Getting a solid eight hours of sleep each night shouldn’t be a struggle, even for you night owls. But that’s not always easy when your body and mind are telling you to stay up later than your early bird counterparts or when your job dictates that you work when you’d rather be asleep.
So, what do you do? Is it even possible to get a good night’s sleep when you’re a night owl or do you save it all for the weekend? Let’s take a look at why you need to prioritize better sleep routines and some ways in which you can do so without compromising on that late bedtime.
Are you a #nightowl? If so, here are 19 hacks you can use to get to sleep faster and stay asleep longer!Click to tweet
The Majority of Night Owls Are Dissatisfied with Their Sleep
In an Amerisleep survey from 2017, they sought to get a handle on sleep behaviors of Americans. While the results are disappointing, in general, what they discovered about night owls is quite worrisome. Consider the following:
31% of night owls say they get less than seven hours of sleep each night. (Only 13% of early birds can make this claim.)
While you might be thinking that night owls are content with this lack of sleep since they choose to stay up later, that’s not the reality. 69% of night owls believe that they would benefit from getting more sleep at night. (As opposed to 47% of early birds that feel that way.)
Obviously, night owls are feeling the pain of sleep deprivation, whether it be in their personal or professional lives. Irritability. Weight gain. Difficulty concentrating. Depression. Higher levels of stress. More colds. These are the side effects of having a deficit of sleep, and it’s clear that night owls are more at risk for them than early birds.
19 Things Night Owls Can Do to Get More Sleep
Rather than toss out your body’s natural sleep patterns and try to force yourself to bed earlier than you’d like or can even manage (if work gets in the way), you need ways to cope and make room for some quality and substantial sleep every night. So, let’s look at what sort of disruptors are keeping night owls from sleeping well each night.
According to the Amerisleep survey, these are the chief complaints:
- Two-and-a-half nights every week are disrupted by distracting thoughts.
- Night owls spend 32 minutes struggling to fall asleep each night, sometimes for no reason at all.
- Sleeping in a room that is too hot or cold can be problematic for comfort.
- Naps or sleeping in too late can affect the quality of sleep at night.
- A change in sleep pattern–especially if you work a schedule with rotating shifts–can make getting to sleep difficult.
- Disruption from a pet, partner, or child can wake you up and make it difficult to fall back asleep.
- Outside noises or lights that filter into the bedroom can wreak havoc as well.
Sound familiar? If so, then that’s a good thing because there are easy ways to remedy each of these issues.
For distracting thoughts:
- Use a sound machine.
- Try meditation and other mindfulness activities like deep breathing and visualization right before bed.
- Turn off email, social media, and other distractions (like Netflix, which 55% of you stay up late to watch) at least an hour before bed.
For difficulty falling asleep:
- Dim the lights in your home.
- Remove electronics from your bedroom.
- Don’t work in the same room where you sleep.
For too hot or cold rooms:
- Use a smart space heater that auto adjusts.
- Take a warm bath about an hour before bed and give your body time to cool down.
- Make sure you use the right kind of mattress. Certain types (like memory foam) can make you hotter.
For a changing sleep pattern:
- Keep a regular schedule of getting to bed and getting out of bed.
- Only rely on power naps (less than 30 minutes) in the middle of the afternoon if you need help getting through the day.
- Stop work at the same time every day.
- Be sure to maintain a consistent eating schedule and avoid snacks before bed.
- Don’t try and make up for it on the weekends.
For a bothersome bedmate:
- Use earplugs and/or a sound machine.
- Get a memory foam mattress that reduces motion transfer.
- Don’t sleep with your pet if they move around or make a lot of noise.
For external distractions:
- Use blackout curtains.
- Keep that sound machine and those earplugs close by.
While no one should have to suffer through sleep disruptions or shifting sleep patterns, night owls are more susceptible to this than their early bird peers. And unlike their peers, they don’t have the convenience of being able to get to bed earlier to adjust for those sleep disturbances. With the 19 hacks above, though, changes can be made for a lengthier and higher quality of sleep.