We’re all aware of the fact we should be getting at least seven to nine hours of sleep a night. Though, getting quality, deep sleep is sometimes difficult if you’ve not primed yourself for a great night’s rest. In order to ensure your sleep will be of a high quality, you should be relaxed enough to fall into REM sleep multiple times a night. However, some foods and bad technology habits can affect this.
An important reason to make deep sleep a priority rests on the fact that it’s a healing time for the body. During this time, your muscles receive a higher blood supply than normal in order to repair any damage. On top of this, deep sleep also allows the brain to release a myriad of additional hormones to regulate bodily functions and mood.
Let’s take a look below at our seven ways to get a deeper sleep.
No Sugar, Caffeine or Alcohol Before Bed
Of course, these are at the top of our list. Mainly because a vast number of people enjoy a weak coffee before bed, an alcoholic nightcap or even a sugary snack. All of which are terrible when sleep is concerned. If you’re trying to get a deeper night’s sleep, all three of these foods and drinks are going to make that a whole lot harder.
First of all, caffeine is a stimulant. That means it’s designed to keep you awake for longer, get your heart rate going and stop anything related to sleep. Alcohol is a tricky one. Having anything alcoholic before bed may get you to sleep faster, though it will inhibit any kind of deep sleep. This is because alcohol blocks the body from falling into the important REM stage of sleep. Lastly, sugar is a big no-no before bed. As a fast-acting carb, it gives the body a major spike in energy or sugar high.
Stripping out these foods before bed isn’t too difficult. You’ll need to set up a routine however and slowly get used to not having these things. Start by moving your coffee, sugary foods or drinks, and alcoholic beverages back into the day. You won’t need to cut them out entirely, just commit to moving them back to before 5 or 6 pm and after a few days replace them with water.
Keep Your Room Cold
If you’re aiming for a deeper, more refreshing night’s sleep, then reducing the temperature in your bedroom is one way to go. The body sleeps far better when temperate enable our core temperature to drop by around 2 degrees Fahrenheit and reaches 35.7 degrees Celsius. To help promote this drop and create a more comfortable space for you to sleep in, drop your AC down to around 18 degrees. In doing this, you’ll prevent night sweats and keep yourself comfortable, promoting deeper REM sleep.
Relax Yourself Before Bed
Any type of meditation or relaxation is a fanatics way to prepare yourself for sleep. If you’re already relaxed before bed, then as soon as you get under the covers your body won’t need to spend any time relaxing and can get right to sleep. This encourages your body to get into deeper sleep much quicker and gives you even more time in REM sleep.
Implementing meditation or breathing exercises isn’t too difficult either. Simply download an app from the App Store and choose a time before bed to focus on your breathing. This way you’ll be reducing stress levels and make deep sleep a whole lot easier.
Don’t Suffer Through Breathing Problems
If you’re someone who suffers from mild or severe breathing problems during sleep, don’t suffer through these or allow your quality of sleep to take a hit. There are so many versatile CPAP machines out there to suit just about everybody. If you have breathing issues or sleep apnea, you likely already have a CPAP machine by the bed, though, if you’re traveling for work or the holidays and need a smaller CPAP machine, then these are available too.
Products like the Philips DreamStation Go are a fantastic travel companion because they’re so small, battery powered and can be taken with you almost everywhere. This is perfect if you’re on a business trip and need a good night’s sleep in a hotel before a meeting or event.
No More Daytime Naps
Having power naps during the day that last around an hour to two hours might be a great pick-me-up if you’re tired and need some extra energy to finish the day, but they’re terrible for sleep quality in the evening. A number of sleep studies have revealed that not only do daytime naps knock your sleeping pattern out of shape, but they also change your internal body clock. Ultimately, this means you don’t feel tired when you’re trying to sleep at night, and during the day you can barely keep your eyes open.
The easiest way to deal with these daytime napping issues is to exercise, eat healthier to avoid a sugar crash and also to use your willpower. If you know that you shouldn’t be sleeping at 3 or 4 p.m., then do everything in your power to stop.
Choose Low-sugar Nighttime Snacks
In line with our first tip, nighttime snacking is a way for you to tell your body that you want to stay awake for longer. Eating sugary or high-carb foods gives you great amounts of energy and also takes time to digest, so you’ll be kept awake in bed for longer. On top of this, as your body digests food, it won’t be able to focus on getting into a deeper REM stage of sleep. This will mean you’re tired when you wake up the following day.
Mitigating this type of snacking isn’t too difficult when you have low-carb and sugar-free snacks on hand. Food box retailers like SnackNation offer snack boxes with plenty of goodies inside, a few of which are perfect for late night snacks and won’t keep you awake.
It’s also a good idea to try block late night snacking altogether. Eat more during the day or have a larger dinner so that you’re not hungry and likely to snack later in the evening.
Change or Replace Your Bedding
Lastly, if you’re finding that you’re doing everything you can to get a deeper sleep and it simply isn’t working, it might be time to invest in new bedding, pillows, and mattresses. Your body might not be able to get into an optimal sleeping position on your current mattress, and that could mean your ability to fall into a deep sleep is inhibited.
Take a look at a few offerings at local mattress stores and select something that’s supportive while also able to reduce any pain or discomfort while sleeping. Also, keep in mind that pillows will also have an effect on your sleep, so be sure to choose something that’s also supportive and made of a breathable fabric.