Are You Getting Enough Deep Sleep
You can usually tell when you aren’t getting enough deep sleep. You may have frequent arousals, or too many transitions from deep to light sleep. You may also wake up completely. When you get up in the morning, you might still feel tired. Throughout the day, you may be sleepy or fatigued.
Unfortunately, there is no easy, accurate way to measure sleep stages. This makes it hard to know for sure how much deep sleep you are getting each night.
The gold standard test for diagnosing sleep problems is the polysomnogram. This is a formal study done at a sleep center that measures:
- Electrical activity of the brain , which is measured with an electroencephalogram
- Muscle activity
- Heart rhythm, which is measured with an electrocardiogram
- Leg movements
There are some limitations to this test. It is disruptive to sleep, and it is not good for long-term monitoring. It is also expensive, and not available to everyone. The test is very good at measuring deep sleep. It can not provide detailed insight into the long-term quality of your sleep, though.
Wearable devices could help fill the void left by sleep center testing. Fitness trackers and similar devices are convenient and can be used over the long term. These devices use a few different measurements to track your sleep, including:
- Oxygen levels
Wearable devices can give you an overview of your sleep patterns. Unfortunately, though, these measurements don’t give you a very accurate picture of your deep sleep.
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.
Adjusting The Sleep Environment: 4 Useful Tips
Your sleeping environment can affect the quality of your sleep significantly. To get enough deep sleep, your bedroom needs to be properly adjusted to promote sleepiness.
For example, you need to adjust the temperature in the bedroom, as it needs to be cooler than other rooms. There shouldnt be gadgets like TV, computer, gaming consoles in the bedroom. However, this still isnt enough to keep you asleep. Here are some further tips on how to make your bedroom a place for getting a good nights sleep
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Changes In Our Sleep Cycle
Sleep patterns are impacted by a range of factors, including stress levels, low mood and depression, worry, physical health conditions, medications, and worry about sleep.
Alcohol and many prescription drugs can help facilitate Stage 1 and 2 of sleep, but often have detrimental impacts on our more restorative Stage 3 and REM sleep. Have you thought about taking sleep medication to improve sleep challenges? Read this article on Taking Medications for Sleep first and consider other methods to improve sleep.
All You Need To Know About Deep Sleep
Deep sleep is one of the 4 stages of sleep that your body spends time in each night. Known as the physically restorative stage of sleep, it is of great importance for athletes. Below we discuss exactly what deep sleep is, what happens during it, how it benefits you, how much you need and the consequences of not getting enough, as well as what you can do to get more of it.
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Use An Eye Mask To Block Light
Similar to sound, light also has a drastic effect on the quality of sleep you get each night. If you have a partner who likes to read with the light on or if you work night shifts and catch up on your zzzs during the day, an eye mask can help. One study found that the use of eye masks on participants resulted in more REM sleep and elevated melatonin levels.
Tips To Get More Deep Sleep
The easiest way to ensure that your body is getting enough time for deep sleep is to ensure that you are getting enough sleep time in general. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adults get more than 7 hours of sleep daily for their optimal well-being.
In addition to this, here are a couple of tips that can help you get more deep sleep:
- Exercise: Research shows that regular exercise can increase and improve the quality of your deep sleep.
- Spend some time in the sauna: Some research shows that heat can help you get better deep sleep. Taking a hot shower before bed, or hitting the sauna are great ways to get some heat in.
- Have a healthy diet: There are many reasons to have a healthy diet, and getting quality sleep is one of them. One study shows that eating less fiber and more fats and sugars can cause your sleep to be more disrupted. Instead of these, consume more foods that are low in fat and high in protein and fiber.
- Listen to white or pink noise: If you struggle a little with going to sleep at night, listening to some white or pink noise can help with that.
- No coffee before bed: Coffee lovers might drink cups of coffee around the clock when left to their own devices. However, its important to avoid caffeine at least 7 hours before you go to bed to have a good nights sleep.
- Cut down on alcohol: While alcohol might seem like it helps you fall asleep, in reality, it reduces the quality and period of deep sleep that you get.
Block Blue Light At Night
The light that is emitted from TV screens, iPhones and even light bulbs is extremely disruptive to your sleep. This light exposure increases cortisol production and decreases melatonin production.
Every time you look at a bright screen you effectively send a signal to the brain that the sun is up. If the sun is up then it’s not time to sleep!
Worse, if there is artificial light present in your bedroom, studies have shown that this light can also impact your sleep quality. For more on this topic please see my article on Blue Light and Sleep here.
If you are going to use technology and bright light at night then be sure to wear BlueBlocker glasses to filter out the blue light.
Bonus : Supplement With Qualia Mind
Okay, so this is still a work in progress, but I wanted to update this article with my findingsin case others have noticed the same thing.
