Improving Health by Optimizing Deep Sleep
The fact is that high-quality sleep makes for high-quality health. Increasing time spent in deep sleep is worth the effort.
Successful “biohacker,” Dave Asprey famously recommends people sleep well to increase brain power, build muscle, lose fat, look better, and live longer. Sleeping well is associated with longer than average deep sleep, one of several phases of sleep.
Scientists continue to unravel the mysteries of sleep. Deep sleep, also known as Stage 3 or N3 sleep, is a segment of the sleep cycle characterized by slow waves visible in EEG activity. The waves are produced with relatively high amplitude and a frequency of less than 1 Hz.
It is during deep sleep that memories are processed and stored, and when cells within muscle tissues are repaired. It is also during this time – which makes up less than half of a normal sleep cycle – that the body strengthens the immune system, restores most of its energy, and increases blood flow to muscles.
How to Prepare Your Body for Deep Sleep
Most people experience several sleep cycles; the body determines the transition from one stage to the other. While there are many theories and recommendations for “hacking sleep” to improve one or more of its aspects and benefits, one solution appears to consistently yield good results for deep sleep.
The most important way to get quality deep sleep is to regulate your sleep temperature. The National Sleep Foundation recommends sleeping at 67 degrees Fahrenheit, however, this number can vary based on the individual. Additionally, sleeping colder has proven to increase deep sleep. Professional athletes are known to perform better with optimized deep sleep from cooler temperatures. Decreasing your sleep temperature increases your deep sleep.
After establishing a regulating your sleep climate, experts recommend the following tips for improving the overall length of deep sleep:
- Kill the lights. Keep the room dark and the bed cool. Try not to expose eyes to blue light 2 hours before bed, and do not drink alcohol 3 hours before bed.
- Remove stress before you go to bed. Don’t go to bed angry and try to put dramatic issues out of mind.
- Go to bed around the same time every night. Having a set bedtime allows your body to become accustomed to sleeping at a certain time, making it easier for you to fall and stay asleep.
As with most “good” things, much effort and money are devoted to more of it. Sleep hacks are all over the internet. Some of them work. Some are better for professional athletes and others with extreme devotion to health, with the requisite commitment.
For most people, simply setting a schedule and optimizing the bed temperature return the majority of benefit.
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