How many hours of sleep do we need?
As per the National sleep foundation’s study results, the panel recommends the following sleep ranges for the following age groups:
- 0-3 months(newborns): 14-17 hours daily
- 4-11 months (infants): 12-15 hours
- 1-2 years(toddlers): 11-14 hours
- 3-5 years(preschoolers): 10-13 hours
- 6-13 years old (school age children): 9-11 hours
- 14-17 years old (teenagers): 8-10 hours
- 18-25 years old (younger adults) and 26-64 years old(adults): 7-9 hours
- 65+ (older adults): 7-8 hours
How do I get more deep sleep?
Deep sleep is vital since it is when your body is working its best to strengthen your mind and repair your body from the previous day’s exertions.
Here are some tips for getting increased deep sleep:
- Reduce screen time at least an hour before going to bed
- Switch off bright lights and reduce all the stimulation.
- Adhere to a bedtime routine, even on weekends.
- Maintain the right median temperature for your bedroom (around 67 degrees Fahrenheit)
- Say no to big meals or exercising too close to bedtime.
- Reduce your stress by meditating, stretching, acupuncture, and other lifestyle changes to calm both your mind and body.
- Follow a sleep-friendly diet such as a low-carb diet and include tart cherry juice.
- Try pink noises like waves lapping on a beach, trees rustling in the wind, etc.
- Listen to sleep-promoting audio recordings that contain hypnotic suggestions.
- Regularly exercise for about thirty minutes daily (As recommended by NIH)
Which stage of the sleep cycle is deep sleep?
The deep stage is the third stage of sleep, which is the most refreshing sleep.
Unfortunately, deep sleep reduces with age.
It is called heavy sleep because it is more difficult to wake people up in this stage as compared to the others.
People tend to experience sleep inertia if they suddenly wake up from this stage of sleep.
At this stage, you are less likely to wake in response to external stimuli as compared to when in light sleep.
One doesn’t go directly to this stage but slowly transitions from non-REM sleep to light sleep to deep sleep.
It is during this stage that the human growth hormone gets released and restores your body from physical stresses of the day and your immune system and the brain refreshes itself for new learning for the next day.
Is REM or deep sleep better?
Diverse yet equally crucial, restorative work happens during the deep sleep and REM sleep stages.
The third stage of sleep is the deep sleep during which both the brain and the body activity drop to their lowest possible point, directing blood from the brain to the muscles.
The final stage is REM (Rapid Eye Movement), when your brain gets extremely active, even more than when you are awake.
It is at this stage that you dream.
While deep sleep is important for growth, physical renewal, and hormone regulation, REM is the stage where the brain processes and synthesizes memories and actions.
When your brain is deprived of REM sleep, you might find it difficult to concentrate on a single activity as well as multitasking.
The lack of deep sleep also makes you feel depressed, get sick, and gain unhealthy weight.
How does Fitbit track your sleep?
Fitbit devices use actigraphy (the method of using a device to track your movements) to track your sleep.
When you are entirely unmoving, and at complete rest, your Fitbit device will count it as sleep.
The device automatically detects your sleep, and you simply have to wear it and go to bed.
For Fitbit devices with heart-rate tracking, your sleep stages will be recorded.
And for other devices, you will see your sleep pattern such as the time spent awake, restless, and asleep.
Total time slept is calculated by subtracting the time you were awake from the overall time tracked.
What causes a lack of deep sleep?
During normal sleep, you cycle through the four stages every night.
When such a cycle is interrupted, you might be deprived of good sleep, especially if the final or deep sleep stages are disturbed.
Sometimes, lack of sleep can be temporary, stem from a simple cause like a jet lag, an illness, a stressful event, high caffeine intake, or as a side effect of certain medication.
Long-term sleep deprivation can be due to depression, anxiety, or stress.
Other possible causes of insomnia include circadian rhythm disorder, sleep apnea, snoring, pregnancy, narcolepsy, restless leg syndrome, nightmares, night terrors, etc.
How can I get deep sleep in a short time?
Deep sleep is essential for good health.
