Many of us have problems with falling asleep at night. Not only that, but staying asleep. Also, even once you nod off, you might well wake up easily if there’s any light, noise or any other disturbances. So what can you do to make sure you get as much deep sleep as possible?

8 Deeper Sleep Tips to Improve your Slumber

This article includes 8 of our top tips to help you drop off at night. And to stay asleep for longer so you slip into that restorative deep sleep your body needs to rejuvenate and repair itself.

Also covered are FAQs about deeper sleep. Let’s dive into how to get better deep sleep.

8 top deeper sleep tips

Here are 8 top tips to sleep better - and thus increase how much deep sleep you get!

  1. You are what you eat

If you want to sleep well, then think about what to consume during the day. Getting enough fibre, protein, carbs, vitamins and minerals can all help to promote good sleep. Really, it’s all about getting the balance right.

Are you getting your five-a-day by eating enough fruit and veg, and are you really taking in enough whole grains to supply the fibre your body needs? Enough fibre plus avoiding too much sugar and fat really can help you to sleep better, according to a US study.

eat healthy for better sleep
exercise helps sleep
  1. Get enough exercise

Getting enough exercise is pretty obvious when you think about it. Being active tires out your muscles so they’ll relax more - which is exactly what they do during deep sleep. Half an hour per day, five days a week can be enough, as long as it raises your heart rate.

Don’t exercise just before bed, though, as the increased heart rate and adrenaline might actually keep you awake instead!

  1. Step away from the coffee

Not only coffee, but cola, energy drinks and other products containing caffeine really can keep you awake. It’s difficult to give a definitive answer here as it varies so much between individuals, but as early as mid-afternoon can be right for some.

If you know that consuming coffee or Cola after say, 6pm can keep you awake at night, then don’t. The same goes for tea - especially green tea, energy drinks and more. Check drink labels if you’re not sure.

avoid coffee late in the day
for a deeper sleep don't drink alcohol
  1. Stay away from alcohol

One drink might help you sleep, it might not. But excessive consumption definitely won’t help you with getting a good night’s slumber. If you tend to wake wide-eyed at 3am, then you’ll know exactly what we’re talking about.

  1. Consider comfort

Is your bedroom as comfortable as it could be? Treating yourself to some super cosy new bedding might even help you to get a good night’s rest. It’s also likely to make you want to curl up between those brand new sheets.

Washing your bed linen weekly can even help. Who can resist the smell of a freshly laundered duvet cover that’s been line dried in the sun?

make your bedroom comfortable
control your bedroom temperature for better sleep
  1. Control the temperature

Controlling the temperature of your bedroom can be important. Otherwise, you may wake up because you’re too hot or cold. Are you using a duvet with the right tog rating, for instance? Should you have the window open or closed? Check the weather forecast and predicted overnight temperature to find out.

Silk bed linen can help here, as it’s naturally thermoregulating. Though it’s more costly than cotton, you only need to buy a silk pillowcase to reap many of the benefits. Or try sleeping in a cosy, ultra comfortable hooded blanket if your room is really cold.

Learn about how to stay cool in the summer

  1. Block out light

Blocking out unwanted light can help - but blackout blinds and curtains can be costly. Instead, invest in a silk eye mask at a fraction of the price. This can increase the sleep hormone, giving you a head start when it comes to snatching more of that valuable deep sleep.

block out light with a silk eye mask
for better sleep wind down with a book
  1. Wind down

A proper winding-down routine really can help you get into the right mindset for sleep. If your mind and body is fully relaxed, then you’re far more likely to nod off. And stay asleep for longer.

Avoid screen time if you can in the last hour or so before bed - as well as eating, exercising or having a hot shower. Instead, take a good book or magazine with you. Once you feel sleepy, it’s time for lights out.

Deeper sleep FAQs

What is deep sleep?

Deep sleep is the most restorative phase of sleep. It is often referred to as slow wave sleep. During deep sleep your heart rate and respiration are at their lowest level during any 24-hour period, and even brain activity slows down too.

Deep sleep is important because it’s when your body restores and repairs itself. This is vital for your overall health and maintaining a strong immune system. You also need to get enough deep sleep each night if you want to wake up feeling refreshed and ready to face a new day!

How much deep sleep should you get?

You don’t actually need as much deep sleep as you might think. While adults need an average of eight hours’ slumber per night, only an hour or so of this may be deep sleep. Opinions vary regarding the exact proportion, but experts estimate that we need somewhere between 10% and 25% of our sleep to be deep .

This also varies by age - as we get older we actually require less deep sleep.

What are the other stages of sleep?

There are four main stages of sleep, as follows.

  1. Non-REM (NREM) stage 1. This happens between waking and sleeping properly, and lasts for only five to 10 minutes.
  2. NREM stage 2. The heart and breathing rate slows down and your temperature may drop slightly. This stage lasts for about 20 minutes.
  3. NREM stage 3. This is deep sleep, when your muscles relax and your respiration rate and blood pressure drop.
  4. REM or stage 4. REM (rapid eye movement) sleep is when you dream. The body is relaxed during this stage, but the brain is more active than when in deep sleep.

What causes a lack of deep sleep?

Not getting enough deep sleep can be caused by insomnia, stress or ageing. The latter is because we need less deep sleep as we get older. Conditions such as schizophrenia or Alzheimer’s can also cause people to experience less deep sleep.

How can I increase the deep sleep stage?

Anything that helps with getting more sleep can in turn lead to you having more deep sleep. So how to improve deep sleep? Simple measures to take include a good diet, getting enough exercise, creating a comfortable environment, avoiding alcohol and caffeine and winding down at night.

March 06, 2023 — Michelle Fletcher Smith