How to get more deep sleep
Deep non-REM sleep cleans your brain.
Remember the glymphatic system?
(If not you clearly haven’t read our blog post on why alcohol can be good for you 😉). A new study published by Science Advances indicates that the slow and steady brain activity associated with deep non-REM are optimal for the function of the glymphatic system (the brain’s unique process of getting rid of waste, in case you needed a reminder).
But how do we know this?
Six groups of anaesthetised mice were studied in this research. While they were sleeping, the researchers tracked brain electrical activity, cardiovascular activity, and the flow of CSF through the brain. The mice that had a sleep pattern closely resembling deep non-REM were found to have the most active glymphatic systems.
So, deep sleep = better brain cleaning
This discovery (that deep sleep promotes the activity of the glymphatic system) matches up with the clinical observations that show an association between sleep deprivation and a heightened risk for Alzheimer’s.
Tips to get more deep sleep:
Power down bright lights/screen time at least an hour before bed. Removing this stimulation helps prime your body for its sleep cycle.
Be consistent: aim for the same hitting-the-sack time, even on weekends. (Although this doesn't mean you should fit your weekday patterns to match your Friday night 2am choice.)
Be cool: the temp of your bedroom matters. According to #science (and my Oura ring), the right median temperature for a body to rest at night is right around 19.5 C.
No big meals or workouts too close to bedtime. Gotta keep your digestive systems and cortisol levels in check!
De-stress. Do what you gotta do: meditation, stretching, or lifestyle shifts to remove stress. This guide on meditation is a great place to start.
Vitamins. A deficiency in certain vitamins have shown that it can be harder for your body to produce the sleep hormone melatonin—find out which ones you could be lacking.
Still sleepy? Sleep scientist Sophie Bostock shares her incredible R.E.S.T method here.