What is ‘deep sleep’ and how to get it every night

·Lifestyle Reporter
·4-min read

If living through a pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that looking after your health and wellbeing are more important than ever.

But if you’re waking up feeling groggy, lethargic and like you haven’t slept a wink, chances are you’re not getting enough good quality sleep - specifically Deep Sleep.

deep sleep woman wearing eye mask
Deep sleep is the most restorative phase of the sleep cycle. Photo: Getty

Deep sleep, also called slow-wave sleep, is the term used to define stage three and four of your sleep cycle. Your heart rate and breathing are at their lowest, your brain waves slow down, and your muscles and eyes relax.

Also known as the restorative phase, this is when your body repairs tissues, strengthens its immune system and is the vital link needed to wake up feeling refreshed. So if you’re someone who gets their eight hours and still wakes up tired, this is where you're lacking in shut-eye.

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One of our reporters had a prime example of that only this week, which you can see below. She may have gotten her full 8 hours, but was severely down in the deep sleep department, as her Samsung Watch revealed the next morning.

samsung galaxy watch sleep stages
We may have had over 8 hours sleep but were severely lacking in the deep sleep department. Photo: Yahoo Lifestyle

How to get a good night’s sleep

Gary Ginsberg, founder of Wowbeds, says there are multiple factors that contribute to getting the perfect night’s sleep.

“Spending the hours leading up to bed time bingeing Netflix or mindlessly scrolling social media often results in getting less sleep,” Gary tells Yahoo Lifestyle.

“In the 60 minutes before bed, you should go analog and avoid any screen that emits a blue light, which your brain reads as sun. Encourage mindfulness with activities such as reading, listening to relaxing music, light stretching or taking a warm bath or shower. The key is to keep your routine consistent to help your mind associate the routine with sleep and set you up for a productive next day.”

Here he shares some more tips on making sure your sleep is ideal.

Set up your sleep environment

“Creating a room that's ideal for sleeping often means a cool, dark and quiet space,” says Gary.

“Consider using room-darkening shades, earplugs, a fan or other devices to create an environment that suits your needs. On your nightstand, use low light bulbs and avoid using electronic devices. It’s also important to make sure you have a comfortable mattress that supports you when you sleep.

"The biggest advantage to getting a good night’s sleep is the comfort and support you get from your mattress. That might sound like a given, but it’s how your mattress deals with the pressure points on your body that will ultimately determine whether you sleep like a baby or not.”

woman sleeping on good mattress
Your matteress is so important for a good sleep. Photo: Getty

Play a little white noise

While some people prefer complete silence when sleeping, others need a little “white noise” to unwind.

How do those people ensure they get a good night’s sleep?

“Sound plays an important role in your ability to fall and stay asleep,” answers Gary.

“Try using white noise to block any sound that may be keeping you from falling and staying asleep, or for those looking to increase deep sleep, listen to pink noise. Pink noise represents calming nature sounds like steady rainfall or waves crashing on a beach. This type of noise has been found to increase deep sleep and improve memory in older adults.”

Sticking to a sleep schedule

Gary says that sticking to a routine will help your body naturally fall into a state of habit, which can benefit your sleep aswell as overall health.

“An irregular bedtime routine doesn’t do you any favours. If you have a habit of falling asleep early one night then going to bed at 2:00 am the next night, you most likely will struggle to hit those deep notes. Implementing a sleep schedule will help your body understand when it’s time to wind down at night and thus support your body’s internal clock.”

Choose your snacks to optimise sleep

While we’re all partial to a late-night kebab or macca’s run after a night out (Maccas late night brekkie RIP), you might want to rethink your choice of late-night munchies.

“Going to bed hungry or very full will create discomfort and keep you up. In particular, avoid heavy or large meals within a couple of hours of bedtime, in addition to nicotine, caffeine and alcohol. The stimulating effects can take hours to wear off and can wreak havoc on the quality of sleep," Gary explains.

"Even if you're able to fall asleep after a few glasses of wine or a latte, it can disrupt your deep sleep. Studies have also shown that a greater intake of fibre can result in more time spent in the stage of deep sleep.”

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