It’s impossible to overstate the importance of a good night’s sleep. Waking up refreshed, renewed, and well-rested starts your day off on the right foot. Still, sometimes you might be doing everything right to get your eight hours, and still wake up feeling tired and sluggish.
You’re not alone. Nearly half of us feel tired during the day despite getting more than seven hours of rest. That’s because there’s more to sleep than just how many hours you spend in bed. How well you’re sleeping depends on a few things, and if you or your partner snore, that can have an impact on whether either of you are getting a good night’s rest.
Why do you still feel tired after sleeping all night?
Ok, you’ve turned out the lights, counted sheep, and feel yourself drifting off. What happens next? Waking up feeling well-rested depends on what happens during those hours of sleep. To wake up feeling energized, quality sleep is essentially the culmination of three things:
- Sleep quantity, or how much sleep you get during the night
- Sleep schedule, or how regularly you sleep throughout the week
- Sleep quality, or how refreshing and uninterrupted the sleep you’re getting is
What is quality sleep?
High quality sleep is defined as deep, undisturbed sleep during which the sleeper enters the REM stage of sleep. The REM stage is super important, as that’s the time when your body goes into metabolic rest so natural healing processes can kick in. It’s also when your brain, though resting, is busy processing everything that happened that day. We won’t go into it in too much detail here. Suffice to say, that quality sleep is restful, restoring to both body and mind, and results in the sleeper waking up feeling rested and energized.
What are the signs of not sleeping well?
About a third of our lives is spent sleeping. Despite knowing that a good night’s sleep is as essential to our health as food and water, however, quality sleep eludes the majority of people. Here are some common signs that you aren’t getting the quality rest you need:
- It takes more than 30 minutes to fall asleep once you’re in bed
- You wake up more than once per night regularly
- You have trouble falling back asleep after waking up in the middle of the night
- You frequently feel tired, stressed, or have difficulty concentrating during the day
- You feel hungry all day and experience cravings for junk food or find yourself gaining weight
- Your partner also has trouble sleeping or has mentioned that you snore at night
Is snoring disrupting your sleep?
If you or your partner snore, it might be affecting your sleep more than you realize. Snoring is one of the most common disrupters of quality sleep. Nearly half of us snore! It’s a touchy subject, and some people even believe that snoring is a sign of being deeply asleep, but in fact, the opposite is true. Snorers aren’t able to reach the stage of deep sleep or known as REM sleep because of frequent interruptions from the breathing irregularities caused by snoring. If you or your partner snore, there are ways to help the issue so you can both get a better night’s rest.
How does snoring affect your sleep?
When you snore, it’s because your throat muscles have relaxed. While this sounds—well, relaxing!—it’s actually causing a constriction of the airways, preventing oxygen from getting into the lungs. This is bad news for the sleeper, who needs a healthy supply of oxygen for all those healing processes we mentioned during the REM stage occur. This constriction is what we hear as a snore. The lack of oxygen, in turn, triggers the brain to send a ‘wake-up’ signal so we wake up and breathe normally, long enough for those oxygen levels to be restored. Hence, regular snorers wake up several times a night, or wake up their bed partner from the sound of their snoring.
5 simple ways to improve your quality of sleep
The first step in wanting to get a better night’s rest is identifying what’s keeping you from quality sleep. Speak to your partner to find out if snoring is causing the issue because they could be losing sleep over it as well. In some cases, it could be helpful to speak to a medical professional to find out if there’s an underlying health issue. Most of the time, however, it’s just a matter of making some slight adjustments to get better sleep. Here are 5 simple ways you can start sleeping easier:
- Create a regular sleep schedule & bedtime routine. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, or creating a relaxing bedtime routine of activities that relax and calm you, helps create a pattern for your brain to recognize as the prelude to sleep.
- Improve your sleeping environment. If you can, invest in a good bed and bedding. A comfortable mattress and soft, welcoming sheets are essential if you want a peaceful rest. Make the bedroom dark and quiet at least 30 minutes before bedtime to relax your senses.
- Limit caffeine and alcohol intake. Avoid caffeine and alcohol three to five hours before bedtime as these substances stay in our bodies for some time and disrupt sleep quality.
- Turn off the devices. Having a TV in the bedroom or looking at your phone right up until bedtime wreaks havoc on your brain’s ability to shut off. Try putting the devices away one hour before bedtime and use that hour to unwind instead.
- Try an anti-snoring device. For those whose sleep quality is affected by snoring or a snoring partner, contact-free snoring aids, such as Smart Nora can help alleviate snoring, giving both partners quieter, more restful sleep.
The importance of good, quality, sleep cannot be overstressed. It’s amazing how much work our body is doing while we rest, processes that keep us healthy, energized, and happy. If snoring is keeping you from a full night’s rest, or preventing your partner from sleeping well, give us a call. One of our sleep coaches is ready to answer all of your questions about how Smart Nora can help you sleep better.