How I improved my ‘deep sleep’ hours


Sleep is a true privilege.. you can’t buy it.. you can’t snatch it.. Neither your social status, nor your hidden dollar stash, none of your cool gadgets, nor your costly cot… no my friend.. none of them can make you sleep well..

If you have not yet seriously observed your sleep patterns, then you better start doing it. Because the quantity and quality of your sleep directly impacts your health, your cognitive skills, reflexes and reactions, way of thinking, social behaviour and finally even the number of chess games you win. 🙂

You can read about REM (Rapid Eye Movement) and how sleep is categorized into light and deep phases, there are innumerable reports out there.. And you would need a health tracker device something like a ‘Jawbone UP band’ or a ‘Fibit flex’ or a ‘Nike+ FuelBand SE’ etc.. Trust me! Its worth money. Compare them and buy one that suits you… and there are some smartphone apps too that do a similar job.. check em out but how to improve your deep sleep? haha… thats the secret i am going to tell you now, but mind you! Its very tough to do all this:

Timely food and sleep

aah! you can’t do that? ok next..

Healthy diet

I too swing too much, but for most of the week, I am on a balanced diet, with really a lot of vegetables, leaves and just a few carbs that are barely enough. Ensure you are served with more uncooked raw food. I found ‘1:3’ as the best ratio for cooked vs uncooked portions. And yes unfortunately, ‘NO SWEETS’ please…not at all. Start doing this in your lunch.. Ensure you dine very light so as not to stress your tummy too much..

a cute wave of light / deep. 4.46 is huge for a 7.13

a cute wave of light / deep. 4.46 is huge for a 7.13

Quantity of sleep

Yes, the number of hours matters. Observe it carefully, its the sleep time that we abuse most and usually cut it short for our unplanned events by sacrificing a few hours sleep on that day.. Its bad. There is no catching up later. It won’t work that way. I was sleeping 6 to 6.5 hours a day with 2 hr deep sleep, but one good samaritan has told me the ‘8-8-8’ rule.. 8 hours work, 8  hours of play and 8 hours of sleep… It would be fantastic if we can truly do that, but I am afraid I personally cannot.. So I pegged my sleep goal at 8 hours, but ensured sleeping at least 7dot5 hr a day…I planned the rest of the day in a way that gives importance to these most abused 8 hours of sleep time..  Few weeks like that and I can see the ‘deep sleep’ part actually increasing from 2 to 3 and then to 4.. and haa to 5.

Exercise

I think we have outgrown the old adage of ‘What food to the hungry and what bed to the sleepy’.. No! Mere exercise won’t give you deep sleep, while it surely can make you sleep more. So, its mandatory you have a moderate to strenuous exercise routine but you still have to follow the rest of the rules in here..

Forgive and move on

This is another important thing you have to do.. Stop comparing yourself with others. Stop feeling insecure. Forgive them who did bad things to you. And move on. Forgive the bus driver who spoiled your day. Forgive the autowallah that almost pushed you into the gutter. Forgive the lady next door for all her stupidities.  Life is bigger than the petty things you fight with every day. No one is eligible enough to give you a nightmare.

Divert the mind before you hit the bed

Keep your mind occupied all through the day. Don’t just watch TV or work for the office all day long but develop some habits that keep you happy and your mind occupied. And just before hitting the bed, divert your mind, like I play chess for 20 mins that helps in forgetting everything else before I go to sleep. Though I wake up suddenly when I defeat Grand Masters Anatoly or Anand in a dream, overall, it helps me go to bed with less nagging thoughts inside..

Dark room, Silence and Family

Make sure the bedroom is dimly lit or better if its completely dark with a handy switch or torch.  And yes! you need a silent night to have a good sleep. And finally! If you have infant kids sleeping on the same cot, the device might detect their movements and your graphs would come down. But most of us are used to having a kid in the arm and I can sense the same freshness of deep sleep even though its not reported by the device. If the kid wakes you up, then its just a bad night.  Otherwise, it seemed fine to me. Am still researching this part.

Its all guys! Thats how I keep clocking a 4-5 hour deep sleep every day.. 🙂 And my weight is coming down too from 96 to sub 90’s.. Thats my next milestone 🙂 Keep watching this space.

