If you find yourself getting the necessary hours of sleep at night but still feeling like your body hasn’t rejuvenated itself, you’re likely not getting enough deep sleep. This sleep stage is responsible for healing and repairing your body, replenishing cells and revitalizing your immune system. It’s a critical stage of rest, but often we don’t get enough of it. Deep sleep should account for roughly 10-20 percent of your entire nightly rest. Your first deep sleep cycle lasts 45 to 90 minutes, and each subsequent cycle gets shorter from there. If you’re waking up feeling physically exhausted despite sleeping for 7 to 9 hours, there are some steps you can take to improve your time in deep sleep.
Keep Your Diet Sleep-Friendly
The American Sleep Association found that a low carbohydrate diet promotes an increase in deep sleep time when compared to those who ate a mixed diet. There’s also a growing body of evidence that suggests consuming tart cherry juice could assist in increasing time spent in deep sleep.
Try Pink Noise
A recent study by Northwestern Medicine found that pink noise, like waves lapping on a beach or trees rustling in the wind, increased time spent in deep sleep. While the study only observed thirteen participants, it’s an exciting discovery in the world of sleep solutions. There are several free sound apps that feature all varieties of sounds, including pink noise. Give one a try tonight and see if it improves your deep sleep.
Hypnosis Before Bed
A 2014 study out of the University of Fribourg in Switzerland found that subjects who listened to sleep-promoting audio recordings containing hypnotic suggestion spent as much as 80 percent more time in deep sleep compared to those who did not listen to the recordings. There are both free and paid audio resources that lean toward the hypnotic persuasion and using one may help with your deep sleep debt.
Get the Right Amount of Exercise
The National Institutes of Health recommend about thirty minutes of exercise per day, 5 days per week. That’s right in the sweet spot of what’s best for improving deep sleep and your quality of sleep overall. Try not to overdo it though, sometimes too much physical activity can lead to difficulties with sleep and even insomnia. Try for the 30-minute average per day of whatever you enjoy doing most. Luckily, you don’t need to become a cross-country sprinter or Cross-Fit junkie to reap exercise’s benefits, moderate exercise like walking the dog, light jogging, and even yoga should also do the trick.
Listen to ASMR Videos
Have you heard of ASMR? A 2015 study defined it as, “Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, in which individuals experience a tingling, static-like sensation across the scalp, back of the neck and at times further areas in response to specific triggering audio and visual stimuli. This sensation is widely reported to be accompanied by feelings of relaxation and well-being.” This study found that 82% of respondents used ASMR to help them sleep, and 70% used it for stress management. There are a huge variety of ASMR vloggers out there, and each caters to specific ASMR “triggers.” Pull up YouTube and search “ASMR” to see if one of these videos works for you.
Through exercise, a healthy diet, and some other new tricks, you can get the deep sleep your body needs to restore your strength, muscles, and physical well-being. Give these ideas a try and see what works for you tonight!