Being a light sleeper can be a literal nightmare for some people. A nightmare in the sense that you can’t sleep because of it. Or even if you do sleep, the sleep you get is never enough. You may ask yourself this, or if you are here, probably look for answers on the internet.
Fortunately, we have put together this guide to help you fall asleep more quickly and stay asleep once and for all.
A Note About Light Sleeping
Sleep consists of different stages. The main division of the stages is Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) and, of course, Rapid Eye Movement (REM). Light sleep happens mainly in the NREM stage of sleep, or the transition between being awake and sweet dreams. When you are in the REM stage of sleep is when most of the dreaming happens, and this can be considered the stage of heavy sleep.
Now, what makes some people spend more time in one stage, while others enjoy the other? Nobody can be sure. The fact is that nobody can be certain what makes some people wake up in the middle of the night if they hear the faintest noise, while others sleep so heavy it takes a fire alarm to wake them. It may be due to genetics, it may boil down to life choices.
Although there are multiple centers in the world that study sleep, and there are some incredibly high-tech methods used, most of the time assessing the quality of sleep relies on self-reports and questionnaires.
So, to put it bluntly – if you think that you are a light sleeper, you probably are. However, there are some things that you can do, to make your sleep heavier. Let’s take a look at them below.
Have A Regular Sleep Schedule
Many of life’s problems can be solved with changes to the lifestyle. Having a regular sleep cycle always helps. Although you know what you want to do and what you want to be doing, your body does not. An irregular sleep cycle confuses the body and sometimes it does not know whether it should be asleep or awake.
If you make it a point to go to bed to roughly the same time each day and wake up at the same time, your body will get used to it, and it will be easier for you to relax while you sleep. This means you will get to the REM stage easier and stay in it for a longer time.
Avoid Caffeine Before Bedtime
As we all know, caffeine is what wakes us up. If you avoid having it 5-6 hours before bedtime, you can expect to sleep tight and get more quality sleep, even for fewer hours. Some people can manage to drink coffee or tea all of the time without issue, but if you are a particularly light sleeper, it makes sense to try and limit your intake.
Don’t Use The Phone Or Computer Before Bedtime
If you want to read before bedtime, a book is always a better choice.
The light coming from the screens we so much like to look at can be disturbing for you. When your eyes encounter white light it stimulates your pineal gland. The pineal gland then secretes melatonin, which is the hormone that regulates your sleep cycle.
That’s why even if you are tired and can’t wait to go to bed and then take your phone with you, you are able to sit awake for hours looking at it. If you want to read before bedtime, a book is always a better choice.
Lifestyle changes are always a bit more difficult and take getting used to. An easier alternative is to eliminate what wakes you up at night. While smells are unlikely to wake you up, light and noises do. So, the logical action would be to block all of these stimuli.
Use A Sleeping Mask
Sleeping masks have been around for a long time, and the reason is that light sleepers have been around for a long time. Sleep masks work by simply preventing light from hitting your eyes, which can help keep you stay asleep longer. There are many products out there to suit your needs. Some of them can be cooled down while others can heat up and warm you.
It all depends on your preference. If you are not sure what you want, you might try an ordinary sleeping mask. Many even come with earplugs, which will help you block out noises. This inevitably leads us to the second point.
As is the case with sleeping masks, earplugs come in hundreds of shapes and sizes. Earplugs prevent unwanted sounds from waking you up in the middle of the night. You can try searching for the ones that suit you the best, but the downside of earplugs is that they eliminate some noises that you might want to hear, such as the morning alarm. A workaround of sorts for this problem is to use a machine that creates soothing noises.
These can be nature noises such as rain, ocean sounds, forest sounds, or just a plain white noise. This would drown out all other interruptions and reduce the chances of being woken up in the middle of the night by sporadic sounds.
One such machine that can produce all of these noises and cater to each taste is the following. It even has an optional timer that reduces the sound gradually, if you find it disturbing to have it running all throughout the night.
Other Tips To Help You Sleep Better
There are a variety of additional things you can do to make sure that your sleep quality improves. We recommend getting new pillows if your current ones are uncomfortable, breathing through your nose, or even picking up a new mattress can drastically help. Additionally, a weighted blanket can help keep you asleep throughout the night.
As is expected, rarely are easy fixes present for everyday problems. You could try some of these suggestions, and hopefully, you can get some shut-eye.
If you cannot, even with these ideas, it might be good to go to your physician and ask for help, since being a light sleeper can lead to chronic sleep deprivation which is a condition linked to many other serious health conditions, from diabetes to anxiety.