Deep Sleep: How to Get More of It

Woman in deep sleep while wearing a sleep mask

We’ve all heard of deep sleep (also known as slow-wave sleep) and how our bodies need it to function properly, but what exactly is it? There is an abundant amount of research on deep sleep, but we have all of the essential information you need to know on what it is, its function, and how you can get more of it.

What is Deep Sleep?

Deep sleep is the sleep stage that is associated with the slowest brain waves during sleep. Because the EEG activity is synchronized, this period of sleep is known as slow-wave sleep: it produces slow waves with a relatively high amplitude and a frequency of less than 1 Hz. The initial section of the wave is indicated by a down state; an inhibition period whereby the neurons in the neocortex are silent. It’s during this period that the neocortical neurons are able to rest. The next section of the wave is indicated by an upstate; an excitation period whereby the neurons fire briefly at a rapid rate. This state is a depolarizing phase, whereas the former state is a hyperpolarizing phase. In contrast with Rapid Eye Movement sleep (REM sleep cycle), the main characteristics of slow-wave sleep are absent or slow eye movement, moderate muscle tone, and lack of genital activity.

Research Behind Sleep Stages and Deep Sleep

According to the Rechtschaffen & Kales (R & K) Standard of 1968, deep sleep can be described as stage three of non-rapid eye movement sleep and is often referred to as “slow-wave sleep”. There’s no clear difference between stages three and four; however, stage three has 20 to 50 percent delta activity while stage four has over 50 percent. Since the year 2008, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine no longer refers to stage four, and stages three and four have combined to create stage three. Therefore, a period of 30 seconds’ sleep, consisting of 20% or more slow-wave sleep, is now considered to be stage three. Slow-wave sleep (deep sleep) is one of the Stages of Sleep.

EEG graph measuring brain activity during deep sleep

Features of Deep Sleep

  • Electroencephalograph (EEG) demonstrates delta waves (high amplitude, low frequency)
  • Consolidation of memories
  • High arousal threshold
  • Presumed restoration of body and brain

Why Is Deep Sleep Important?

Deep sleep is important for consolidation of new memories, and is often referred to as “sleep-dependent memory processing.” Thus, individuals with primary insomnia will have impaired memory consolidation and won’t perform as efficiently as normal patients when completing memory tasks following a period of sleep. In addition, declarative memory is improved with slow-wave sleep, and this includes both semantic and episodic memory.

A central model has been created on the assumption that long-term memory storage is promoted by interaction between the hippocampal and neocortical networks. Several studies have shown that, once subjects have been trained to learn a declarative memory task, there was a significantly higher density of human sleep spindles when compared to the non-learning control task. This occurs due to unconscious wave oscillations that make up the intracellular recordings from cortical and thalamic neurons.

X-ray of brain

Function of Deep Sleep

Human sleep deprivation studies seem to suggest that the principal function of deep sleep may be to give the brain time to restore itself from its daily activeness. An increase of glucose metabolism in the brain occurs as a result of tasks that require mental activity. Yet another function affected by slow-wave sleep is growth hormone secretion, which is always greatest at this stage. Plus, it also creates both an increase in parasympathetic neural activity and a decrease in sympathetic neural activity.

In deep sleep, the highest arousal thresholds are observed, such as the difficulty of awakening by the sound of a particular volume. When a person awakens from slow-wave sleep, they generally feel quite groggy. Cognitive tests after awakening do indicate that mental performance can be impaired for periods of up to 30 minutes when compared to awakenings from other stages. This phenomenon is known as “sleep inertia.

There is always a sharp rebound of slow-wave sleep after sleep deprivation, meaning that the next bout of sleep will not only include more slow-wave sleep than normal, but deeper slow-wave sleep. The previous duration of this stage, in addition to the duration of prior wakefulness, will determine the duration of slow-wave sleep. When determining the amount of slow-wave sleep in any given sleep period, the major factor to note is the duration of preceding wakefulness, which is typically related to the build-up of sleep-inducing substances in the brain.

