How can light-sleepers get better-quality sleep? Causes of light sleep and methods for achieving deep sleep.
Many people may have concerns related to sleep, such as experiencing shallow sleep and waking up multiple times during the night, being easily awakened by slight noises, or feeling tired even after sleeping. As poor sleep quality can impact one's overall health, it is important to create an environment conducive to a good night's sleep.
Therefore, in this article, we will introduce the causes of shallow sleep and methods for achieving better sleep for those struggling with sleep deprivation.
- Causes of sleep deprivation and shallow sleep
- Methods for achieving deep sleep
- What are the causes of insomnia?
- How do you handle insomnia?
- Ways to improve sleep quality
- Let's review lifestyle habits to enhance sleep quality
Causes of sleep deprivation and shallow sleep
The causes of decreased sleep quality can vary from person to person, but one significant factor is a "disturbance in the sleep cycle".
During sleep, your body undergoes cycles of REM* and Non-REM** sleep approximately 4 to 5 times. In REM sleep, the body rests while the brain stays active, whereas in Non-REM sleep, both the body and brain experience deep rest. Additionally, dreaming or deep sleep without dreams results from the alternating cycles of REM and Non-REM sleep. The sleep cycle typically progresses from Non-REM to REM sleep, and alternate every 90 minutes. Throughout the night, these cycles repeat multiple times, but the duration of each stage can vary. This alternating pattern of Non-REM and REM sleep is crucial for achieving restorative and restful sleep.
However, if your body is unable to smoothly transition to Non-REM sleep and remains stuck in the REM sleep cycle for an extended period, your sleep becomes shallow, leading to a decline in sleep quality. Even among those who allocate sufficient time for sleep, disruptions in the sleep cycle can cause issues such as an 'inability to sleep deeply' or 'feeling tired despite sleeping.'
The causes of a disrupted sleep cycle include:
- Psychological anxiety
- Changes in the environment
- Excessive consumption of caffeine and alcohol
- Issues with the sleep environment, such as bedding, light control, and noise
If you are experiencing sleep deprivation problems, please observe whether they might be attributed to the above causes or not.
*Note 1 - REM (Rapid Eye Movement): During REM sleep, your body is at rest while the brain remains active.
**Note 2 - Non-REM (Non-Rapid Eye Movement) sleep: Also known as slow-wave sleep (SWS), it is divided into four stages based on the depth of sleep, during which both the body and the brain are in a deep sleep state.
Methods for achieving deep sleep
To enhance your sleep quality, pay attention to your body temperature and the process of heat dissipation, which is the body's mechanism for releasing heat through the skin. As the body temperature is related to sleep, your brain and body will go into relaxation mode when your body temperature drops. It is said that the faster your body temperature drops, the easier it will be for you to fall asleep and the deeper your sleep will be.
And the one effective method of reducing body temperature is by promoting heat dissipation, with the hands and feet being the most efficient parts for this process. For example, when a baby is sleepy, their hands and feet may feel warmer, but it's because they lose heat through these extremities, leading to a drop in their body temperature. On the other hand, people who are sensitive to cold often struggle with sleep as heat dissipation from their hands and feet is difficult, making it difficult for the body temperature to reduce as well.
As mentioned above, if your body temperature is lowered, you will be able to enter a deeper state of sleep easier. Therefore, slightly increasing your body temperature before going to bed helps with smoother heat dissipation, which has a positive effect on your ability to sleep.
What are the causes of insomnia?
Insomnia can stem from various factors, with mental stress exerting a significant influence on sleep. Particularly when preoccupied with concerns, it becomes easy to be consumed by thoughts, making it difficult to fall asleep.
Have you ever struggled to sleep the night before a big day and ended up oversleeping on your big day? This, too, is a manifestation of stress impacting the mind. The worry about inadequate sleep and the internal dialogue urging you to "go to bed early" generate stress, plunging you into a vicious cycle of insomnia.
Moreover, sleep is closely tied to lifestyle disruptions. Insufficient exposure to sunlight, delayed waking on holidays, or skipping breakfast can adversely affect your body's functionality, potentially leading to difficulties in falling asleep at night.
Therefore, it is crucial to consider the sleep environment, including factors such as temperature discomfort, cold hands and feet, concerns about light or external noise. Additionally, using electronic devices like smartphones, tablets, or computers before bedtime exposes your brain to blue light, hindering the ability to easily fall asleep.
How do you cope with difficulty falling asleep?
First and foremost, it's crucial to prioritize relaxation. The intense focus on the imperative need to sleep can transform into a stressor, and make it even more difficult to fall asleep.
Engage in light stretching or muscle relaxation exercises to loosen your body. Relaxing your muscles promotes the dominance of the parasympathetic nervous system, leading you towards sleep.
When you absolutely can't sleep, consider getting out of bed, reading a book, or listening to relaxing music. However, it's crucial to avoid using your smartphone, tablet, or computer during this time. As mentioned earlier, the intense blue light from these devices can negatively impact your ability to sleep.
Additionally, exposing yourself to sunlight in the morning is essential. Sunlight helps reset your internal clock, making you naturally drowsy at night. The preparation for a good night's sleep actually begins in the morning.
Ways to improve sleep quality
The methods to improve the quality of sleep are as follows.
Method 1. Adjusting Your Daily Rhythm
The human body has a built-in "circadian rhythm" that aligns with the natural rhythms of the sun, day and night, and the changing seasons. With internal clocks (master clock and peripheral clocks), the body naturally switches between active mode during the day and rest mode at night.
