Sleep is one of the most forgotten, misunderstood and neglected resources that contribute to human thriving. Often, in addition to insufficient sleep, we do not get the correct sleep nor are we measuring the sleep cycles that are crucial to our health and wellbeing.
At Made To Thrive we are passionate about sleep– did you know that sleep is more important than the food we eat?! A 2011 article in the Harvard Business Review confirms this yet many of us, when asked which has a greater impact on our thriving, would more than likely comment that what we eat is more important than how we sleep.
As you read on, you’ll come to see that sleep is crucial. Everything from quantity to quality and understanding how the various stages of sleep benefit us. We’ll cover some deep sleep hacks but before we do so, it is important to understand the stages of sleep.
How Is Deep Sleep Defined?
The stages of sleep can get very technical however are best described in 3 easy-to-understand buckets:
Bedtime: This is when the “sleep switch” occurs, which releases melatonin. As you prepare for sleep and drift into early slumber, your muscles relax your heart rate decreases and your brain waves tap off.
Deep Sleep: Your deep sleep window takes place in the first half of the night just before our body temperatures drop to their lowest point. Further declines in our breathing, heart rate, blood pressure and muscle activity take place. This stage is also referred to as “delta sleep” as brain waves slow as we move into a deeply meditative and dream-free sleep.
Warm-Up: Once deep sleep has taken place in the first part of the night, the body starts to warm up bringing us back to core body temperature.
Sleep Impact on Overall Health
Deep sleep is the most restorative sleep we can get and is so beneficial to us. Glucose metabolism increases during deep sleep and this plays a significant role in strengthening our memory and overall learning capability. This is why a tough night of broken sleep, tossing and turning or insomnia negatively affects our cognitive performance and short-term memory.
Other benefits of deep sleep include:
- Cell regeneration
- Increased blood flow to muscles
- A stronger immune system
- Energy renewal
- Development, growth, and repair of tissues and bones
It is critically important to ensure that we therefore get as much deep sleep as possible on a nightly basis.
Most people world wide, do not get enough sleep
Temperature-Related Hacks for Getting More Deep Sleep
Since temperature drop is such a crucial aspect of the deep sleep stage, finding ways to activate that “sleep switch” can help increase your levels of deep sleep. I recently invested in the chiliPAD OOLER tech sleep system which has dramatically improved my deep sleep scores as measured on my Oura ring. The Chili is an under-your-bedsheet system that kickstarts your temperature drop when you climb into bed. This causes a significant change in your body temperature (even if it’s only 0.1 degrees) which ensures you sleep deeper for longer.
Made To Thrive clients receive a 25% discount on the chiliPAD systems and a 15% discount on the Chili OOLER system. Click here to review or purchase this phenomenal sleep device which I now cannot do without!
Watch my Chili Technology review here.
Alternative ways to lower your body temperature include taking a hot shower followed by a cold cool off or taking a walk outside just before bed time. These hacks are naturally less accurate as it’s difficult to control temperature precisely so monitor if you are waking up at night- if you are, it’s invariably because you are too hot.
The Chili OOLER system
Find Your Own Deep Sleep Sweet Spot
Our sleep habits are deeply engrained and may vary from person to person. What is universal however is that the more deep sleep we enjoy, the greater is our functioning and opportunity for long term health and thriving.
Try and tune into your body. If you’re tired, go to sleep. Avoid screens and blue lights for at least 2 hours prior to bed time. Perhaps try going to bed earlier– bring forward your bed time by 30 minute increments until you find the sweet spot. Given that deep sleep happens in the first part of the night, we want to capitalise on that window of opportunity. If you’re still struggling to sleep, seeing a sleep specialist might help you uncover the root of the problem.
Consider a gift to yourself! Purchase a ChiliPAD or OOLER system this festive season for significantly improved sleep! If you’re taking a holiday break, focus on rest and sleep!