Tired of sleepless nights? Here’s what you can do.
We all have trouble sleeping from time to time, but it can become frustrating when this persists day after day. Lack of quality sleep makes us feel tired and moody throughout the day, and we cannot concentrate on our work.
A good night’s sleep is crucial for a healthy life and gives a jump start to our day. But everyone does not enjoy the luxury of sound sleep. Although this may seem simple, it proves challenging for some people as they are light sleepers, i.e., they wake up frequently.
There may be several reasons for this: the smell of something cooking, sounds or light coming from the headlight of a passing vehicle or streetlight, etc.
Unlike the general perception that our body rests while sleeping, our brains go through various activity stages even while we sleep. Studies of human sleep have also shown that sleep progresses through a series of stages in which different brain wave patterns are displayed.
Four Stages of Sleep
There are four main stages of sleep.
- Non-rapid Eye Movement (NREM). This isalso known as quiet. This stage, in turn, has three stages.
- Rapid Eye Movement (REM). This stage is also known as active sleep or paradoxical sleep.
Our body takes around one to two hours to go through four stages of sleep.
NREM stage 1 is the beginning of sleep when the transition between wakefulness and sleep occurs.
During NREM stage 2, your breathing and heart rate becomes regular, and you are less aware of your surroundings. The body temperature also drops during this stage.
Your muscles relax, and the deepest sleep occurs during NREM stage 3. You become less responsive to external stimuli.
You enter the REM stage approximately ninety minutes after going to sleep. During this stage, the body relaxes while the brain becomes more active, resulting in dreams. Your body becomes immobilized, eyes move rapidly, and the respiration rate increases.
It is important to note here that the body does not progress through these stages in a sequence. A person goes through these stages approximately four to five times throughout the night.
Light sleepers remain in the NREM stage1.
What makes someone a light sleeper or a heavy sleeper?
A person needs an external stimulus to awaken, which is known as the arousal threshold. It can be an alarm buzzer or someone shouting. A person who is a light sleeper may have a different arousal threshold than a deeper sleeper.
A person’s point of waking up may be affected by many factors. Let us take a look at some of these factors:
- the amount of time you spend awake during the day
- the stage of sleep your body remains in and brain activity during the sleep stage
- a person’s anxiety level before going to sleep — for example, a nervous or anxious person, when going to sleep, tends to wake up more quickly than someone relaxed.
How to sleep better and longer for a Light Sleeper ?
Sometimes people start taking medication in search of restful sleep. However, these drugs may have many side effects such as dizziness, abdominal disorders, headache, etc.
Take care of your Sleep Hygiene.
Before turning to medication, try out these simple tips that will help you sleep better.
Know how much sleep your body needs.
We have heard several people saying that our body needs eight hours of sleep. This is not true for everyone. Some people feel fresh and invigorated after just four to five hours of sleep, while others may need nine to ten hours of sleep to feel well-rested.
So, first of all, find out how much sleep you need to feel fresh.
Make a plan for your sleep.
Consistency in sleep habits goes a long way in developing healthy sleep habits. Researchers have shown that people who sleep and wake up at more or less the same time are less likely to have sleep disorders. Start by fixing your wake-up time. Then, calculate the number of hours you need to sleep and go to sleep accordingly.
Avoid heavy meals at night.
Eat your dinner two to three hours before sleeping. If you feel hungry right before bedtime, have a light, healthy snack like an apple or warm milk.
Going for a brisk walk daily not only helps you lose that extra pound but also boosts sleep.
De-stress and relax before bedtime
Do the things that make you feel good and calm in the hour before going to bed. This can be anything like listening to your favorite music or reading a book, some light stretching, etc. Remember to follow a predictable pattern so that your body gets used to it.
If you are one of those who wake up at the slightest noise, use earplugs while sleeping. You can also try using some apps that play nature sounds that help diffuse background noises.
Determine the best sleeping arrangement for yourself.
Some people feel comfortable sleeping with some family member or their better half, while others may feel disturbed if their bed partner turns frequently or snores. Sometimes you may not wake up consciously, but your sleep may not be restful. If this is happening to you, too, try sleeping alone for a while.
Keep your smartphone aside before going to bed.
The use of electronic devices like smartphones, laptops, and tablets before bed stimulates your mind and body, which in turn makes it more difficult to fall asleep in the first place.
Smartphones tend to be a significant distraction. Checking your phone for those late-night emails, texting, social media, etc., keeps us awake way past our bedtime. It is better to leave your phone outside your bedroom or put it in do not disturb mode.
Avoid Nicotine and Caffeine before bedtime.
Avoid taking nicotine, caffeine, or alcohol before going to sleep, as these affect the depth of sleep and may keep you awake.
Keep your room clutter-free
Take a couple of minutes to tidy up your room quickly. Also, it is advisable to use breathable fabrics as your bed linen. Wear clothes that are cool and comfortable. If you feel hot and uneasy, you tend to wake up frequently during the night.
Evaluate the quality of your mattress
If you don’t feel comfortable in bed, maybe it’s time to invest in a good quality mattress. A variety of mattresses are available in the market. Chose the one that suits your body and avoid turning and tossing at night.
Avoid taking long naps.
Naps during the day lower stress and boost alertness. Remember to keep them short as long naps make you feel groggy. Ideally, a nap should be less than thirty minutes and should be timed right. Naps taken in the evening may affect your sleep at night.
Clear your mind
Suppose you tend to think about all the things to be done the next day. The best way to leave your worries aside before going to sleep is to make a To-do list and jot down everything. This will help clear your mind so that you can tackle them with fresh energy in the morning.
Take a shower before bedtime.
One of the main factors that impact falling and staying asleep is temperature.
Working out how to sleep better may take some time, but it is worth prioritizing. Restful sleep at night is reflected in how we work, how we look, how we interact with others, among many other things.
To sum up, the more our waking lives are consumed with fear-driven concerns, the more our sleeping brain is apt to stay in a light sleep. The key is to stay happy and stress-free.
Being a light sleeper can be challenging, especially if you wake up feeling tired all the time. Just by making a few tweaks to your daily routine, if you can turn yourself into a deep sleeper, why not give it a try! Remember,” the quality of your sleep determines the quality of the coming day.”