Do you know a heavy sleeper – someone who quickly falls asleep and doesn’t wake up until an alarm is blaring in their ears? If you’re a light sleeper, you probably envy this individual’s ability to enjoy uninterrupted slumber. But what if you could do the same?
4 Keys to Heavy Sleep
“Americans who say they have very good or excellent health and quality of life report sleeping 18 to 23 minutes longer on average in the past week than those who rate their health and quality of life as just good, fair or poor,” the National Sleep Foundation reports. “Indeed, reported sleep duration and quality decline linearly with each health rating, showing that perceptions of one’s sleep and health are deeply related.”
If you want to improve your health and wellness, you must shift from a light sleeper to a heavy sleeper. Though easier said than done, here are some suggestions to help facilitate this transition:
- Establish a Bedtime Routine
The human body has something known as a circadian rhythm. This is essentially a 24-hour clock that is constantly running in the background. As the clock ticks, you cycle between sleepiness and alertness.
The nature of your circadian rhythm is such that you can actually train yourself to be sleepy and alert and different times of the day. By establishing a good bedtime routine, you can help your body fall asleep with minimal effort.
“Going to bed at the same time is an important step in any bedtime routine,” Perfect Cloud notes. “Your body can be trained to go down and wake up at the same time on a daily basis. Doing so will help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep throughout the night so that you wake up rested and rejuvenated.”
In addition to going to bed at the same time, your pre-bedtime routine should look the same. By doing the same tasks/processes – like packing the next day’s lunch, showering, brushing your teeth, and reading a chapter in a book – you train your body to recognize that sleep is coming. In response, your body will wind down and prepare for sleep.
- Limit Alcohol and Coffee Consumption
Caffeine is a stimulant that keeps you awake and alert. While there’s nothing wrong with a little caffeine in the morning, be wary of consuming coffee, tea, soda, and chocolate in the afternoon or evening. Doing so could make it more difficult to fall asleep at a reasonable time. The same goes for alcohol.
“Although alcohol may help bring on sleep, after a few hours it acts as a stimulant, increasing the number of awakenings and generally decreasing the quality of sleep later in the night,” Harvard Medical School explains. “It is therefore best to limit alcohol consumption to one to two drinks per day, or less, and to avoid drinking within three hours of bedtime.”
- Maintain an Optimal Sleep Environment
Your sleep environment has a direct and quantifiable impact on your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. You can do yourself a favor by maintaining a bedroom that’s comfortable, cool, relaxing, and quiet. Try installing a dimmer switch to control lighting. It’s also recommended that you remove TVs and electronic devices from the bedroom.
- Take Melatonin Supplements
Melatonin is the key sleep hormone in the brain. It signals to your body that it’s time to relax and fall asleep. Melatonin secretion should happen naturally, but can be suppressed by factors like overexposure to light. You can accelerate this secretion in a safe and natural way by consuming melatonin supplements in the hour leading up to bedtime.
It’s recommended that you take just 1-5 mg of melatonin prior to bed. However, it’s best to speak with a healthcare provider before introducing any supplement into your routine.
Make Smarter Lifestyle Choices
Though some people have underlying health conditions that make it more difficult for them to fall asleep or stay asleep, most sleep issues are directly tied to poor habits and routines that impact the body’s natural rhythms. As you attempt to overcome your sleep issues and get more rest, replacing these ill-advised habits with the healthy principles outlined in this article will help you achieve greater balance and vitality.