Sleep Disorders During Deep Sleep

There are several sleep disorders and parasomnias that occur predominantly during slow-wave sleep. Sleepwalking (Somnambulism), night terrors (sleep terrors), bed-wetting (Enuresis), sexsomnia, and sleep eating are all associated with slow-wave sleep. Individuals with narcolepsy often have fragmented deep sleep.

Factors that Increase Slow-Wave Deep Sleep

Factors that have shown to increase slow-wave sleep in the sleep period that follows them include intense prolonged exercise and body heating, such as immersion in a sauna or hot tub.

Studies have shown that slow-wave sleep is facilitated when brain temperature exceeds a certain threshold. It’s believed that circadian rhythm and homeostatic processes regulate this threshold. An unusually low, short-term carbohydrate diet in healthy sleepers promotes an increase in the percentage of slow-wave sleep. This includes a production in the percentage of dreaming sleep (REM sleep), when compared to the control with a mixed diet. It’s believed that these sleep changes could very well be linked to the metabolism of the fat content of the low carbohydrate diet. In addition, the ingestion of antidepressants and certain SSRI’s can increase the duration of slow-wave sleep periods; however, the effects of THC on slow-wave sleep remain controversial. Total sleep time in these instances is often unaffected due to a person’s alarm clock, circadian rhythms, or early morning obligations.

Woman getting deep sleep before alarm clock rings

How to Get More Deep Sleep

The most important thing that you can do to increase your amount of deep sleep is to allow yourself adequate total sleep time. Often, individuals will deprive themselves of adequate total sleep. In addition to reducing deep sleep, REM sleep is also shortened.

There is some data to suggest that vigorous exercise can increase or consolidate deep sleep. Some sleep specialists recommend aerobic activities like jogging, running, and swimming. For those who are prone to insomnia, it is best to exercise earlier in the day and not before bedtime.

In Summary

Stage three of the sleep cycle stages, slow-wave sleep (deep sleep), is a crucial part of your cognitive functioning. It plays a major role in memory consolidation and brain restoration. Because of its importance for your overall health, you must increase your amount of deep sleep by allowing yourself to have enough total sleep time each night. Additionally, exercise and a healthy diet are a couple of different methods you can try to help increase your slow-wave sleep.

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102 thoughts on “Deep Sleep: How to Get More of It

  1. LB Reply

    Interesting thread and seems many many people needing more deep sleep, having read the article and all the comments I found three things to try:
    1. Go to bed before midnight
    2. Try to avoid heavy carbs at evening meal
    3. Avoid phone and tablet use at bedtime
    It’s interesting that all three of these are actually quite a challenge for me so am going to have to try them as Garmin watch shows me getting just 20mins deep sleep last night and I hardly ever achieve more than one hour (15-40 mins most nights so low but also erratic )
    I already avoid all the sleep depriving substances and exercise at least four times a week.
    Also noteworthy that this article is getting a little old now so I wonder if any newer research has been done?

  2. Linda Reply

    Regarding the issue of restless leg syndrome, I have had it for years but two years ago started taking CBD oil. Absolutely no episodes ever since. The bursitis in my hip- gone too.

  3. Lisa Bk Reply

    Adequate REM, the rest is mostly light sleep, but deep sleep average is only 30 min per night. Walking 1-2 hrs a few times a week. Neurologist prescribed 0.5mg Clonazepam to increase deep sleep, but I haven’t tried this yet. An insomniac friend cautioned against it as habit forming & problematic withdrawal. Any thoughts on meds for more deep sleep?

    • JDM Reply

      Please don’t take clonazepam. I took it for 6 years, came off 3 months ago. This has been hell. Now even when I sleep 8 hours. I don’t reach deep sleep. Benzos are the worst, they shouldn’t be sold

  4. Catherine Reply

    I have been wearing a fit bit for a few years now. I wasn’t getting sufficient sleep, but it has increased as my kids got older and as I tailored my day to set up for a good night’s rest.