The circadian rhythm is approximately 24 hours and 10 minutes, slightly deviating from a strict 24-hour cycle. While 10 minutes may seem negligible, over a week, the deviation becomes over an hour, and over a month, it surpasses four hours. Allowing this deviation to persist can disrupt your circadian rhythm, potentially leading to physical discomfort. Therefore, it's crucial to reset it daily.
In the morning, exposing yourself to sunlight can awaken the "master clock" of the internal clock, but light doesn't reach the "peripheral clocks" found in organs, muscles, and other tissues. Since meals affect the peripheral clocks, having a nutritious breakfast helps wake up these clocks.
It is said that the time between exposure to sunlight and having breakfast should not be excessively prolonged, as it is recommended to keep it within a reasonable timeframe. Setting specific times for both activities might be beneficial.
Method 2. Choose Bedding that Suits You
One effective way to improve your sleep quality is by selecting bedding that suits you. It's essential to choose materials with good moisture absorption and release capabilities to accommodate nighttime sweating and temperature changes. Additionally, selecting bedding that matches your body shape is crucial.
For instance, a pillow is a crucial item for restful sleep, but if the pillow height is not suitable, it can lead to tension in the neck, shoulders, and chest muscles, causing muscle tightness and lingering fatigue the next day. Moreover, mismatched pillows can contribute to snoring, leading to chronically shallow sleep and disrupted sleep cycles.
Since the ideal pillow height varies from person to person, you might consider measurements at bedding stores and choose a pillow with the right height for you.
Changing the mattress is another option. Mesh-type mattresses are easy to turn over and have good breathability, making them suitable for individuals with high metabolism and those prone to feeling hot. However, they may not be suitable for those with poor circulation. Therefore, it's essential to choose a mattress that suits your body type. Pay attention to the firmness of the mattress, as one that is too soft can cause lower back pain, while one that is too hard can lead to discomfort and poor blood circulation, affecting sleep quality.
When replacing your mattress, it's crucial to test the comfort level at the store to find the right firmness. Additionally, using furniture rental services to explore bedding options that suit you is also recommended.
Some individuals use electric blankets in cold weather, but keeping the body warm all night can make it challenging for deep body temperature to drop. To maintain a consistent sleep rhythm, it's advisable to turn off the electric blanket once you get into bed.
Method 3. Avoid Eating Right Before Bed
Having a meal right before bedtime is strongly prohibited. If you eat and then go to sleep immediately, your body will use energy for digestion, reducing the rest time for your organs and potentially leading to shallow sleep and difficulty in recovering from fatigue.
It takes about 3 hours for the food in your stomach to be fully digested. Ideally, you should finish your meal at least 3 hours before bedtime to ensure digestion is complete when you go to sleep. If you find yourself needing to eat late, opt for easily digestible and small portions.
It's said that foods containing capsaicin are effective in raising deep body temperature. However, consuming them right before bedtime can make it challenging for deep body temperature to decrease, impacting your ability to fall asleep. Be cautious and avoid such foods close to bedtime.
Method 4. Take a Bath 1 Hour Before Bed
As mentioned earlier, establishing a bathing routine is recommended since the decrease in deep body temperature induces sleepiness. While a shower can also warm your body, soaking in a tub allows for a slower and more thorough warming. Quality sleep is closely linked to heat dissipation, and bathing contributes to this process by raising the deep body temperature, causing blood vessels to dilate for effective heat release. This, in turn, leads to a drop in deep body temperature, promoting easy onset of sleep.
It's advisable to finish bathing at least 1 to 2 hours before going to bed. A lukewarm bath at around 38-40 degrees Celsius activates the parasympathetic nervous system, inducing relaxation of the mind and body, thus improving sleep quality. By gradually raising your body temperature, peripheral blood vessels expand, facilitating smooth heat dissipation from the hands and feet. Performing light stretches, such as extending your arms, legs, and ankles, can further enhance your ability to fall asleep.
For those with a busy schedule or no tradition of taking baths, especially in regions where it may not be common, foot baths are recommended. Fill a deeper container with water at around 39-42 degrees Celsius, ensuring the water reaches below the calves when soaking your feet.
Method 5. Don't Accumulate Too Much Stress
Feeling stressed can lead to shallow sleep. It's crucial to find ways to release stress regularly to avoid its accumulation. For instance, enjoying hobbies during holidays or free time, and using relaxation methods like baths or aromatherapy can be effective in relieving stress.
Engaging in physical activity and breaking a sweat can also contribute to stress relief. Moderate fatigue promotes smoother sleep onset, so starting with light exercise might be beneficial. However, be cautious about exercising right before bedtime, as it can elevate your body temperature too much, making it challenging to fall asleep.
Let's review your lifestyle habits to enhance sleep quality
If you are experiencing insomnia, it's crucial to enhance your sleep cycle by adjusting the factors within your control, such as minimizing distractions in your routine, managing stress, and regulating your body temperature.
As people naturally feel sleepy when their body temperature decreases, facilitating smooth sleep involves raising your body temperature through activities like bathing and subsequently lowering it by dissipating heat. Additionally, creating a comfortable sleep environment by selecting bedding that suits your preferences is also important.
Domohorn Wrinkle's age-defying habits focus on the body's natural rhythms.
Disruptions in the body's rhythm can be a cause of various issues. To address this, it's crucial to establish a clear "rhythm" by switching between ON and OFF in the morning and night. In the morning, raising body temperature and turning ON the activity mode switch, while at night, turning OFF the switch for rest mode to achieve a deep and comfortable sleep.
This rhythm, born from these two states, is a new habit for living beautifully and healthily beyond age. With Domohorn Wrinkle's age-defying habits that prioritize the body's natural rhythms, embrace vibrant beauty and happiness every day.