Improve deep sleep: Pay attention to nightly regeneration

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Improve deep sleep: Pay attention to nightly regeneration

Do you think you've actually slept enough, but you're still yawning all day long? This can be caused by too short deep sleep phases. But why is deep sleep so important for your health and what methods are there to improve it? You can find out this and more in the following article.

Why is deep sleep so important for our health?

To understand why deep sleep is so important, you should first know about the different sleep phases. A sleep cycle lasts around 70 to 110 minutes and is made up of the following sleep phases:

  • Light sleep: accounts for around 50 % to 60 % of total night sleep
  • Deep sleep: lasts 20 to 40 minutes per sleep cycle, decreases per cycle
  • REM sleep (dream sleep): lasts 30 to 50 minutes, increases per sleep cycle

Different physical and mental regeneration processes take place in each sleep phase. Deep sleep primarily fulfills the following functions:

1. memory function

During the deep sleep phase, memories and what has been learned are transferred to the long-term memory and stored there. So learning during sleep definitely works! Or to put it another way: it would be impossible to learn without sleep. Did you also know that too little deep sleep increases the risk of dementia? This is the result of a Australian study out.

2. healthy hormone balance

During deep sleep, the body releases a large number of hormones that are responsible for the Physical regeneration and health are important. These include cortisol and thyroid hormones, for example. Growth hormone in particular is mainly produced during sleep, which is why children need more sleep than adults. In addition, the immune system and muscles regenerate during deep sleep.

3. cell regeneration

All body cells regenerate during deep sleep. The molecule adenosine triphosphate (ATP) plays a crucial role here. If you think of your cells like a car that is driven during the day, ATP is the gasoline. Deep sleep also lowers sleep pressure, which means that the more intensive the deep sleep phases, the more rested you feel during the day.

Common causes of poor deep sleep

In order to improve your deep sleep, you should first get to the bottom of the causes of your sleep problems. These can be of various kinds. For example, the lighting conditions in your bedroom are often not optimal. Did you know that the day-night rhythm is regulated by light? In order to release the sleep hormone melatonin, it should be as dark as possible in your sleeping environment.

However, it's not just the lighting conditions but also the room temperature that can affect your deep sleep. Anyone who sweats or freezes during the night often tosses and turns in bed for hours. Another culprit can be a mattress that is too hard or too soft.

Another common cause of short deep sleep phases is emotional stress. If you are tormented by worries or have to deal with a stressful event, this will accompany you into your sleep. The body cannot relax. In this case, various Relaxation techniques which we will discuss separately at a later point.

Improving deep sleep: natural home remedies and tips

The causes just listed can be used to derive simple tips for improving your deep sleep:

  1. Make sure that your sleeping environment is as dark as possible.
  2. Avoid watching TV and using your cell phone for about an hour before going to bed. In general, your bedroom should be a media-free zone.
  3. Ensure a pleasant climate in the bedroom. The optimum room temperature is around 18 degrees and the humidity should not exceed 60 %. It is best to air the room thoroughly before going to bed.
  4. Avoid caffeine consumption in the afternoon. Caffeinated drinks include not only coffee, but also cola and black tea.
  5. Make an effort to establish a recurring evening routine and regular bedtimes.
  6. Get a mattress that you feel comfortable on. Replace mattresses if they are worn out.
  7. Avoid heavy meals before going to bed. If your body is busy digesting, you will find it harder to fall into a deep sleep.

Improving deep sleep: the role of medication

Wanting to improve deep sleep not only leads to better performance during the day, but, as you now know, has specific health implications. If your health is permanently impaired by too little deep sleep, medication may be prescribed in some cases.

However, it is important to know that sleeping pills are never a long-term solution! In addition, the medication never combats the actual causes, but only the symptoms. Therefore, in addition to the temporary use of sleeping pills, a medical check-up and, if necessary, psychotherapy should always be carried out.

One of the best-known sleeping pills in this country is melatonin. However, you should be aware that the dose in over-the-counter preparations is far too low to achieve an effect that goes beyond that of a sleep aid. Placebo effect goes beyond that. However, melatonin prescribed by a doctor can be temporarily helpful for older people who suffer from a disturbed day-night rhythm.

improve deep sleep home remedies

Practical steps to improve the continuity of deep sleep

Learn practical steps to improve the continuity of your deep sleep here.

Improve deep sleep; Step 1: Routines and regularity

Try to go to bed and get up at the same time every day so that your body can get used to a recurring rhythm. This also applies on vacation and at weekends.

Improve deep sleep; Step 2: Recognize and eliminate disruptive factors

In order to improve your deep sleep, you should find out which specific factors are disrupting it. Do you tend to scroll on your cell phone in bed and thus keep yourself awake? Do you watch (too) exciting or scary movies before going to bed? Are you too cold or too warm? Is the mattress comfortable? Is your full stomach keeping you awake? Eliminate the disruptive factors in favor of your sleep quality.

Improve deep sleep; Step 3: Maintain sleep hygiene

Speaking of sleep hygiene: we have already briefly touched on the most important factors for improving deep sleep. Declare your bedroom a media-free zone. Air the room before going to bed and make sure the room temperature is comfortable. Choose your sleeping clothes so that you neither sweat nor freeze. Shade your bedroom from distracting light sources.

Improve deep sleep; Step 4: Release mental stress before sleep

Psychological stress often prevents deep sleep. In this case, it can help to write down your worries and demonstratively put them away until the next morning.

Improve deep sleep; Step 5: Don't put yourself under pressure

Are you doing everything right to improve your deep sleep, but you're not succeeding? Then be aware that your body needs time to adjust. In particular, sleep disorders that have persisted for a long time will not disappear overnight. Stick to your established sleep hygiene and don't put yourself under any additional pressure.

How mindfulness practices and meditation can promote deep sleep

If you just can't calm down in the evening, mindfulness practices and meditation can help you to let go of mental tension more easily. Whether autogenous trainingmeditation or progressive muscle relaxation: try out what works best for you.

Meditation, especially (sleep) meditation, can ground you and help you to relax. We will show you how to find your way into a daily healing meditation routine in our free five-day Meditation Challenge.

The importance of a regular bedtime

You already know that a regular bedtime is important for improving deep sleep. Now we would like to take a closer look at the background to this. The human body loves habits. If you go to bed at the same time every day, your body will get used to it and demand your bedtime after a short time. In other words: you get tired.

The pressure to sleep, which now always peaks at the same time, helps you to sleep faster. fall asleep and also reach the deep sleep phase more quickly. In addition, a regular evening routine can provide security. This is particularly important in stressful phases of life.

Conclusion: A holistic approach to improving deep sleep

In order to improve your deep sleep in the long term, it is important that you not only look at the current problem, but also address the issue holistically. Several factors often play a role in disturbed sleep. These can be of a physical and psychological nature. Sometimes the sleeping environment is simply not optimal or you have habits that prevent you from sleeping.

While some disruptive factors can be eliminated quickly and easily - such as darkening the room or replacing the mattress - sometimes a little support is needed. If, for example, emotional stress is depriving you of healthy sleep in the long term, a professional Coaching useful to work through the causes.

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Reviewed by Dr. med. Stefan Frädrich

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