Did I manage?
Yes, but only on half of all nights. It’s not ideal but it’s a start.
What did I do?
I first wondered why I might be getting little deep sleep.
Three reasons came to mind:
- I go to bed too late
Most nights I go to sleep after midnight. Sleep scientists advise to go to bed earlier
- I often eat before sleeping
I am often hungry and eat some bread with cheese before hitting the bed. Most sleep scientists advise not to do that
- About half of my evenings I have a glass of wine or beer
A nightcap can help us fall asleep but alcohol has a treacherous double nature: it is a short-term sedative but a mid-term stimulant. A few hours into sleep and it can disrupt our sleep patterns.
I wasn’t 100% consequent with any of the three:
- I went to bed before midnight on 6 out of 14 nights.
- I didn’t eat before going to bed on 7 out of 14 nights.
- I drank no alcohol on 12 out of 14 nights.
What influence did it have?
Here’s my best night with a whopping 59% of deep sleep.
That evening, all three factors came together: no drink, no snack and I went to bed early. Yet, looking at the second-best night, I am not sure whether these things really played a role:
This time I got 57% of deep sleep but I went to bed late and I also had a beer. The best nights clearly didn’t have much in common.
But I took another look and saw something that both nights shared: I got very little deep sleep the night before. As Eric Jain reminded us in the comments of the last post, our bodies make up for a lack of deep sleep – at least as the ‘official, non-REM deep sleep’ is concerned. Get too little of it tonight and you’ll get more of it tomorrow. So, on my best nights, I’d probably have gotten a lot of deep sleep no matter what I did.
Did you know your deep sleep is closely related to your mental health?
We created Therachat, a free mobile app that will improve your mental health by tracking your sleep, exercise and other symptoms. It also helps you journal and reflect on events, emotions and thoughts.