Article written by Johnny Bouchard (MS, CFL3, LMT)

Out of the four stages of sleep, the deep sleep stage is the most important for repairing your physical body.

During deep sleep, your body releases growth hormones to build and repair muscles, bones, and tissue, and immune system functioning. (Patel et al., 2022).

In an ideal world, you spend 25% of your sleep time there. Unfortunately, most of us (the author included) will barely spend 25 minutes out of eight hours there.

 

I could write ten other articles about why our deep sleep is inhibited, but this week I wanted to focus on something more practical: 3 practical tactics for getting more deep rest.

 

These are things that you can do to get your brain into that slow delta wave state and help your soft tissues and bones get better.

 

#1. THC – All the stoners out there are stoked!!! According to research by the Sleep Foundation, short-term cannabis use will increase your time in deep rest. The downside is that it also decreases your time in REM sleep (which is also very important). The takeaway is to use a little gummy before bed on the night before a rest day from training/the gym to hack some extra deep sleep and help your body heal. Just don’t make a habit out of it. Research also says chronic cannabis use does the opposite and ruins deep sleep.

 

#2. Listen to a Non-Sleep Deep Rest script (aka Yoga Nidra, which means yoga sleep) – Thanks to the Huberman Lab podcast for this nugget. There is an ancient practice called Yoga Nidra (or yoga sleep). Essentially you pair a specific breathing pattern with a full body scan. The result is this state where you consciously awake, but your body is getting the healing benefits of deep rest if you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep. This a fantastic way of getting rest benefits while lying in bed awake.  Here is a NSDR script I use.

 

#3. Get a Massage. Fluctuations in several brain waves either relax or wake you up. Massage increases delta waves, linked with deep sleep, according to a study at the Touch Research Institute. That’s why it’s easy to drift off on the massage table. As we established earlier, an increase in delta brain waves and deep sleep is how your body physically recovers during that hour of massage. You are getting deep rest unless an elbow is in a trigger point.

 

I use all of these options to help improve my sleep, but I find time with our massage therapists, Christen and Sam, to be my favorite.

 

If you need some massage in your life, see our fantastic therapist. You can book at the link below. I can’t help you with THC, but Delta 8 Gummies work well as a Georgia legal alternative.

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