    I keep a notepad in my room to jot down things that I think about, so my mind would stop pestering me about them. I don’t use my phone because of the light. I don’t use the computer or phone for an hour before bedtime. Instead, I spend that time talking with my boys. They are 13 and 10 now and we still read at night before bed, now more separately than together, but it helps. Prior to that hour of reading and light conversation, we make sure that the house is tidy and we have all showered. The time prior to the reading hour is when we all shower. We don’t eat anything two hours before bedtime and we don’t drink sugary drinks. Warm tea and a book during the last hour. We have a really strict schedule because video games and the computer were impacting them as well. We have take measures to slow down and give our bodies the space to rest. I have night lights in all of the rooms, and the kids know that if they wake up, that they can read their book –no phones, computers, games! This helps them, and me sleep well. Also, the phones are not permitted in the bedroom. They are on the charger in the living room in sleep mode from 8:00. By 10 we are all sound asleep. Last night I slept for 6:20, 26 minutes awake, 2:11 REM, 2:29 Light, and 1:40 Deep. My alarm is set for 5:30, but I generally wake anywhere between 4 and 5. I slept form 9:20 – 4:06. We are all in bed at 9, reading or having light conversations. Beds are for that sleeping time only! They have chairs and beanbags for hanging out in their rooms.

    With all of that said, as a mom, I get my BEST sleep when my kiddos camp out on the floor in my room. This past year they started wearing fit bits as well and we’ve discovered that we all get the best sleep when we are in the same space, but get great sleep daily because of the routine. They are young, but understand that when they don’t get a good night’s rest that something was off and they look to correct it.

    Hope this share helps someone.

    Be well.

  5. Zane Reply

    Good sleep is one piece of the puzzle. Most people do not eat healthy, maintain their ideal weight, get enough exercise, avoid caffeine and alcohol, spend time with people we love, let go of worries, and practice mindfulness/meditation.

    We need to do all of these things every day – otherwise we are all on a short journey to the grave.

  6. Peregrina Reply

    I have hereditary sleep issues. According to my Muse-S headband (amazing instrument, btw) I am getting an average of 4 hours of total sleep, less than 15minutes of which are deep sleep. Not great for my day job as university professor. The deep sleep only happens in spikes at the beginning of the night. I’ve been seeing “specialists” for years, sleep restriction was useless for me, and honestly I got better advice reading through this discussion board. Thanks to all for sharing your experiences. Will try going off carbs in evening and hot tub before bed.

  7. Cassie Foreman Reply

    According to my sleeping app I am getting plenty of sleep and score is high BUT my deep sleep stage accounts for 10% when it should be closer to 25%. I am an athlete so excising is not the issue. I sleep 8 1/2 hours per day but it’s the deep sleep stage that concerns me. I listen to mediation before I go sleep every night. Please help me. What can I do to get a deeper sleep stage?

    • Inga Reply

      May be the important point is your nutrition. High doses of carbohydrates and lack of animal protein and good fat may also affect sleep quality. It is the direction to work with and study.

    • Rich Reply

      I’m getting none, which concerns me. But this article does point towards a hot tub or sauna in the evening. I took a Masterclass on sleep which recommended a hot shower before bed – because your body temperature will go down once you exit the shower, making it easier to sleep. That sounds contradictory to the reasoning here, but it does seem to help to take a hot shower before bed. Also, for me, reducing caffeine helps, and none at all after noon.

    • David Mnats Reply

      Deep sleep should be an easy fix to be honest. Follow three things:
      1) No coffee at least 12 hours before bed (that means if you drink coffee, drink only in the morning). Otherwise it will deprive you of deep sleep.
      2) No food, especially carbohydrates at least 2 hours before bed. Food (food digestion to be more precise) heavily affects deep sleep. You simply won’t get any deep sleep as it happens in the beginning of the sleeping cycle.
      3) No alcohol, not even one glass of wine. There is a study shown that even one glass of wine would disrupt your deep sleep and cut production of human growth hormone by more than half.
      4) And the most important!!! No cell phone at least an hour before bed. The best substitute is reading a book. You will drift off to sleep within 30 mins.

