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Sleep Guide: How To Get A Deeper Sleep by Understanding Your Body & Habits

Getting a deeper sleep is not just about getting to bed earlier and sleeping for a longer amount of time - it’s about improving the quality of your sleep.

 

Isolating and removing harmful sleeping habits that can improve the amount of deep sleep you get, but really understanding the science of your sleep can take it to the next level.

 

Getting a good night’s rest isn’t rocket science, after all. But your quality of sleep can definitely be informed by science, good habits and some purposeful adjustments to your sleeping environment.

 

Even if you’re not sleeping on a Helix Mattress, we still care about you being well-rested. Our sleep guide is meant to help you find deeper sleep, and make it a part of your life forever.

Understanding The Stages of Sleep

There are four numbered stages of non-REM sleep: Stages 1 through 4. The final stage is REM. An individual feels wakeful and alert following a full sleep cycle.

 

Waking up mid-way through a sleep cycle result in grogginess and fatigue. Brain waves activity varies widely between the sleep stages. Here’s a breakdown of what you might feel in each stage.

 

Stage 1
This is considered the lightest sleep where eye and muscle movement slow down considerably. This is that moment where you find yourself drifting in and out of sleep, only semi-conscious. It usually lasts around 10 minutes.

 

Stage 2
This is the stage where eye movement stops and the brain begins to produce very short periods of rapid, rhythmic brain wave activity known as Sleep Spindles. Breathing and heart rate are regular, but body temperature drops and you become completely disengaged from your surroundings. It usually lasts around 20 mins.


Stage 3
The transitional period between light and very deep sleep. Slow brain waves, known as Delta Waves, begin to emerge in this stage, blood pressure drops but blood supply to muscles increases, and breathing slows down. Hormones are also released, helping to facilitate tissue growth and produce energy.

 

Stage 4
You’ll see some sites combining stages 3 and 4 into one, but we’ll separate it here for the differences. Referred to as Delta Sleep it is known as the deepest and most restorative sleep as many reparative processes take place in this stage. But being in such a deep state of sleep has its downsides - if sleepwalking and bedwetting are going to happen, they’ll happen at the end of Stage 4. It usually lasts about 30 minutes.

 

REM Sleep

The famous REM Cycle, short for Rapid Eye Movement, is characterized by the eyes rapidly moving back and forth behind the lids. We first enter into the REM cycle after about 70 to 90 minutes of non-REM sleep.

 

We go through about 5 cycles of sleep each night, with each cycle of REM lasting longer than the previous one. The REM Cycle is the most active stage of sleep for the brain, in fact, electrical activity during REM is very similar to waking consciousness. Both the brain and body are energized, but oddly enough, the body becomes immobile and relaxed. Muscles are actually turned off to prevent the body from physically acting out dreams.

 

What Constitutes A Full Sleep Cycle?

One full sleep cycle occurs after all five sleep stages have been completed. The first two sleep stages are considered “light sleeping” and, if awoken, a sleeper will often deny they were sleeping at all.

 

However, stages three and four are known as “deep sleep” and results in slow-wave brain activity. The last stage, REM, is when dreaming occurs and memories are consolidated.

How Many Hours of Sleep Do You Actually Need Then?

To ward off the negative effects of sleep deprivation, adults should sleep between 7.5 and 9 hours per night. This allows for five or six sleep cycles to occur before waking.

Common Things That Ruin Deep Sleep

Whether you know it or not, you might be sabotaging your sleep quality by practicing poor sleep habits. Below, we’ve listed some of the common culprits of a poor night’s sleep.

 

1. Harmful Sleep Habits

If you’re wondering how to sleep better, you probably have more than a few poor sleep habits.

 

For instance, sleeping in is one of the worst ways to throw off your sleep schedule and confuse your body’s internal clock and circadian rhythm. To avoid grogginess throughout the day, wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends.

 

Another unhealthy sleep habit is overexposing oneself to light before bed. At least one hour before bed, turn off as many lights as possible in your home to reduce the amount of light in your living space. This way, your brain can start to send signals to the body that it’s time to retire for the night.

 


2. Sleep Disorders
If you regularly wake up feeling groggy and restless, then you may be suffering from a common sleep disorder. We’ve listed some of the most commonly diagnosed sleep disorders below:

  • Narcolepsy

  • Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)

  • Upper airway resistance syndrome

  • Restless leg syndrome

  • Insomnia

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3. Not Keeping A Sleep Schedule

You should sleep and wake at the same time every day. Whether it’s a weekday or weekend, sleeping according to a routine will train your body to unwind and energize consistently at the same time throughout the week.

