Light

Blue light from electronics isn’t the only light source that can mess with our circadian rhythms. If you’re wondering how to get more deep sleep naturally, adjusting your evening lighting can be a big help.

Try to reduce the amount of light in your space after sunset. Once it’s time for bed, keeping your space as dark as possible should help you on your way to a good night’s sleep. You can even install blackout curtains on your windows to prevent any unexpected bright light from waking you up.

8. Regulate Your Room Temperature

Everybody has different sleep preferences when it comes to temperature. Some people are hot sleepers, while others get cold easily and like to snuggle up with lots of layers. However you choose your bedding, the science suggests that in general, people tend to sleep better in a cold room.

By turning down the thermostat or turning on a fan, you can create a cool, calming environment to cuddle up to sleep. Just don’t make it too cold — you don’t want your teeth to be chattering!

9. Eat More Fiber

Sleep scientists are still learning more about how your diet influences your sleep. However, the evidence suggests that eating more fiber could be one way to get more deep sleep. One study showed that diets with less fiber, more saturated fats, and more sugar resulted in lower quality sleep for participants.

Individual dietary preferences can vary, but some great sources of fiber include chickpeas, sweet potatoes, and berries.

Before you rush to pack fiber into your diet, though, remember that there’s no fastrack that will speed up how to get more deep sleep! And if you increase the amount of fiber you’re eating too quickly, you might be setting yourself up for an upset stomach. Like many dietary modifications, it’s a good idea to take it slow and drink plenty of water along the way.

10. Change Your Bedding

The space you sleep in can have a big impact on your quality of sleep. And while bedding may not influence your circadian rhythms as much as blue light, it can be a big part of how to get more deep sleep.

So what kind of bedding should you use to get deeper sleep? It all depends on your personal preference! Even a swap as simple as cleaning your sheets more often can help you feel more relaxed when you get into bed.

Pillows can also have a big influence on sleep quality. If you’re finding that your regular pillow doesn’t give you the support you need, or you wake up with aches and pains from side sleeping, you might want to change the firmness of your pillow or even try a body pillow for added comfort.

11. Use a Weighted Blanket

There are two main problems that prevent deep sleep: difficulty falling asleep, and difficulty staying asleep. Weighted blankets are one way to address both problems at once. Through Deep Touch Pressure (DTP), weighted blankets increase melatonin and decrease cortisol (the stress hormone). And studies have shown that weighted blankets can cause a calmer night’s sleep

If you’re new to the world of weighted blankets, we recommend choosing a blanket that weighs around 10% of your body weight. There are plenty of styles, colors, and materials out there to choose from, so you can pick one that matches your bedroom just right. Our knitted weighted blanket might be a good option if you’re looking for a sustainable, breathable weighted blanket.

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Conclusion

Deep sleep is an important part of how our bodies rest and reset after a long day. But as we get older, it can get harder to find deep sleep. Since deep sleep happens during a specific phase of your sleep cycle, frequent nighttime wakeups can make it hard for you to get the rest you need.

Luckily, there are several steps you can take to improve your sleep quality. By understanding your sleep cycles, re-examining your bedtime routine, and adopting new habits like using a weighted blanket, you just might be on your way to a night of deep, restorative rest.