Natural Solutions for Light Sleepers

By Sharon Moore on September 06, 2013

If the slightest noise like the dripping faucet in the bathroom or the mild screeching of your pet awakens you in the middle of the night, then you must be a light sleeper. It is still unclear why some people are like this but studies suggest that lifestyle and genetic factors, as well as undiagnosed sleep disorders might be playing a role.

The Stages of Sleep

A night time sleep is composed of two parts – the rapid eye movement (REM) and the non-rapid eye movement (NREM). Most of your sleeping hours, you are under NREM which is composed of four stages of increasing relaxation. The first stage is the ‘light sleep’ which is the period between sleep and wakefulness. Deep sleep begins at the second stage wherein your body temperature drops and your heart rate slows down a bit. The third and fourth stages are the most important because at this time, your body tissues grow and repair themselves. They are also accompanied by slow breathing and muscle relaxation.

What triggers light sleep?

A small study published in 2010 in the journal Current Biology suggests that the level of brain activity, called sleep spindles, may affect how people respond to noise during slumber. Researchers found that individuals who experienced high-frequency sleep spindles were less likely to be awake by loud noises compared to those who had low- frequency sleep spindles. 

Lifestyle factors, particularly the routines performed by an individual during the day may also affect their quality of night time sleep. People who drink too much alcohol and caffeine, take certain types of medication, don’t exercise, and don’t have a sleep-friendly environment are more likely to have issues with their sleeping patterns. The possibility of sleep disorders should also be considered.

Natural Solutions for Light Sleepers

Do you wish you could have even just one night of deep, restful slumber? Fortunately, you could! Try these natural remedies to induce deep sleep every night:

Keep your room dark. You really don’t need light, even just a bit of it, when sleeping. If you work on a night shift, and sleeping during the day is a challenge for you, consider installing blackout blinds or similar window treatments. Want a cheaper solution? Wear a sleep mask. It’s inexpensive but really effective.

Use earplug. If you are easily awaken by even mild noises, consider using earplug.  For light sleepers, the background noise, like the passing car on the street, barking dogs from the neighbourhood, or the banging of doors by your housemates can make you feel restless and anxious all through the night.

Get rid of your partner’s snoring issues. Does your husband or wife snore? Sleeping in separate rooms could help but it does have a negative effect on the quality of your relationship. A better way would be to give your spouse a snoring pillow, a mouthpiece or a headgear. If your partner snores too much, consider consulting a doctor. Heavy snoring could be a sign of sleep apnoea – a serious sleeping disorder.

Tune in to soft music. Consider listening to slow music before bed, but don’t sleep whilst your player is on. When it stops and turns back on, you might get awaken. Better yet, use a white noise machine. At first, you would have to experiment on where to place it but once you’ve got the perfect location, this sleeping aid is a great help.

Take a warm bath. It’s a long and tiring day. Stress and fatigue can interrupt with your sleeping pattern so before you crawl to your bed, consider having some relaxation. Aromatherapy is a proven sleep inducer.

Make your room sleep-friendly. If you’re a light sleeper, it may not be a good idea to let your pet stay with you in your room because they may disturb your sleep. Also, make sure you are lying on a comfortable bed and wearing comfortable clothing.

Quality sleep matters a lot to your health and well-being so it is important that you don’t ignore sleep issues as they arise. Don’t resort to sleeping pills unless you have no more choice. These medications are addictive and don’t help any more than the natural sleep aids mentioned above.

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