Deep sleep is the time when our body regenerates. It is when our muscles heal, and our body makes adaptations to exercise. Usually articles about deep sleep contain recommendations for supplements. I believe that at least 80% of deep sleep success will come from our habits.
Deep Sleep and Exercise
Exercise is one of the big ways to improve our sleep. The Goldilocks principle applies here. Not too little, not too much. If we exercise too little we don’t get any stimulation to our body, lymphatic system, and muscles. If we exercise too much, we run the risk of over-stimulating ourselves and not allowing our bodies significant time to repair. I used to get around an hour and a half of deep sleep each night. Since paying more attention to how much I am exercising and controlling intensity, I now routinely get two to two-and-a-half hours of deep sleep each night. I find that controlled increases (1-2 sets per week per body part for lifting, and ~10% increase in cardio each week are sustainable increases that won’t over-stress our bodies.
Once again focusing on the big basics all always create the best results. When choosing a healthy diet, we should always look to eat as many whole foods as we can. Once we get in the habit of eating a good amount of whole food calories (around 15 calories per pound for most people), we can look toward macronutrients. We should ensure that we are eating adequate protein (about 0.8 g/lb) and carbohydrates (about 1.5 g/lb) to make sure we appropriately fuel and recover from workouts.
Get Enough Sleep at the Right Time
We all know that we should get around 7-9 hours of sleep per night. There is very little debate about this. In addition to getting the optimal amount of sleep, we should sleep at the right time. It seems that the best time to sleep is from 8 pm to 10 pm. This fits fairly naturally within our natural circadian rhythms.
Getting enough deep sleep is a huge component of a healthy lifestyle. What habits have you found essential to getting enough deep sleep? Thanks for reading!