      If you follow these steps: you will have at least one hour or 1.5 hour of deep sleep

      • Elizabeth Reply

        I do all of those things and am lucky if I get 20 mins deep sleep. In fact, I don’t have caffeine after 8am. I often go a couple of months without an alcoholic drink.

  8. Jarro Reply

    Has research found a connection between lack of deep sleep and onset of migraine and/or vertigo episode?

  9. Bestpot Reply

    Hello! Thank you for this really informative and important article. I think this problem is so common nowadays. The pervasive effects of not getting enough sleep are mind-boggling. Decision making, stress, memory, immunity, relationships. I personally know many people who’ve told me they literally have anxiety attacks some nights before bed. We need to teach more people how to regain control over their parasympathetic tone for sleep and waking life as well.

  10. Mark Reply

    I can’t seem to understand “How much deep sleep?” In terms of minutes or at least percentage

  11. Jim Cooks Reply

    I have mesaured my sleep cycle with a fit band for this year. Results as follows :

    Deep sleep 16 %
    REM 16 %
    Light sleep 68 %

    I feel groggy in the morning even after 8 or sometimes 9 hours of sleep . From what I’ve read , light sleep should be around 50 % and , deep and REM should constitute around 25 % each .

    Any suggestions to increase the deep sleep please ?

    • Louie Reply

      I have an Active Watch 2, and have nearly identical sleep results. I have had horrible sleep my entire life.

      My bed is great, my breathing is great (I used to have a deviated septum, mouth breathing at night is miserable), my room is pitch black, temperature is nice and cool, blankets are weighted, my job requires constant rigorous exercise, my meal after work (and before bed) is quite carb heavy, and the time I go to sleep is quite consistent. I check every goddamn mark for amazing deep sleep, and often get less than 30 minutes of it. Best case scenario, 1 and a half hours.

      There is one exception. When I sleep with my girlfriend, I get the most amazing, restorative, inconceivably best sleep of my life. Despite the only time its ever happened is in the worst conditions for ideal sleep. A hotel bed, with tropical summer heat, in a different time zone to throw off circadian rhythm, with no exercise that day, and a low carb diet. And despite 6-7 hours of sleep, it is the most well rested I’ve felt in my life, led me to naturally wake up without an alarm, didn’t need to use melatonin to help myself fall asleep. Honestly, fucking blissful.

      So, if I were to recommend anything, sleep with someone you love if possible. I don’t know why its so good, but id kill for sleep like that again.

      • Sarah Reply

        I’m no expert but this is my take on deep sleep…
        It’s safety dependent. You need to feel safe.
        To get deep sleep you need to have a core belief of safety even though you are vulnerable. Maybe sleeping with others made you feel like someone had your back. Maybe you felt safe. So you were able to be vulnerable.
        In other words, if your fear response is heightened you will not get a good deep sleep as your body will not allow it.
        This idea may also work to relieve the fear response and gain more deep sleep… accept and acknowledge your own vulnerability to loss of life. “Accept death as ever present” – stoics.
        This sets up a physiological state that allows deep sleep to occur.

        • Maria Reply

          I don’t know if you were referring to the impact PTSD or stress (basically constant vigilance) has on sleep, but I would like to know if anyone has articles or ideas about PTSD’s impact on deep sleep and research-based strategies to counteract that.

  12. Christopher Duran Reply

    Upper Airways Resistance Syndrome (UARS) is often referred to as dramatically underdiagnosed, and also fragments deep sleep. Unfortunately, even many specialists view UARS as ‘mild sleep apnea’–and it is not. The other misconception is that one must snore to have UARS. Because of these outdated perceptions, UARS is often not diagnosed when it should be.

    • Smokey Reply

      And what can be done for UARS? Only a cpap prescription as far as I know. Whether it helps or not doesn’t matter.

