How much deep sleep should you be getting each night?
Whilst there is a lot of focus on the quantity of sleep that we should be getting, when looking into the benefits of sleep, it seems that quality also plays an important role. Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, Silentnight’s resident sleep expert, has spent her career looking into our sleep patterns and finding ways we can improve them.
Dr Nerina found that we sleep in cycles of roughly 90 minutes called the ultradian cycle. This cycle consists of 5 stages with one and two being ‘light sleep’, three and four ‘deep sleep’ and the fifth being a burst of ‘REM’ (rapid eye movement) sleep. During these deep stages of sleep, glucose metabolism in the brain improves our short and long term memory capability and supports our overall learning ability. It is also when we restore the most energy and major cell repair occurs. These benefits of deep sleep highlight just how important it is to ensure we allow our bodies to get enough sleep.
As we can’t fall directly into deep sleep, the only way we can help encourage us to clock up the hours is to ensure we get enough sleep, at the right times. This includes preparing ourselves for sleep correctly and earlier than many people currently do.
With stage four accounting for 13-23% of our sleep, people may find themselves experiencing a lot less of this essential regenerative rest. To ensure you prepare yourself for as much as possible it is essential to head to bed early. Dr Nerina highlights that even if you’re getting 7-9 hours sleep, heading to bed late you could be depriving you of this regenerative rest.
The hours between 1-3am are where we enter deep restorative sleep, and adequate rest before these hours is essential to allow our bodies to rest fully. Between 9-11pm it’s advised that we start relaxing and preparing for bed. To help drift of during these hours, restricting the use of technology and taking extra steps such as a bicarbonate of soda bath or yoga can help those who struggle getting to sleep.