Sleep is precious stuff, and getting quality, deep sleep every night is so important. But plenty of us spend too much time in the light phase of your sleep cycle throughout the night, meaning you wake up less refreshed than those who easily cycle through deep and REM sleep, too. If you wake up way too easily, or find it hard to fall asleep and stay asleep, these hacks for light sleepers to sleep more deeply might be helpful.
That sleep cycle I mentioned above? Basically, your sleep goes through five stages throughout the night, according to the National Sleep Foundation; they can be basically summarized as light, deep, and REM (rapid-eye movement) sleep, and it's only in that last part where you have dreams. Having light sleep doesn't just mean you wake up easily; it also means you're not getting the recovery benefits that being in deep sleep gives you. Though you should expect to spend around half your time in bed in light sleep, according to scientists at FitBit, if you're getting much more than that, you might feel more tired the next day.
The reasons why some people wake up at the slightest noise, while others slumber deeply through just about anything, are not fully understood. But genetics, stress, lifestyle factors, and potential differences in brainwave activity during sleep might all play a role in how well you sleep, Everyday Health says. Since both the quality of your sleep, and how much of it you get, are important to your overall health, here are some ways to boost your ability to sleep more deeply at night.
1. Get Your Magnesium Levels Checked
Low magnesium levels can affect your health in all kinds of ways, not the least of which is your sleep, Healthline writes. Magnesium can help your muscles and brain relax, Healthline explains, and if you're low in this essential mineral, you might experience sleep problems, muscle tension and cramps, and even anxiety and depression. If you have sleep issues, check in with your doctor to see if magnesium supplements might help.
2. Keep Your Feet Warm
The National Sleep Foundation says that keeping your feet warm at night can help you sleep better. Warming up your feet causes dilation of the blood vessels, or vasodilation, the National Sleep Foundation notes. When heat is equally distributed throughout the body, it helps your sleep. So, throwing on your coziest socks before bed might just be the thing to help you sleep more deeply during the cold weather months.
3. Exercise ... But Not At Night
The National Sleep Foundation recommends early morning workouts for the best possible sleep at night. People who work out at 7 a.m. experience deeper sleep cycles, in general, than people who exercise later in the day, the National Sleep Foundation states, though a recent review showed that the myth that exercise keeps you awake later might not be that big a deal. And, if you exercise outside, getting some morning sunlight in can also help regulate your sleep/wake cycle, or circadian rhythm, so that you sleep better at night.
4. Nap Mindfully
The Guardian reports that napping for best results takes a little know-how. A mid-day siesta can can boost your mood, productivity, and energy, but, in order to avoid sleep disruptions at night, try not to sleep past 3 p.m. or so on days that you take your naps.
5. Get Some Early Morning Sunlight
Verywell Health suggests that exposing yourself to early morning sunlight can help you sleep better. If you have a circadian rhythm disorder, you might find it tough to sleep well at night. By getting direct sunlight in the early morning hours, especially if you couple that with your workout, you can help regulate your body's sleep/wake cycle over time, Verywell Health explains.
6. Wake Up At The Same Time Every Day
Sleep Advisor suggests that waking up at the same time every day — even on weekends — can help regulate your body clock. Breaking the cycle of sleeping too little during the week, and sleeping way in on weekends helps some people sleep more deeply at night. Sticking to a set sleep schedule may help you feel better rested over time, Sleep Advisor says.
7. Try Polyphasic Sleeping
Another option for upping the quality of your sleep is to try polyphasic sleeping, Sleep Advisor says. For some people, polyphasic sleeping, or breaking your sleep into two blocks of time, can help achieve better rest overall. A typical polyphasic sleep schedule includes five to eight hours of sleep at night, with a 15 to 90 minute nap during the day, Sleep Advisor says.
Since sleep disruptions can happen for any number of reasons, it's always a good idea to check in with your doctor if you have trouble sleeping, or if your sleep quality is lacking over an extended period of time. While adopting a few simple hacks can offer relief for some people, you might need to rule out any underlying health conditions if your sleep issues aren't resolving. While some people are lighter sleepers by nature, making sure that you're getting adequate rest on the regular is integral to your overall health.