There is a major difference between a light sleeper and a heavy sleeper. No one wants to wake up from a whole night of sleep, still feeling tired. Have you noticed that some people will wake up from their sleep from the slightest of noises?
- 1 Explaining the stages of sleep
- 2 Heavy Sleeper Personality
- 3 How can I sleep more deeply?
- 4 What drinks are good for deep sleep?
You might need to tip-toe to their rooms if you need to use the space they are sleeping, without waking them up! Some others will still sleep on, even when the loudest of sirens from either an ambulance or fire track, does not make them turn on the bed!
Why then is it that some people get to enjoy deep quality undisturbed sleep, while others don’t? Read on, that is why we are on this page. Experts confirm that the root cause for light or heavy sleepers is not well known. However, some of the obvious causes of varied sleeping patterns would be the lifestyle one is keeping, their health status- whether they have any sleeping disorders or not-, or even genetics.
The sleepers who manage to sleep on in the middle of noise are the heavy sleepers. The ones who wake up from the slightest of noises are the light sleepers.
The bottom line is this- your health is greatly influenced by how well you sleep. You will not only need to sleep enough hours; you will also need to enjoy quality rest while at it. How well you sleep will show in your immune system, metabolism and yes, your whole system will show.
Explaining the stages of sleep
Experts explain that when we get to our sleeping spaces, we do not just fall asleep. The human body follows a cycle, to get to sleep.
When you sleep, you move between the two phases of sleep, from the REM stage to the Non-REM. REM stands for Rapid Eye Movement. Each stage occurs every 90 minutes.
The way to measure the quality of your sleep, is how long you spend in the deep stages of sleep. Sleep experts explain that we spend 75% of our sleeping time in the non-REM phase. The phase is broken down into three stages:
Stage one: It is the stage you go from being awake to falling asleep. The phase is considered as light sleeping. The first thing you notice is that the sleeper at this point slows down their breathing. The heartbeat pace slows down, the eye movement slows down as well, and brain activity reduces. The muscles of the sleeper begin to relax.
Stage Two: At this point, the sleeper will have a further slowed down heartbeat as well as the breathing. The movement of the eyes stop completely, and the muscles relax even further.
Stage Three: The stage is where the sleeper is now enjoying a deep, restorative sleep. Everything takes a further step to slow down. It is at this stage that tissues experience growth and repair as well. It is the deepest level of sleep.
It is the stage that makes a difference between a light and a heavy sleeper. A heavy sleeper spends more time in this stage.
It is the stage that you go through when you fall asleep. It happens 90 minutes later from the time you fall asleep. Most dreaming takes place at this point.
The REM stage is where the following takes place:
- The eyes move from side to side in their closed status. It explains the name of the stage- Rapid Eye Movement.
- The sleeper experiences a faster and irregular breathing.
- The heart rate increases.
- The blood pressure increases, close to the level we are at when awake.
Once we complete the sleeping cycle, the pattern repeats itself. Sleep experts however, state that the difference between a light and a deep sleeper may not be necessarily the number of hours they sleep. A sleeper who sleeps for eight hours may not enjoy a deep, slow-wave quality sleep, like one who sleeps for six hours.
There is a type of brain wave, known as sleep spindles, that affects the level one spends in the deep sleep stage. The brain wave influences how sensitive one is to external stimuli such as noise, smell, and light.
Heavy Sleeper Personality
How one interacts with the world in their usual day to day living, influences how they sleep. Extroverts, early birds, perfectionists, all have a way they handle life when they are awake. It reflects in their sleeping patterns.
Let us briefly check how one’s personality, their sleep cycle and their shut eyes are interrelated.
Night owl Vs early birds personality
Our human bodies have an internal clock, that determines our preferred time to sleep or wake up. The internal clock is mainly determined by genes. The more spindles a sleeper produces, the lesser sensitive to external stimuli they become.
Doctors have not yet come up with a way of increasing the sleep spindles. The sleep spindles are more active just before one gets into deep sleep, that is, during the second sleeping stage. It explains why light sleepers experience difficulties getting to the deep phase of sleep.
Early birds are said to be happier than the night owls: Morning people tend to be more rested, since they do not have any “social jet lag” to deal with like their night counterparts.
Type A personality
The type A personality is the kind that tend to overthink. The person carries the events of the day to bed. The people in this group find it hard to let go of their stressors.
The inability to shut the brain for one to sleep. It is the reason type A personality finds it hard to fall asleep and sleep deep. The mind fails to align to the body, to shut down as the body falls asleep.
Night owls are greater risk takers. Night owls express a character of higher levels of creativity. Their cognitive levels are high, explaining their behavior. They tend to be greater risk takers than the morning people.