How much of a surge?
Can you believe I’m getting three hours of deep sleep?
And look at that sleep structureit’s nearly textbook perfect. Short sleep latency, no wakeups during the night, most of the deep sleep in the first half followed by REM and light sleep in the second half.
Anyway, the trend has continued. Last night, for instance, I had 40% deep sleep! That’s unheard of!
The lowest deep sleep time I’ve had since starting Qualia Mind was 1 hour 36 minutes, and that was on an ‘off-cycle day’ .
I can’t say for certain that Qualia Mind increases deep sleep. But I’ve noticed the change in my sleep since I started taking it .
I’ll be sharing my full Qualia Mind review in the coming weeks, so be sure to subscribe to my newsletter for updates.
I’m really keen to see if others are having similar results with Qualia?
Okay, I can confirm, Qualia Mind has a massive impact on my deep sleep!
But in a nutshell here’s what happened to my deep sleep after I took Qualia Mind:
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How Being Woken Up Mid
If you’ve ever been awakened suddenly by an alarm from a blissful night’s rest and wondered if it’s broken something in your brain, you’re not alone. Quite a lot of scientific attention has been devoted to the proper way to wake people up, and what unnatural “awakenings” actually do to the body and the brain. It may surprise you to know that not all the results are negative but the new sleep hygiene trend towards “natural” waking, using products that track your sleep and then gradually increase the light in your room so that you drift awake, comes overwhelmingly from this science. Being suddenly woken up mid-sleep cycle just isn’t great for you.
Intriguingly, the notion of a full, solid nine hours of sleep without a break is a modern invention. In the medieval period, particularly in Northern winters where nights could last for 14 hours or longer, it seems to have been common to have two “sleeps,” with a break of an hour or so in the middle filled with socializing, food, bathroom breaks, and whatever else . Scientific studies appear to indicate that, when exposed to natural light and darkness patterns, we fall back into this pattern, without any impact on wakefulness or attention during the day. So take the idea of “natural” nine-hour sleep cycles with a pinch of salt it’s been created by modern living conditions rather than real sleep-need.
Sleep Patterns Across The Night
Following the N3 stage of sleep, a series of body movements usually signals an “ascent” to lighter NREM sleep stages. Typically, a 5- to 10-minute period of N2 precedes the initial REM sleep episode. REM sleep comprises about 20 to 25 percent of total sleep in typical healthy adults. NREM sleep and REM sleep continue to alternate through the night in a cyclical fashion. Most slow-wave NREM sleep occurs in the first part of the night REM sleep episodes, the first of which may last only one to five minutes, generally become longer through the night. During a typical night, N3 sleep occupies less time in the second cycle than the first and may disappear altogether from later cycles. The average length of the first NREM-REM sleep cycle is between 70 and 100 minutes the average length of the second and later cycles is about 90 to 120 minutes. The reason for such a specific cycling pattern of NREM and REM sleep across the night is unknown. Some scientists speculate that specific sequences of NREM and REM sleep optimize both physical and mental recuperation as well as some aspects of memory consolidation that occur during sleep, but this has not been confirmed.
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Avoid Big Meals Before Bed
This is my personal downfall when it comes to low deep-sleep levels. Stress is typically the biggy, but I’m usually good at controlling that. Eating big meals late at night is a more common problem for me.
Whenever I eat a big meal after 7:30 p.m. at night , my deep sleep score, as shown by my Oura ring , is always low.
Here’s a quick story for you. I once experimented with once-a-day eating. Each meal was consumed at dinnertime. Of course, my body was crying out for food come mealtime and I would gorge on a few thousand calories in the space of an hour. Seriously, I tracked my food in MyFitnessPal showing some days I would consume over 3000 calories in one hour!
I would head off to bed an hour or two later and would have some serious acid reflux, not to mention broken sleep and low deep-sleep scores.
We already looked at how acid reflux can impact deep sleep, but big meals aren’t the only trigger. Spicy and acidic foods can also ruin deep sleep due to heartburn. Lying down makes these issues worse, so having a spicy or acidic meal close to bedtime is not ideal for deep sleep.
Another problem with eating close to bedtime is the possible blood sugar crash. If you do eat an unbalanced meal , you can set yourself up for a case of rebound hypoglycemia.
What goes up, must come down. And a big blood-sugar spike can result in a big blood-sugar crash a few hours later.
Sleep Cycles Vs Sleep Stages Whats The Difference
A sleep cycle is the physiological process that we go through as we sleep. We dont sleep in one long phase, its much more complicated and interesting than that! Our total nightly sleep is made up of several sleep cycles. Each sleep cycle is typically classified into four sleep stages: N1, N2, deep sleep and REM sleep.