  13. DLF Reply

    This article needs a heavy edit. It is difficult to understand because of awkward sentence structure and phrasing. e.g. “An unusually low, short-term carbohydrate diet in healthy sleepers…”

    • Teddy Reply

      I think the article was suggesting a no-carb diet for at least a few days, not hours, but I agree it could have been worded better. Plus, there should have been an explanation of the “short-term” modifier.

      Regarding an increase in deep sleep, the only thing that has worked for me (so far) is staying off all carbs for at last 24 hours, excepting only leafy greens and green, non-starchy vegetables.

  14. Ken Goree Reply

    I am wondering if my pacemaker has reduced my deep sleep time?
    The low rate was set at 60, then , after a year , reset at 50, to see if the lower rate would help.
    The 50 low heart rate has caused me to get less deep sleep-assuming that my Fitbit reading is correct. I assume that it is, because it does mirror how rested I feel in the mornings.

  15. dhanraj bhagwandin Reply

    Great too have deep sleep ..what about resurge that helps to get deep sleep..

  16. Kazen Reply

    I’ve started using Mi band to track my sleep patterns as I felt even though I’m getting enough sleep ( 7,8 or 9 hours,I dont feel like waking up the next day and my mood is groggy till afternoon.

    I’m getting less than 8% of deep sleep as I suspected. I’m a 28 , perfectly fit with the right BMI and no health complications .

    Any suggestions as this is killing my professional and personal life !


  17. Althaf Ahmed Reply

    i sleep one or two hours after take a tablet,i am 45 years only, what to do get deep sleep…..
    please …..give tips????

  18. Warwick D Reply

    I found using Twitter (not just at night) caused a generalised low level stress that significantly reduced my deep sleep (FitBit data) and heart rate variability (HRV4Training app). My suggestion would be reducing or eliminating it, and not taking your phone into the bedroom …

  19. Chris Reply

    I only sleep 2 hours a night,or sleep for 10 waking up every hour cause of sleep anxiety,any ideas?

  20. Sin Reply

    change your diet. go keto and stop drinking coffee and you’ll have a good deep sleep.

  21. Hazel Reply

    Good article. How much time do i need in deep sleep is my ? I will search your site

  22. Tina Tremain Reply

    I have had about 4 sleep studies in the last couple years. No one can seem to believe that just because I’m heavier, I don’t have sleep apnea. It’s been proven I don’t with the tests. What does seem to be happening is I don’t get deep enough sleep. No one seems to know how to treat that. I have Fibromyalgia & Arthritis & that makes sleep difficult, especially if the restless leg thing gets going. I also have an autistic child who wakes me frequently at night. There’s not much I can do about these but I sure would love to try & get a decent sleep for once in my life!!! Is there a chance?

    • Grace Marshall Reply

      Try a low carb diet similar to mediterain my improve your sleep quality also try to get out walking I go for a half hour to hour walk everyday

    • Kathy Reply

      I have found relief from restless legs using a homeopathic remedy Restful Legs by Hyland, available in pharmacies. I put 3 tabs under the tongue at bedtime.

      • Dee Reply

        Brauer restless legs homeopathic mouth spray also rubbing magnesium oil into legs before bed helps massively

    • Susan Reply

      Thanks for raising this question! This year I had vertigo onset during sleep. I also woke up today and developed migraine symptoms (and though I slept over 8 hours I had lousy deep sleep). Would love to see this answered.

      • marjorie Reply

        I came here for the same question! My deep sleep has been less than 10 minutes the last few nights and I’ve had a terrible migraine. Not sure if the migraine is triggered by the sleep issues, or if the sleep issues is bc of the migraine. Also have endometriosis and it’s hard for me to sleep bc of the pain. I hope you get to feeling better soon! Sorry I can’t answer the question!

  23. Stephen Reply

    I’ve improved my sleeping by stretching and having a firm mattress! Both will make a major impact on your sleeping!

  24. RAJNISH Reply

    I have a problem my daughter is about 13 years with bulky body structure when goes to sleep lies down with no response v shouts and carry outs different methods for awaiting her after sometime in some of the cases she e response with an anger and in some cases v we lose our temper end leave her please suggest the best course for her

    • karen Reply

      Read up on Kleine Levin Syndrome. It has the symptoms you list.