 

If you want to know how to get more deep sleep, keeping a sleep schedule might be your golden ticket.

 

4. Uncomfortable Sleeping Environment

You need a comfortable sleeping environment and mattress if you want to feel rested every morning. To sleep better, invest in a high-quality mattress that is designed to accommodate your body’s unique needs.


You can also think about switching up your pillow to give yourself a leg up in the sleeping game. Some people like to use a wedge pillow to take the pressure off their lower back. You can also use a cooling pillow to alter the temperature of your environment according to your comfort.

 

5. Regularly Not Getting Enough Sleep

If you want to know how to get a good night’s sleep, the solution isn’t complicated. For most of us, the answer is to sleep longer. Try adding an extra sleep cycle (60-90 minutes) on top of your regularly allotted sleep time and see what difference it makes.

 

You might think you don’t need a longer sleep, but sometimes, it can be as simple as that.

 

6. Blue Light Pollution

Electronic devices emit blue light that can trick the human brain into thinking that the sun is still up. To prevent the negative effects of blue light exposure, turn your electronic devices off at least one hour before you get ready for bed.

 

Definitely try to limit your social media scrolling or Wikipedia deep dives while lying in your bed.

6 Ways You Can Sleep More Deeply

Want to find out how to increase deep sleep and how to improve sleep equality? Check out our top tips and tricks for a better night’s sleep.

 

1. Get Rid of Distractions

These days, the main culprit behind poor sleep is overusing our phones, tablets, and other devices. Reduce your screen time by installing apps on your devices that restrict usage past a predetermined time of the day.

 

2. Create A Bedtime Routine

Developing a bedtime routine is about more than going to bed at the same time every day. For instance, pick up a new habit, such as reading a book or drawing, beginning 30 or 45 minutes before you try to fall asleep.

 

3. Nourish Your Body

If you’re interested in learning how to get more sleep and how to get good sleep, start by providing your body with the nutrients it needs. Instead of sugary drinks and junk food that spike your insulin and growth hormone production, try snacking on nutrient-dense foods rich in phosphorus, manganese, and riboflavin such as almonds, turkey, kiwi, fish, and many fruits and vegetables.

 

4. Exercise Daily

Exercising every day is an excellent way to learn how to go to sleep faster and how to sleep longer. Even a 10-minute walk down the block is enough to calm the chatter in your mind, stretch the body, and burn off any excess energy before bedtime.

 

5. Limit Napping

Although napping in moderation is healthy and beneficial for the mind, excessive napping can interrupt your sleep schedule and make it more difficult to fall asleep. To prevent nightly sleep disruptions and achieve a better sleep, limit yourself to one 15 or 20-minute nap per day without hitting the snooze button.

 

6. Get A Mattress That Actually Supports Your Needs

If you’re serious about getting a better night’s sleep, you need to invest in a mattress that suits your sleep style and body type. To get started on your sleep improvement journey, take the Helix Sleep Quiz today and find out what mattress type best suits your body, sleep positioning, and firmness requirements.

Our Sleep Guide Tips For A Deeper, More Restful Sleep

We went into detail in many of the items above, but here we’re going to give you our bulleted checklist of things to do and (not to do) to get a better night’s sleep.

 

  • Sleep on a comfortable mattress (we recommend a custom mattress).
  • Stick to a schedule, even on the weekends.
  • Stay hydrated and avoiding large meals at night.
  • Don’t go to bed either hungry or stuffed.
  • Create a bedtime ritual - this helps let your body know that it’s time to sleep.
  • Limit napping - especially long naps.
  • Add exercise or physical activity to your daily routine.
  • Try to block out as much light and noise as possible.
  • Use a sleep mask and earplugs if necessary and avoid blue light close to bedtime.
  • Keep your bedroom at the optimal sleep temperature - between 60° and 67° (ideally at 65°).
  • Only use your bed for sleep.
  • Avoid electronics before sleeping.
  • Do yoga and/or meditate before bed to rev down.
  • Take a bath or try aromatherapy if you have trouble relaxing before bed.
  • Visualize sleep - just like in sports, if you visualize sleeping it will come easier to you.  
  • Keep a journal - it helps to destress you before bed.
    If you wake up in the middle of the night, busy your mind with mental exercises, not your phone.