Extroverts are likely to get a better quality of sleep. A study that was done showed that the people who slept better were the extroverts and those who had more agreeableness. Other environmental factors will also influence how deep one sleeps, but the study gave a few hints on extroverts and deep sleep.
Neurotic individuals express traits of being shy, managing deep anxiety, aggression, panic and negativity. Such traits are likely to disrupt sleep levels, or cause insomnia.
Heavy sleeper smarter?
Are heavy sleepers smarter than light sleepers? Research shows that the brain of a heavy sleeper is more active than a light sleeper. Those brain activities are called brain spindles. The sleeper with a higher count of spindles, is not easily woken by external stimuli.
The quality of sleep affects our mental and physical performance. Study shows that the Non-REM stage is critical in encoding the data of the day’s occurrences in the brain.
It is said that the brain takes in what one was taught in the day, processes it for understanding. An example is a math student. Whatever they practice in the day, the brain learns it when the student sleeps.
The brain sorts, organizes and stores all the data while we sleep. The process takes time. When we reduce the time that we enjoy deep sleep, we reduce the learning time of the brain. It explains why deep sleepers are smarter- the brain has enough time to learn.
The second part of the night, also known as REM, is the phase we encode anything procedural we practice in the day. It would include any physical or mental skill/ process. The brain at this point subconsciously solves problems.
If the sleep levels get interrupted, we wake up with poor procedural solutions, and we are likely to repeat some steps of the procedure in the course of the day. You are likely to wake up with unresolved problem if you cut down on your sleep.
The first phase is for recovering mentally and learning. The second one is for recovering physically and getting creative. If one sleeps less to prepare for an interview, an exam or a presentation, it does more harm than good. The person arrives for the exam or meeting, with a poor memory of the very things they stayed up to learn.
How can I sleep more deeply?
Now that we agree the deep sleep phase is critical for so many reasons, how do ensure we get it each night?
Quality exercise at the right time
Experts advise you take 30 minutes daily to exercise, 5 days a week. It does not mean that you need to get into strenuous exercises. Walking the dog or doing some light jogging is enough to do the trick. Sometimes strenuous exercise could interfere with your sleep. Its critical you get the right amount of exercise, to avoid interfering with how deep you sleep.
Morning exercise could help you to get energized for the day, while the late afternoon one helps dispel the stresses of the day. All the late afternoon ones should happen at least three hours to avoid interfering with the time you need to wind down before sleep.
Warm-up before bed
Warming up before bed helps you to feel warm and cozy, which helps you enjoy a deep sleep later. You can do this by spending time in the sauna, hot tub or warm bath just before bed. A long bath, with waters above 95 degrees, will come in handy, and should happen at least 45 minutes before bedtime.
Check your caffeine
Caffeine intake will affect how deeply you sleep. However, study shows that the effect of coffee takes 6 hours in the body. If you must take that cup of coffee, then do it 6 hours before bedtime.
Work with pink noise
The pink noise is also known as white noise. These are noises that come in the same intensity, throughout the frequency range. The effect is soothing, lures one into deep sleep. The white noise has been tried and tested on luring babies to sleep, it works wonders for adults too. The white/pink noise comes in handy even for the people who have sleep disorders.
What drinks are good for deep sleep?
Are there drinks you can take to help you enjoy deep sleep? Yes, here is a list of examples of such drinks:
- Milk- Warm milk has significant amounts of amino acid tryptophan. When you consume tryptophan, it converts to natural hormone melatonin, and the body uses that to regulate your sleep state.
- Almond milk- It has contents such as magnesium and healthy serotonin which are perfect sleep-inducing options.
- Valerian tea- It contains sleep inducing elements such as hops, lemon balm, plus other herbs that cause drowsiness. It is used for medication, especially on those with sleep disorders.
- Banana smoothies- A banana smoothie requires a banana, milk, and almond butter to prepare. The high levels of magnesium and potassium increase muscle relaxation. It soothes one to deep sleep, and it is an easy recipe to prepare.
How not to be a heavy sleeper
Which steps can you take when you want to stop being a heavy sleeper? Sometimes sleeping heavily could be a sign of fatigue. It could mess your day’s schedule if you have difficulties walking up. What must you do?
- Go to bed early. It will help you to both enjoy quality sleep and be early for the next day.
- Avoid food and drinks at night. Avoid smoking or drinking before bed, it will mess with your writing program.
- Avoid electronics in the bedroom, especially gadgets that can cause distraction such as smartphones and laptops.
- Enjoy some breathing exercises. It helps calm the body and gives one the capacity to regulate their body organs.
In all you do, enjoy quality sleep, give yourself the benefits that come with deep, quality sleep. See how productive you become, the increased immunity levels and the difference it brings in your moods.