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Tips For Light Sleepers

Updated on August 20, 2011

If you're a light sleeper like me, you know how difficult it can be to get enough sleep each night. And if you happen to also work night shift, or some type of rotation, you're probably at the point where you'd be happy just getting 1/2 your daily requirement for sleep! After more than a decade of trying to sort my sleep cycle out -- or at least make it manageable -- I've come to the conclusion that most sleep aids are crap.

Fortunately, a few of them do work for me; hopefully they'll work for you, as well. And in case you're curious, I sleep so lightly that I could wake up just from the sound of a muted television turning on in another room. You know.. that static sound? Yeah. I sleep that lightly. So if these tips work for me, they're probably worth giving them a try.

Coping With His/Her Snoring

Does your husband, wife, boyfriend, etc, snore? If so, you're probably at your wit's end, and I feel for you. I have been there, believe me. Some suggest sleeping in different rooms, but this can have adverse psychological effects on your relationship. (Some will say it doesn't -- in my personal experience, it certainly did.) If your partner is snoring, your best non-invasive option is to get them an anti-snoring pillow, mouthpiece or headgear -- preferably one that comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee, just in case it doesn't help. You should also take a look at some of the causes of snoring and try to determine whether or not you can eliminate snoring by avoiding them. You can also try a white noise machine (see below).


White Noise Machines

White noise machines are absolutely brilliant -- because they work. You may need to experiment a bit with where to place it, but once you sort that out, your sleep will be much, much improved. I'd started out with mine next to my bed, but realized I could still hear my roommates opening and closing the bathroom door, which was next to my bedroom door. Once I put the white noise machine on the shelf next to my bedroom door... voila! No more noise, no more waking up. I highly, highly recommend white noise machines. And you don't have to set them on "white noise" either -- you can get a machine that has water sounds, birds and all kinds of things to help you sleep.


If you're like me, background noise can make it really difficult to sleep. When I was at university I went through loads of roommates, trying to find someone who had some concept of courtesy when it came to allowing others to sleep without banging doors. But even living on my own, I discovered that noises from the street -- can you say Family Frost?? -- could wake me up as well. This made working a full time job and going to school full time very difficult, being that I was always very tired. When buying earplugs, you may have to experiment a bit. I hated putty earplugs, and even had one get stuck inside of my ear and had to have it removed (which was easy enough, fortunately). Be mindful of what they're made of if you have a latex or other type of allergy. And be mindful of how they're shaped -- some earplugs are not meant to be used while sleeping.

Blocking Out Light

Did you know that the light from your digital alarm clock could be disrupting your sleep? Did you know that the streetlight outside your window could be doing the same thing? Even the moon could wake you up if you're a light sleeper. And if you sleep during the day... oi. You could do like some people and stick aluminum foil all over your windows (it does work, believe it or not) but the easiest solution here is getting a sleep mask. They work, and they aren't just for princesses and they aren't just for women!

Some extra tips:

  • DO try listening to soft relaxing music before bed, but DON'T go to sleep with it on. Yes, it might help you get to sleep, but once the CD stops or starts again, this could actually wake you up. Same goes for changes in the music; big changes in tempo, volume, etc could wake you up as well. Unless you know it will be steady throughout, like a white noise machine, you're better off not listening to music while you go to sleep.

  • DON'T drink anything before going to bed, as the need to tinkle can wake you more easily when combined with other things that are slowly waking you as well.

  • DON'T use sleeping pills unless you have no other choice. They can be addictive, and in many cases they don't help any more than the other aids mentioned here.

  • DO make sure your bedroom/bed clothing is a suitable temperature. If you're going to bed in the summer under a heavy quilt, obviously, this is going to wake you up when you start sweating. If you overheat during sleep, try using a fan next to your bed -- but avoid having it blow directly on your face.

  • DO try a nice hot bath before bed, this can really do wonders for relaxing your body.

  • DO read before bed, or try some crossword puzzles -- anything that might tire your brain out a bit and make your eyes want to rest. It helps.


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