  25. John Reply

    This is tricky. Eating well, exercise, weight loss, daily routine, blackout curtains, melatonin and theanine, cpap all helped me at age 51. My resting heartbeat gets as low as 48 from improved exercise but despite sleeping as much as 10 hours, Before and after improved fitness over several years, my scores never really get above 90 on Fitbit. There is almost always a proportion of restlessness equal to REM and Deep that I’m at a loss to reduce. It’s confounding because the bed and environment are great.

    I do take medicines but I have a hard time believing they contribute to that. Any ideas?

  26. JJ Reply

    I have been researching deep sleep because lately I have been exhausted, red-eyed, and foggy despite the amount of time I spend asleep. About three weeks ago I invested in a Galaxy smartwatch and while averaging 7-7.5 hours of time sleeping I consistently get 0-7% deep sleep. This is curious because I am only 38 and I thought it only decreased significantly for 60+ folks. I have no issues falling or staying asleep and am fit, regular weight, and I don’t do anything of those things that would hinder my deep sleep. I believe I have good sleep hygiene. I considered that it might be my new smartwatch so I checked my last Fitbit from a year ago and it wasn’t much better then. Is it more likely that the exhaustion is from stress rather than deep sleep? I’m trying to figure out if there anything I should be doing to fix this.

    • Elysabeth Reply

      I have the same issue – there are just too many nights after which I wake up in the morning feeling like I slept about 5 min – even if it was 8 hrs. I constantly felt tired. After a sleep study, I was told that I wasn’t getting almost any deep sleep, a condition considered a form of insomnia. Would like to learn more about how to get the deep sleep I need.

      • Makenna Reply

        I’m interested in hearing what you found out, if anything. I suffer from the same issue–my fitbit is telling me I get very little deep sleep most nights, and although I sleep for 8-9 hours most nights, I still feel so tired during the day. I have a sleep study scheduled, but I’m nervous they won’t be able to do anything to help. Have you found anything to help you get more deep sleep?

    • Grace Reply

      I think the watches that check your sleep are making us aware of how much deep sleep we aren’t getting but do they really work i take mine off now as I don’t want to know I’m only getting 15 to 20 minutes deep sleep when apparently I should be getting a couple of hours as you can see I’m obsessing about it as I’m on this website but after reading I’m definitely ditching the watch at night and just getting a good night sleep no phones or watch and turning the radiator off in my bedroom Happy sleeping people.

      • DD Reply

        I don’t see how not wearing a Fitbit helps you to get more deep sleep. It’s like saying don’t weigh yourself and you won’t be overweight. Don’t check your bank account and you’ll have plenty of money. Don’t get a covid test and you won’t get covid….. Monitoring my health helps me be aware of what behaviors of mine are working and what aren’t. My deep sleep has improved a bit since wearing a Fitbit because I noticed a pattern – that most of my deep sleep occurred before midnight so if I wanted more deep sleep I needed to have lights out at 10, 10:30 instead of my usual midnight bedtime

        • J Reply

          Yes to all of this! Also, I to have noted that I get most of my deep sleep before midnight so am trying to turn out the light earlier. I’m wondering if that is true for most people – deep sleep occurs earlier during sleep?

        • Jo Reply

          How much EMF does the Fitbit give off? I have a degree of sensitivity and find I sleep better with all these off.. TV, computer, printer, modem, TV boxes, phones, I downloaded a. App on my mobile which shows how much each device gives off, it even picks up our street lights.. ( smart ones) so I turn all these off then my mb. I practice good sleep hygene, in bed for 9pm up at 5/6am
          Still tired, but sleep better.

  27. Deb Reply

    Hey Melly,
    I have spent my life being hypersomnic. Coffee is helpful, but I am wondering if espresso might be better. I usually only have a couple cups in the morning (I get up between 5 & 6). I don’t have any caffeine after 2:30 or so. Some of the other comments were interesting. I might give the elimination of carbs after a certain amount of time.

