Does it feel like your body is dragging, despite getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep at night? It might mean you’re missing out on precious deep sleep. Deep sleep is the sleep stage responsible for healing and repairing your body, replenishing cells, and revitalizing your immune system. Therefore, it’s important that we get enough of it to feel our best each day.
You can try some of these ideas to see if they help increase your deep sleep for a more energized tomorrow!
1. Get the Right Amount of Exercise at the Right Time
Experts recommend about thirty minutes of exercise per day, 5 days per week. Try for the 30-minute average per day of whatever you enjoy doing most. Even moderate physical activities like walking the dog, light jogging, or yoga should do the trick. Exercise can help expend your energy and extend your deep sleep, but keep in mind that strenuous exercise too close to bedtime can interfere with getting the sleep you need. Physical activity in the morning can help you feel awake and energized, and you can spend your day feeling good that you already got some exercise. Another time for exercise that works for many people is the late afternoon, to burn off the stress of the day. Do this at least 3 hours before bedtime to wear yourself out while not encroaching on your time to wind down and relax before bed. When you get enough sleep, you have more energy! Feeling energized means you can get more done, including more physical activity, which will help you get more deep sleep.
2. A Pre-bed Warmup
Taking some time before bed to warm your body can help prepare you for a healthy night’s sleep and actually can help you fall asleep faster and improve deep sleep! You want to feel cozy and warm — but not hot – at night. Try spending time in a warm bath, hot tub, or sauna at night before getting cozy with a weighted blanket. For the best results, we recommend taking a long bath with a temperature of 95⁰F (35⁰C) or higher, ending at least 45 minutes before your regular bedtime.
3. Careful with Caffeine
It comes as no surprise that caffeine consumption can have negative consequences for your sleep; however, the time of day you need to stop caffeine intake may surprise you. Caffeine can linger in our system for up to 6 hours, possibly increasing the amount of time you’re spending in lighter stages of sleep and decreasing the amount of time you spend in deep sleep. Therefore, you should halt any caffeine consumption at least 6 hours before bedtime to give yourself the best chances at a healthy night of sleep.
4. Try Pink Noise
Researchers at Northwestern Medicine found that sleeping with a pink noise or white noise machine boosted objectively-measured deep sleep in patients with mild cognitive impairment, which led to improvement in their memories the following day. There are some great sound machines that feature many different varieties of sounds, including pink noise. You may also consider a fan or an air purifier for their background noise along with the added bonuses of temperature control and clean air.
5. Hypnosis Before Bed
A study out of the University of Fribourg in Switzerland found that research participants who listened to sleep-promoting audio recordings containing hypnotic suggestion spent more time in deep sleep compared to those who did not listen to the recordings. If you’re interested in trying this technique, there are free and paid audio resources available. Find one that appeals to you, and try using it before you sleep. Turn it off before you drift off to sleep or use a timer to shut it off. That way the sounds won’t disrupt your slumber after you’ve fallen asleep.
You may find that one or all of these suggestions help you get more deep sleep. Try them out to see what works for you, keeping in mind that everyone’s sleep is a little different.