Not all sleep cycles during a nights sleep necessarily contain all four sleep stages. For instance, we have more deep sleep and less REM sleep at the beginning of the night. Towards the morning, we have more REM sleep, but usually very little or no deep sleep in these later sleep cycles. Having less disruption during each sleep stage contributes to higher quality, recuperative sleep.
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Avoid Late Night Training
Exercise is a stress. Stress disrupts your sleep. Late night exercise disrupts sleep.
Remember, every time you go to the gym to do sprints or lift heavy weights, you’re introducing a stress load on the body. The harder you train, the bigger the stressor.
This is great if your recovery is adequate and you’re seeking body composition or strength changes. But it’s not great if this stress load occurs a few hours before bed.
We have already touched on the importance of de-stressing before bed. Doing spin classes or trying to break your heaviest deadlift record late in the evening is not a great way to de-stress.
Another problem with late training and deep sleep is the rise in core body temperature levels. It is normal to have a high body temperature one or two hours prior to sleep, but then the body starts to lower the temperature as you unwind and prepare for sleep. An elevated body temperature for a few hours post-training is not supportive of this.
Exercise is great, even beneficial for sleep, just don’t do it late at night. I prefer my clients to do their training in the afternoon or early evening at least three hours before bed.
Rem Light Deep: How Much Of Each Stage Of Sleep Are You Getting
Waking up tired, angry, or cranky? If you use a Fitbit Alta HR, Fitbit Charge 3, Fitbit Versa, Fitbit Ionic, or Charge 4, your sleep data may soon be able to reveal why. By tapping into your nighttime heart rate and movement patterns, these devices will be able to estimate how much time you spend in light, deep, and rapid eye movement sleep. Pretty cool, right? Each of these stagesor sleep typesserve a different purpose, so understanding how much of each stage you log can help you identify and address sleep-related issues. Below, a breakdown of what you need to know about each sleep stage.
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How To Get More Deep Sleep
The most important thing that you can do to increase your amount of deep sleep is to allow yourself adequate total sleep time. Often, individuals will deprive themselves of adequate total sleep. In addition to reducing deep sleep, REM sleep is also shortened.
There is some data to suggest that vigorous exercise can increase or consolidate deep sleep. Some sleep specialists recommend aerobic activities like jogging, running, and swimming. For those who are prone to insomnia, it is best to exercise earlier in the day and not before bedtime.
How Do I Use The Nectar Sleep Cycle Calculator
The Nectar sleep calculator is simple to use and a great solution for a better nights sleep. The sleep cycle calculator tracks different stages of your sleep and only wakes you during your lightest stage. Its an ideal alarm clock that wont jerk your out of your stage 4 deep sleep or disorientate you from your REM. We highly recommend giving it a try!
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Avoid Eating A Heavy Meal Before Bedtime
When sleeping after eating, especially eating a large meal before bedtime, the energy that should be used for restoring your body as you sleep diverts to your digestive system. The result is a less restful sleep. Try to avoid eating a large meal 2 to 3 hours before you expect to go to sleep. Some people find that spicy food can also disrupt their sleep because it gives them indigestion.
What Are Sleep Cycles
Humans sleep in cycles. The best known is REM, which stands for rapid eye movement, because your eyes move rapidly during this stage of sleep. In general, scientists and researchers divide the cycles into two broad categories: non-REM and REM sleep. I’m going to break down non-REM sleep into two further categories that are often used by sleep trackers.
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Stages Of Sleep: Rem And Non
By Charlotte Ruhl, published July 09, 2020
Fact checkedby Saul Mcleod, PhD
- There are five different stages of sleep including both REM and NREM sleep. The five stages make one sleep cycle which usually repeat every 90 to 110 minutes.
- Stage 1 non-REM sleep marks the transition from wakefulness to sleep. This stagetypically lasts less than 10 minutes and is marked by a slowing of your heartbeat, breathing, and eye movements , as well as the relaxation of your muscles.
- Stage 2 non-REM sleep is a period of light sleep before you enter deeper sleep, lasts roughly 20 minutes. Stage two is characterized by further slowing of both the heartbeat and breathing, and the brain begins to produce bursts of rapid, rhythmic brain wave activity known as sleep spindles.
- Formerly known as stages 3 and 4, stage 3 is the final stage of non-REM sleep. This is the deepest period of sleep and lasts 20 to 40 minutes. Your heartbeat and breathing slow to their lowest levels, and your muscles are so relaxed that it may be hard to awaken you.
- REM sleep occurs 90 minutes after sleep onset, and is a much deeper sleep than any of the three stages of non-REM sleep. REM sleep is defined by rapid eye movements and an almost complete paralysis of the body, and a tendency to dream.
Put simply, sleep is a state of perceptual disengagement from and unresponsiveness to the environment, marked by unique physiological and behavioral processes .