  28. Marlene Reply

    The Oura ring is the best sleep tracker I have seen. Safe (it has an “airplane mode” so no EMFs on your body). It is amazing for tracking so much more find a discount code and it is $250. Well worth the money

  29. Phil Chenevert Reply

    My Fitbit (Charge 2) is amazing. I just discovered how much information it can generate each night and am using that to plot my total sleep time, sleep efficiency (time in bed/time asleep), REM, Light and Deep sleep as well as awake amount. I have sleep Apnea and use a CPAP. By moving my bed time to an earlier hour from midnight, using f.lux app to eliminate blue light from my computer screen and removing night lights from my bedroom, my Deep sleep periods have gone up 45%. I’m 78 years old and feeling much better now.

    Now if I can juust talk the CPAP makers into building sleep monitoring into the machine and letting me get at it, that would be great.

  30. Kenneth P Reply

    My thoughts on deep sleep are based on a book I recently read, “The End Of Alzheimer’s,” by Dale Bredesen, M.D. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that seniors like me typically begin having problems with sleep in general and with getting sufficient deep sleep in particular. Dr. Bredesen notes that during deep sleep, our brains engage in chemical cleansing of substances (including amyloids) that block communication between synapses in the brain.
    One way to increase deep sleep is to avoid eating just before going to bed; ideally, several hours before. (The theory is that if you put food in your gut just before going to sleep, your body sends too much of its blood supply to the gut for digestion to have a sufficient supply for deep sleep cleansing of the brain. Makes sense to me.)
    I try to consume zero calories after 8 pm.
    More to the point: I’ve started fasting through one dinnertime per week; that is, one day a week, no solid food after lunch.
    I’m six weeks in. My FitBit watch just told me I had 70 minutes of deep sleep last night. Previously, I wasn’t getting more than 30 minutes (out of the same period, approximately seven hours, of sleep per night).
    I’ll keep on checking (and I know a watch is not scientifically calibrated, but still…).
    Would be interested if others have a similar experience.

    • DD Reply

      I have noticed I do get more deep sleep when I eat earlier. It’s so hard to do so, however! If you don’t eat after 8pm, what time to go turn off the light to sleep? 10?11? I aim for lights out between 10:30-11 but it’s hard to eat dinner early because of my husband’s job. We usually sit down to dinner at 8,8:30. The few times I don’t eat lunch & thus eat an early dinner at say 6pm, I sleep better. But my husband’s still at work at 6 so???

    • Jim S. Reply

      Hi Kenneth. This line of logic really resonated with me. How has it been working?

  31. Melly Reply

    And one thing that was not addressed in this article is hypersonia. Those of us that suffer with hypersomnia feel tired and groggy all day, every day no matter how much sleep we get. It feels like you’re sleeping you’re life away and it’s miserable. Do you have any suggestions on how to deal with it

  32. Sergio Gutierrez Reply

    I have a Garmin watch to record the sleep time, last night the numbers was as following:

    Deep 1h 30m
    Light 4h 20m
    Rem 1h 10m

    Are deep sleep enough? It is not, how can I increase?

    Thanks in advance


    • Peregrina Reply

      Sergio, those statistics sound like a dream come true for most of us accessing this website! Yes, you’re doing great! Keep up whatever you’re doing

  33. Aluna Reply

    Cheryl you may want to check to see if you have sleep apnea. And Gregg thanks for the advice I will try it, no carbs past 1. No food 2 hrs before sleep.

  34. Anonymous Reply

    I was not able to properly sleep during 40 years then decided to go with the a couple of neurologist and the don’t found anything worn in my brain. I started to reduce my weigh but was not able to reduce a lot reducing fat, after seeing them documentary of fed up I discovery that sugar is worst than anything else so I stop eating sugar as much as possible, after three months by the first time in my life I star sleeping better my wife steel eat a lot of sugar and she is able to sleep good and right a away. I am coming here due I was looking s way to increase my deep sleep but probably I am not to bad now. leaving as much as I can sugar and exercise regularly was the best decision in my life.