The following tips help get deep sleep faster:
- Create a consistent bedtime
- Stay away from white lights (from smartphones, laptop screens, television, etc.) before going to bed.
- Associate your bed with sleep and train your body to sleep when you get in bed.
- Maintain the ideal room temperature.
- Start practicing Yoga, meditation, and mindfulness.
- Avoid day-time naps.
- Exercise moderately during the day.
- Have a comfortable mattress and pillows.
- Limit caffeine intake close to bedtime.
Which stage of sleep is most important?
A full night’s sleep is not a continuous experience but is divided into four well-defined sleep stages.
The last stage, REM sleep where you dream, is the most important stage of sleep.
This stage is vital for learning, retaining, and modifying our memories.
Deprivation of this stage of sleep can lead to physical and mental hardships, psychological damage, and could even lead to an early death.
Does your brain shut down when you sleep?
No, the brain does not completely shut down during sleep.
However, during the REM stage, your brain’s thalamus (the part of your brain that relays sensory signals to the cerebral cortex to make you perceive things) reengages.
Your brain remains active when you sleep and thrives on a consistent sleep schedule.
Why do I always wake up in the middle of the night?
Waking up in the middle of a night’s sleep can be due to the following reasons:
- Acid reflux
- Fluctuating hormone or blood sugar levels
- Sleep Apnea
- Thyroid dysfunction
- To urinate (due to pre-diabetes, enlarged prostate, excessive fluid intake)
How do you wake someone up from deep sleep?
It might be difficult to wake someone up from deep sleep.
To do that, gently walk towards his/her bed and uncover them slowly.
Call them out in a low voice and raise your tone as you continue to do that alongside shaking them lightly until they wake up.
Does melatonin increase deep sleep?
Yes. The rise in melatonin levels happens in the evening, which puts you into a state of quiet wakefulness.
The melatonin hormone, which is produced by the pineal gland in your brain, has a daily biorhythm.
Its levels rise and fall throughout the day and night, and reach its highest level in the evening, and falling to its lowest in the morning.
While most people produce melatonin naturally, some have to depend on a supplement to treat insomnia.
Is it normal to be restless sleeping?
You are a restless sleeper if you roll over, change positions frequently, and wake up briefly.
While it is believed that restless sleeping could lead to tired days, it is perfectly normal to sleep restlessly.
According to Fitbit Sleep advisor, Dr. Michael Grandner, sleep is not completely still, and it is normal to move during our sleep, especially in the first two stages of sleep.
What is the best natural sleep aid?
If you are seeking a little extra help to get a good night’s sleep, consider the following natural aids:
- Melatonin improves overall sleep quality.
- Valerian roots have sleep-promoting properties.
- Magnesium calms your mind and body to help fall asleep
- Lavender aromatherapy treats mild insomnia.
- Passionflower has sleep-promoting effects.
- Amino acids, such as tryptophan and glycine improve sleep quality.
How do I stop being a light sleeper?
- Relax before bedtime by opting for a massage.
- Filter out all distractions using a sleep mask that prevents all light from getting through.
- Swap your coffee with decaf or B-12 Vitamin supplements.
- Shut all the light out with dark shades of curtains.
- Use a white noise machine to create a calming sound buffer.
- Make use of an aromatherapy diffuser to unwind before bedtime.
Is dreaming good for your brain?
Dreams help to cope with major life stress and are important for memory consolidation and conflict resolution.
Dreaming can help alleviate depression and is like an overnight therapy session, that has the potential to de-escalate emotional reactivity in people.
It can take the sting out of painful emotions and help heal from it to carry on with our lives.
Dreaming also enhances creativity and problem-solving ability.
What makes people talk in their sleep?
Sleep talking can be due to stress, depression, alcohol, fever, day-time drowsiness, and sleep deprivation.
It can even run in the family and sometimes co-occur with other sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, nightmares, and confusional arousals.
In rare cases, it is linked to psychiatric disorders or nocturnal seizures.
Can you die from a lack of sleep?
Although it is possible that sleep deprivation can be fatal, given enough time, there is no known human being known to have died from staying awake.