Hope this helps you…Thanks for reading,
/balu

Update-1:

I clocked a 78% deep sleep today (20130105) — its not a random shot — improving my deep sleep percentage from 40’s to almost 80’s 🙂 I can’t explain how supremely refreshing the feeling is 🙂

Jawbone doesn’t give in-depth analysis as below, neither it makes the input data available for off-app analytics… so I spend few seconds extra every day to keep my sleep data in an excel sheet and this is how it looks like over the last 3 months 🙂 .. hope this helps you or perhaps inspire too  🙂

see the % of deep sleep increasing from 40’s to late 70’s

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Categories: analysis, health, home, life, me, mind, office, philosophy, psychology, suggestions | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

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11 thoughts on “How I improved my ‘deep sleep’ hours

  1. Sean

    Do you sleep with a partner or alone? I’m curious how this would/could affect your data collection and sleep quality.

    Also, how did you produce the graph on update I? Are you using an IFTTT recipe?

    I like your results and I hope they are sustained. I’m a little jealous.

    • thank you for reading and liking Sean..
      I didn’t see much of a difference with the presence of absence of my partner, but I should say most of the spikes were when I was sleeping alone.. Still collecting data in this perspective.. And the graph in the end, as i said in the post, is generated in MS excel by manually entering data into the sheet, sparing few seconds every day.. its worth and unavoidable as UP doesn’t give extensive graphs, neither makes the data available for off-app analytics.. hth..

      • Sean

        That’s great. You’ll have to let me know if your excellent sleep continues, especially when sharing a bed. I’ve noticed that my sleep quality has drastically worsened over the past few years (I suspect several life-changing events are to blame). I’m now trying to figure out what works for me. I like your tips.

        Just so you know, you could you IFTTT to automatically aggregate your sleep data. A few tweaks could produce a similar graph in google drive. Here is my IFTTT recipe: https://ifttt.com/recipes/138575. I used it to create this: http://bit.ly/1bMgSN1. I’m trying to see how my bedtime affects my sleep quality in this graph.

        By the way, where are you from? Your English is great! Greetings from Oregon.

      • thank you so much for coming back Sean and for your compliment 🙂 I will explore your links and will also publish my sleep data after spending some continuous time with family. U from Oregaon? wow… I think we can possibly meet next month in CA 🙂 Am currently in Bangalore, India 🙂

  2. Andrew

    You state in your article that “You can read about REM (Rapid Eye Movement) and how sleep is categorized into light and deep phases, there are innumerable reports out there.. And you would need a health tracker device something like a ‘Jawbone UP band’ or a ‘Fibit flex’ or a ‘Nike Fuel band’ “.

    When actually Nike Fuel Band doesn’t track sleep at all. Only Jawbone UP band and Fitbit Flex do. I just wanted to let you know of this error in your article. Other than that, it is a great article

    • Thank you for reading, correction and the compliment Andrew!
      Appreciate your time spent in here. I corrected the name now as ‘Nike+ FuelBand SE’ is the one that also tracks sleep.

  3. Ryan

    Hi

    Great post. I am only a few weeks in and was already becoming a little dismayed. Seeing your steady progress over time is inspiring. I guess fixing sleep is more of a marathon.

    I’m maxing at 3 hrs, averaging less than 2hrs (of 8 total sleep) and bottoming out with a few 29 mins.
    So far I have cut coffee and reduced sugar. I have increased exercise and cut screen time within 2hrs of bed.

    Observations so far:
    1. Work finish time has the single greatest correlation to my deep sleep ratio. Any late finish or couple of quick work emails near bed destroys the ratio.
    2. Alcohol. Cuts an hour of deep sleep from my already thin deep sleep lines.

    I have also started a herbal course after my first ever trip to a traditional Chinese doctor. Boiling it all up is different… The taste is horrible. Early days, no impact yet.

    Thanks again. For the record, if you wanted to write the story of what you have done in more detail that would be great. The food bit sounds like there is more underneath what you have written

    Thanks again!

  4. Ryan

    Please update us on your progress

    • thank you for revisiting Ryan and the points given last time.. I am currently doing an in-depth study of the impact of food/work on my deep sleep and also the family time etc… I am waiting for a large sample something like 200 days.. Will surely update you guys. 🙂

  5. Hi Balu , excellent info and emperical data….now could you describe or may be the top 2-3 factors that have lead to improved quality of your sleep/

  6. Thank you so much. Your words shed light on certain questions which kept me wondering.

    Wishing you good health 🙂

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