How much deep sleep do you need?

‘Innocent sleep. Sleep that soothes away all our worries. Sleep that puts each day to rest. Sleep that relieves the weary labourer and heals hurt minds. Sleep, the main course in life’s feast, and the most nourishing.’

A bit of William Shakespeare to enrich your weekend, but the man wasn’t wrong. Sleep is vital to our mental and physical well-being.

Yet, through working-from-home disrupting the balance between work and home, technology ruling most of our lives and other factors like coronavirus anxiety affecting us daily, many of us might struggle getting the right amount of sleep.

How much sleep should we be getting and what tips are there for a deeper sleep?

How much sleep should you get?

Deep sleep is particularly important as it’s when your body performs many of its most vital functions, including detoxifying your organs, your kidneys filter your blood, wounds heal quicker in this time, and your body builds muscle tissues.

For an average adult over 18, the suggested amount of sleep necessary is around 7.5 to 9 hours per night.

When it comes to deep sleep, out of this figure,1.5 to 1.8 hours of it should be deep sleep.

How is deep sleep different to light sleep?

Light sleep is known as non-REM sleep.

REM stands for Rapid Eye Movement, and the less deep your sleep, the less your eyes will move around.

Once you reach deep sleep – or REM sleep – your eyes move quickly in all directions.

For an average sleeping pattern, you will enter non-REM sleep a little after 10 minutes of your first light sleep. Your body temperature and heart rate will decrease as you fall into a deeper sleep.

You will then enter your deep sleep stage, where it’s harder to wake you up.

Once you’re in deep sleep, your brain becomes much more active. Yes, it might the more asleep you are, the more alert your brain. This is where your vivid dreams will happen – at your deepest phase of sleep.

Tips for a better sleep

If you’re someone who struggles getting shut-eye, the NHS have some tips and tricks to aid a more restful night.

These include:

  • Sleep at regular times – this helps program the brain and internal body clock to get used to a set routine
  • Wind down before bed – a proper unwinding and relaxation before you even get under the duvet is essential to setting yourself up for a good sleep. Consider a warm bath or shower, carry out some gentle yoga stretches or reading a book.
  • Avoid electronics – try to avoid using smart devices for at least an hour before you hit the hay. The light from screens on phones, laptops and tablets can keep you awake.
  • Keep your bedroom sleep friendly – it’s helpful to keep your bedroom as a designated space for sleep and relaxation. If you can, try to move out your workstation and TV. The ideal temperature for sleep should be between 18 and 24 degrees.

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