But a series of groundbreaking experiments conducted on rats have reported the death of all the rats after 32 days of total sleep deprivation.
It is expected that humans too, could experience such a result when kept awake for such a long duration.
A consistent lack of sleep can play havoc with most aspects of your health.
Insomnia is often considered an early symptom of a rapid neurodegenerative disorder that could result in death within a couple of years.
However, it is so rare that only about 60 such cases have been reported throughout the world.
Cannabis as a sleep aid:
Cannabis can be an excellent sleep aid and can help even the most stubborn insomnia patients.
It has been used to induce sleep for centuries.
Per a recent study, cannabis reduces the time it takes to fall asleep, both for people with and without sleep problems.
Cannabis contains several natural chemicals including cannabinoids and terpenes that have an effect on the sleep and sleep cycle.
It also improves sleep apnea and its complications.
How can I cure insomnia naturally?
As per the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in five individuals have insomnia.
While sleeping pills or herbal sleep products can help you sleep, they aren’t always the best solution.
It can increase dependency, and some may even develop tolerance to them over time.
Thus, before trying out such options, it is important that you try following sleep hygiene and Cognitive Behavioral Treatment Intervention for insomnia (CBT-I).
Sleep hygiene includes habits such as maintaining a regular sleep schedule, taking a warm shower before bedtime, doing relaxation exercises, reducing caffeine intake, not eating a heavy meal close to bedtime, etc.
Food tips for insomnia:
- Have a bedtime snack, such as an apple or a few crackers.
It will help you relax a bit since the carbohydrates in it can trigger serotonin production, which will make you drowsy.
2. Cut down or limit alcohol and caffeine.
Both of these have adverse effects on sleep, and thus curbing them can help insomnia.
3.Switch to non-alcoholic drinks like raspberry limeade
4. Include the following foods before bedtime to enhance sleep quality: Almonds, walnuts, turkey, chamomile tea, passion flower tea, milk, white rice, oatmeal, cottage cheese, bananas, kiwi, tart cherry juice and fatty fish.
What is deep sleep meditation?
Sleep meditation or Yoga Nidra (in Sanskrit) is a technique that produces a state of deep relaxation while being awake and alert.
It is a holistic approach to achieving a relaxed mind and body.
The difference between being asleep and sleep meditation is that during the former’s REM stage, our consciousness is suspended and the latter is a mind-calming practice where you are conscious.
Some popular methods of sleep medication include mindfulness meditation, concentration meditation, and guided meditation.
Does sleep hypnosis work?
Hypnosis can be a good thing for promoting sleep.
It is a nonpharmacological approach that involves a state of changed mental activity after an induction procedure encompassing a state of focused absorption and attention.
Slow wave sleep plays a vital role in body restoration and promotes brain plasticity.
A study demonstrates that hypnosis is effective in increasing slow wave sleep and might be a successful tool with lower side effects to extend SWS in elderly and clinical populations.
Is heavy sleeping genetic?
Individuals with a certain genetic mutation tend to have deeper and more intense sleep than the rest.
A study has identified two genes- salt-inducible kinase 3 (SIK3) and sodium leak channel non-selective (Nalcn) that play a vital role in REM and NREM sleep.
Is insomnia passed down?
Genes affect your sleep pattern, and it is estimated that there might be around six different kinds of insomnia associated with genetic factors.
Insomnia has been associated with the occurrence of specific variants on chromosome 7 and chromosome 9 among individuals of European descent.
What food is good for deep sleep?
Consume these healthy foods that help you fall asleep easier:
- Melatonin-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and grains
- Tryptophan-rich foods like dairy, poultry, seafood, nuts, seeds, legumes, vegetables, fruits, and grains
- Magnesium-rich foods like avocados, banana, fish, soybeans, wheat germ, dark leafy greens, and low-fat yogurt
- Calcium-rich foods like low-fat milk, broccoli, cheese, yogurt, sardines, and peas
- Drinks such as chamomile tea, peppermint tea valerian tea, almond milk, and tart cherry juice.