4 tips for improving deep sleep

By ganerationlmn 10 Min Read
Tips for improving deep sleep

You feel like you’re getting enough sleep. Still, do you have trouble getting out of bed in the morning or do you feel exhausted in the afternoon? Or maybe your smartwatch is showing you insufficient deep sleep? You might be wondering if you’re sleeping too lightly and not getting enough sleep at night. In this article, we want to get to the bottom of the deep sleep phase. You will learn what deep sleep is and how it differs from other sleep phases. We also explain what happens during this time, how much sleep we need, and what you can do if you want to improve profound sleep.

What is deep sleep?

Before we get into whether and how you can improve deep sleep, let’s first look at what happens during sleep and the role deep sleep plays in it.

Nighttime sleep fills about 30 percent of our lifetime and is very important for our awareness and daytime functioning. While sleeping, our body goes through different sleep phases, which can be distinguished by measurements with a so-called electroencephalogram (EEG). Deep sleep is one of those phases. In science, it is also called slow wave sleep because the electrical waves that the EEG measures are very slow in this phase.

Why is it worth improving deep sleep?

Sleep and its functions are still the subjects of much research today and we still do not know everything about the functions of sleep. It is not at all easy to find out which properties and functions can be attributed to which sleep phase. Because unfortunately, you can’t just put the body in just one specific sleep phase for one night for such experiments that you want to investigate. Nevertheless, we have summarized a few functions of the deep sleep phase here that you are already sure about today.


Learning while you sleep – of course, that doesn’t work. Or does it? At the very least, sleep is very important for learning. Because while you sleep, the things you have learned during the day are solidified. Deep sleep is primarily responsible for so-called declarative memory – the knowledge of facts and events. So if you learned a list of vocabulary during the day, then deep sleep is responsible for transferring this knowledge to long-term memory so that it can be called up again the next day.

Hormone balance:

During profound sleep, various hormonal processes take place in the body, which can be summarized as growth and recovery processes. Among other things, this involves maintaining good functioning of the immune system, muscle recovery, and the correct release of hormones such as cortisol, thyroid hormones, or growth hormones. In addition, sleep and especially deep sleep has an important function in the regulation of blood sugar levels, heart rate, and blood pressure. Enough deep sleep is therefore important for a balanced and healthy immune and hormone system.

Recovery and sleep pressure:

Another important function of deep sleep is the recovery of the body. During deep sleep, the energy tank is refilled. Physical processes related to adenosine triphosphate (ATP) play an important role here. This molecule can be thought of as the energy currency of cells. During sleep, all of the ATP that was expended is reabsorbed into the cells, allowing each cell to get back to work and “spend” energy the next day. In addition, through this mechanism, among other things, the sleep pressure is reduced during deep sleep – the physically induced sleepiness that builds up over the day. Even a short phase of deep sleep can be enough to greatly reduce sleep pressure. You may have noticed this before when you woke up at night and just couldn’t find your way back to sleep.

How much deep sleep do we need?

How much deep sleep someone needs cannot be said in general terms. Depending on age, gender, and other factors, a person’s total sleep needs can range from 5 to 9 hours. And the proportion of it that falls on deep sleep also varies, since sleep changes with age, for example. As an example, we have selected the proportions of the sleep phases of a healthy, approximately 30-year-old male sleeper here:

  • Light sleep: 55-60 percent.
  • Deep sleep: 10-25 percent.
  • Dream sleep: 20 – 25 percent

Typically, young adults sleep between 7.5 and 8.5 hours a night. A healthy sleeper gets 1-2 hours of deep sleep. However, it should be noted that extreme sleep times of between 4 and 12 hours are also observed and cannot be classified as a sleep disorder from the outset. In addition to the lack of sleep at night, how you feel during the day is also decisive for the diagnosis of a sleep disorder.

How can I improve my deep sleep phase? – 4 tips

Programming the body to spend more time in the slow-wave sleep phase is difficult. Nevertheless, we would like to give you a few tips here with which you can improve your deep sleep and also increase the quality of your sleep in general. Because not only deep sleep has an important function, but the other sleep phases are also essential for your health and your well-being during the day.

1. Reduce caffeine consumption

The fact that the stimulant caffeine is bad for sleeping is probably self-explanatory. Coffee consumption in the afternoon or evening leads to a longer time falling asleep and thus to shorter sleep overall. Interestingly, however, research indicates that not only does total sleep time decrease, but so does the proportion of time spent in deep sleep. So coffee has a particularly bad effect on slow-wave sleep. Therefore, try to only drink coffee in the morning if you want to improve your profound sleep. You’ll see that after a while with less or no coffee, your body will get used to it and you’ll feel more energetic overall – even without the caffeine.

2. Get rid of stressors

Another important point is to find a good way of dealing with stress and stress factors. Of course, it is not possible to simply eliminate all stressors from life. But to improve your slow-wave sleep, you should try to get a good distance from them, at least in the evening. For the last few hours before bed, skip those work emails and make sure you’re doing other activities and getting enough rest. Perhaps you would also like to try to counteract stress with meditation, yoga, or relaxation exercises. Developing an evening ritual can also be helpful. You can do this by keeping a gratitude journal to guide you and before you go to sleep, deal with the things that did you well during the day. Not only can this help you fall asleep faster, but it can also improve your sleep.

3. Reduce electronic devices and media consumption

You’ve probably heard of this point as well. Most people now know that the blue light produced by electronic devices can disrupt and disrupt sleep patterns. That’s why most devices today have the option of setting a blue filter in the evening. In addition, watching media in the evening can also lead to emotional excitement, which in turn can harm falling asleep. In a recent study, playing video games also performed particularly poorly. People who played an interactive computer game before going to bed found it took longer to fall asleep. Increased light sleep at the expense of deep sleep, and reduced memory the next day.

4. Avoid taking a nap during the day

To improve your deep sleep at night, you should also avoid long naps during the day. If you sleep for more than 20 minutes a day. That can be enough for your body to enter a deep sleep phase. This in turn means that your sleep pressure is reduced. And it is more difficult for you to fall asleep in the evening. Therefore, try not to sleep at all in the afternoon or not for more than 20 minutes at a time.

Check out: Meditation: 5 Tips for beginners


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