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Neuroscientist shares tips on how to get more deep sleep

Emily McDonald (@emonthebrain), a neuroscientist, recently posted a video to TikTok breaking down five tips her viewers can follow to get into deep sleep.

There are four stages of the sleep cycle, which are called N1, N2, N3 and rapid eye movement (REM). The length someone stays in a portion of this cycle varies, depending on different factors such as age, alcohol consumption and recent nights of sleep. However, N3 (deep sleep) is normally the deepest stage in the cycle, and it’s what McDonald wanted to focus on.

“One of the most important things you can do for your brain and for your body is to spend more time in deep sleep,” she said. “Deep sleep is when memories are moved from short- to long-term memory. It’s also when the body and the brain have the ability to heal and regenerate.”

To get these benefits, the first thing McDonald says to do is to maintain a low body temperature. In order to do this, you can sleep in a cold and dark room or take a hot shower/bath before going to bed. The water from the shower or bath will cause the body to give off heat and lower the body’s temperature as a result.

Then, McDonald advised listening to binaural beats when sleeping. While some studies claim that listening to music can hurt your ability to fall asleep, McDonald said that songs at around 432 hertz are the proper frequency.

Some TikTokers opened up about their own sleep habits, which weren’t mentioned in McDonald’s video.

“Weighted blanket gang,” replied @ehababoud.

“And get off your phone before bed,” commented @govkid.

McDonald also gave multiple options for those who feel comfortable taking a supplement to help them sleep.

“If you want to take a supplement, magnesium and L-theanine are great,” McDonald said. “L-theanine boosts alpha waves in the brain — which is very relaxing — and magnesium has been shown to improve sleep in people with insomnia.”

On top of those two choices, she also recommended melatonin, which is a naturally produced hormone and can be taken as a supplement. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, people should take 1 to 3 milligrams two hours before going to sleep.

McDonald also said that getting sunlight exposure in the morning can help sleep at night. This is because sunlight can help set your biological clock for the time when natural melatonin will be released later in the day.

With these tips and supplement options, the hope is that some TikTokers can improve on the seven or more hours of sleep recommended each night.

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