7 Signs Your Body Doesn't Actually Know How To Maintain Deep Sleep
Every night of sleep is not created equal — even if you think you get eight hours of rest. If you're having trouble getting deep sleep, you may not even know it. Sleep medicine experts know how to pinpoint the vague symptoms related to this issue, however, and can help you get back on track. Having a hard time getting adequate sleep is troubling enough, but it can be caused by a variety of underlying issues.
"There are several medical problems that make it difficult for people to maintain deep sleep at night," Dr. Teofilo Lee-Chiong, M.D., Chief Medical Liaison at health technology company Philips, tells Bustle. "According to Philips annual global sleep survey, three-quarters of adults around the world experience at least one of the following conditions that impact their sleep: insomnia, snoring, shift work sleep disorder, chronic pain, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome and narcolepsy." Both physical and mental health problems can make getting that deepest stage of sleep difficult, but since this all goes on at night, you may struggle to pinpoint what's going on.
Paying more attention to how you sleep at night, plus keeping an eye on whether you're tired during the day, can give you a little more data to then help you try to work on your sleep cycle at home, or bring your concerns to a doctor. Everyone deserves a good night's rest.
Here are seven signs your body doesn't actually know how to maintain deep sleep.
1. You Wake Up Easily
If you're prone to waking up from every car that passes, every bump in the night, or even the slightest hint of sunlight out your bedroom window, then you may not be getting the deep sleep you need.
"If you’re a light sleeper, it might be a sign that you’re not maintaining deep sleep," Caleb Backe, health and wellness expert at Maple Holistics, tells Bustle. "When your body is in deep sleep, it should be difficult for you to be woken. When this isn’t the case, a lack of deep sleep might be to blame." If your constant waking up is causing you difficulties during the day, this is worth mentioning to a doctor.
2. You Constantly Hit The Snooze Button
Feeling refreshed when you wake up in the morning may seem like a myth to you, but it doesn't need to be. If you need to hit snooze every morning, then you may not be getting the deep sleep you need in the middle of the night.
"If you know you’re getting enough hours of sleep, but you just can’t stop hitting the snooze button and feel groggy in the morning, it might be a sign that you’re not maintaining deep sleep at night," Backe says. If you find that even putting in an effort to break this habit doesn't work, then you may want to examine what's keeping you from getting deep into your sleep cycle at night.
3. You Snore A Lot
When severe, snoring can be more than just an annoyance during the night. Your snoring may actually be preventing you from getting the deep sleep your body so desperately needs.
"Snoring is another common cause that impacts sleep with 29 percent of global adults reporting they experience this condition," Dr. Lee-Chiong says. "[... And] snoring can be a manifestation of an underlying sleep apnea disorder." So if you have an inkling that your snoring is causing you to have trouble breathing, or is severe in another way, then you should definitely bring it up to a doctor.
4. You Need To Nap To Get Through The Day
Naps can be a really great occasional boost. But if you absolutely need them to get through the day, something more serious might be going on.
"If you find that you can’t get through the day without taking a nap, despite having the recommended six to eight hours sleep the night before, it might be a sign that you’re not maintaining deep sleep at night," Backe says. Your daytime naps may actually be making it harder for you to get deep sleep at night, so trying to get yourself back onto a regular schedule may help.
5. You Wake Up During The Night
If you get up multiple times every night, for whatever reason, that's a strong sign of something underlying going on in the world of sleep medicine.
"Waking up throughout the night can indicate that you are not reaching a state of deep sleep," Dr. Lee-Chiong says. "Deep sleep, or the final stage of non-REM sleep, is the time when your brain waves are at their lowest frequency and you are at your hardest to wake up." Finding ways to improve your sleep environment, or talking to your doctor about this issue, may help improve things.
6. You're Tired Throughout The Day
Being sleepy during the day doesn't have to be something you put up with willingly just because it's common. Exhaustion — even when you feel you've slept an adequate number of hours — doesn't need to be your norm.
"Six in 10 global adults experience daytime sleepiness at least twice per week," Dr. Lee-Chiong says. "People who do not obtain optimal deep sleep at night often feel tired throughout the day, which may impact their energy levels and productivity." If this applies to you, then you may want to try working on your sleep hygiene to improve the amount of deep sleep you achieve.
7. You Wake Up Before Your Alarm Goes Off
Waking up before your alarm occasionally can be a good thing — especially if it is slightly before your alarm and at a regular time. But if you wake up way before your alarm goes off, then your sleep cycle may be off.
"If you wake up too early and never return back to sleep, this might influence your time in deep sleep and REM sleep," Vikas Jain, MD, sleep medicine specialist at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital, tells Bustle. Staying in bed and trying to rest for those final few hours may help.
Not getting adequate deep sleep could end up being as detrimental as staying up too late or waking up too early. So if you realize you may not be getting deep enough sleep throughout the night, you may want to either find ways to adjust your routine, or visit the doctor to get to the bottom of it.