As a light sleeper, you’re likely used to the woes of being disrupted throughout the night. Maybe the source is the sound of a truck passing by. Maybe it’s your partner’s incessant snoring. Maybe it’s even something as small as a ray of light peeking in through your bedroom door.
Whatever the case, you’ll know that your sensory sensitivity is taking a toll on you when you can’t bring yourself to get a good night’s sleep even when you’re bone-tired.
Light sleepers typically have trouble getting into the deeper sleep stages, which means they’re predisposed to waking up at the slightest disturbance. Many factors contribute to light sleep, including undiagnosed sleep disorders, anxiety, chronic pain, stress, and more.
But light sleepers don’t have to sacrifice sleep quality for the rest of their lives. Changing your bedtime routine, trying a heavy blanket, and blocking out external distractions are all ways you can sleep better.
Here are some top tips to help you get a refreshing night’s sleep.
Establish a Mindful Bedtime Routine
The day’s stress often rears its ugly head at night, particularly for light sleepers. But when you go to bed feeling unsettled and jittery, you’re bound to wake up at the slightest interruption. To combat your anxieties, establish a bedtime routine you can follow daily.
Do things that rejuvenate your mind and body before bedtime. This could mean reading a self-care book instead of watching TV, drinking a glass of warm milk, taking a bubble bath, putting on a face mask, meditating, or even just taking time out of your day to spend quality time with your loved ones.
Create a Conducive Environment for Sleep
Gone are the days of waking up at the crack of dawn, even on weekends.
Not many people might be sensitive to small slivers of light peeking into the room, but some light sleepers can only sleep in complete darkness, which is why blackout curtains and sleep masks are godsends.
Blackout curtains not only prevent excessive light from getting into your room, but they can also regulate the temperature. A cool room is instrumental in getting a good night’s sleep, and blackout curtains can help keep the temperature down even during summertime.
But sounds might be trickier to block out because you have very little control over them. Instead of opting for uncomfortable headphones that’ll make it tougher to sleep, try earplugs or earmuffs that have noise-canceling capabilities.
Invest in a Weighted Blanket
Light sleepers may struggle to fall and stay asleep for a variety of reasons, including stress and anxiety. But a weighted blanket is designed to improve sleep quality by offering gentle pressure stimulation. A weighted blanket is especially useful for anyone who suspects they may have a sleep disorder because it can soothe restlessness.
To optimize your bed for comfort, consider investing in a cool weighted blanket that feels like a hug, but won’t cause you to overheat during the night. A weighted blanket comes in different sizes. For maximum relief, try to find one that’s around 10 percent of your body weight.
Opt for a Motion Isolation Mattress
If you have a traditional innerspring mattress, chances are that every time your partner tosses and turns, you find yourself jolting awake. But you don’t have to consider getting twin beds or moving into the guest bedroom just yet. Instead, invest in a high-quality memory foam mattress.
Unlike traditional mattresses, memory foam is designed to reduce transfer of movement, which is ideal for light sleepers because you’ll barely feel or hear anything even if your partner’s having a restless night. Memory foam mattresses are also designed to provide optimal support and comfort by reducing aches and pains in the body.
Don’t Force Yourself to Fall Asleep
When it’s midnight and you have to be up by 7 a.m., it’s only natural to decide that it’s time to turn in for the night. But consider if you’re actually tired or sleepy. If the answer is no, you may take longer to fall asleep and even when you do, the sleep might not be particularly restful.
The longer you’re awake, the more likely you are to feel tired, so try to stay up until your eyelids feel so heavy that you just need to sleep. This may be an effective tactic for light sleepers because sleep pressure, which is a biological response to a need for sleep, can help you fall and stay asleep faster.
Getting good quality sleep doesn’t have to be a struggle for light sleepers; it’s really just a matter of setting the right conditions. To lock in some solid shut-eye, make sure you invest in a top-rated mattress and establish a routine that relaxes you before bed.
If you still find it difficult to fall asleep, consider consulting a sleep specialist to determine if there’s a deeper reason for your lack of sleep.