  35. Cheryl Reply

    I’ve got a sleep tracker and I am low in deep sleep, am on a diet so its not that as its low sugar, low fat.. I don’t eat after 7 pm.. I exercise loads Inc cycling and walk an avg 12500 steps a day.. I will either crochet or watch TV before bed so I’m never on the net.. I have tried listening to music.. Not crocheting, laying in bed with lights off hours before bed.. Going late, going early, and I cannot get it right.. I am starting to feel exhausted constantly.. I don’t get it at all.. Any suggestions? Am trying a bath and essential oils tonight.. To see if that helps and a bedtime app for my little one.

    • Christina Reply

      Hi Cheryl, The article mentioned deep sleep being associated with the brain’s metabolism of fat. Do you think you may need more healthy fat vs low fat?

  36. Audie Reply

    Is it possible to have too much slow wave sleep? And what is the result if you do?

    • Alfy Reply

      You cant get more deep sleep than what you need. It’s not like a drug or something where you can overdose. You get what your body needs

      • Jmat Reply

        You dont know what your talking about. Deep sleep varies for many reasons and a lot of people suffer a lack of that stage of sleep which affects them in many ways.
        New studies suggest stress, diet and other factors contribute to the amount if time spent in each stage if sleep. Research and experience suggests you have a big mouth and little brain.

    • Marca Reply

      How do you know the sleep tracker is accurate? I’ve heard they aren’t which is why I would hesitate to buy one.

      • steven Reply

        It shows the minute you sleep and wake up, or if you wake up in the night. Which is easy to check if its accurate especially after a week.

  37. greg Reply

    I went from 0 to 15 mins of deep sleep for about 1 year to over 1 hour for the last three weeks by not eating before bed (2 hrs.) and no carbs past 1 o’clock pm. I feel more awake sharper with less sleep. I’m a little pissed I’ve read this in only one book and found nothing about laying off carbs at night on any site. I also started eating in a 12 -8 pm window and fall asleep at 10 of all these changes think it was mostly laying off the carbs after my noon meal that increased my deep sleep. (used a sleep tracker )

    • Kathleen Reply

      Hey, greg. When you say “lay off carbs” what are you talking about? Almost everything has carbs. Are you only eating meat? I’m trying to increase my deep sleep time and just received a fitbit tracker and the only night that I reached the “benchmarker” for deep sleep was after a meal with steak. No potato just salad with that. Just trying to figure out how to increase my deep sleep.

    • Becky Reply

      I’m beginning to wonder about the effects of carbs on my sleep or lack thereof and think it is certainly worth a try. Can you tell me the book that you read this in? Perhaps they have some more useful tips to try.

  38. Carl M Reply

    “ In addition, the ingestion of antidepressants and certain SSRI’s can increase the duration of slow-wave sleep periods; however, the effects of THC on slow-wave sleep remains controversial”
    I had to look up THC —amazing is there a medical study anywhere that shows this increases slow-wave sleep. Is it controversial because it is a Federally illegal drug or because there are no reliable studies to back up the inference?
    Poorly written —SSRI’s are a antidepressant. The statement above would lead some to think that antidepressants and SSRIs are 2 different medications. Excluding SSRIs not all antidepressant increase deep wave sleep in fact Please SHOW ME A LIST OF ANTIDEPRSSANT THAT INCREASE DEEP WAVE SLEEP!

    • John Reply

      Not all antidepressants are SSRIs, sometimes they are two different medications.

  39. Carl M Reply

    “Why Is Slow-Wave Sleep So Important?”
    Ok so how do I find a sleep medicine doctor that will pay attention to this?
    All they want to do is tell me my CPAP readings are fine while my sleep studies always comment on how little slow-wave sleep I have.
    Where is the research and the emphasis to find a reliable way to monitor sleep stages at home?

      • Diana Sowell Reply

        THC is a schedule 1 drug marinol is manufactured from big pharma. Not the same thing.

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