How To Get Uninterrupted Sleep
It should be the goal of every sleeper (which is everyone) to get at least 7-9 hours of sleep per night and preferably to get that sleep in one solid block of uninterrupted sleep. Sleep better by trying these several sleep habits that will prevent you from awakening during the night for whatever reason.
1. Use a white noise machine all night long
If you are easily triggered toward wakefulness by even small unanticipated sounds, you may wish to invest in a white noise machine that plays the white noise all night long. Within a few days, your body and mind will adjust to the white noise and it can be your best friend at night, blocking out unwanted and intrusive noise.
2. Do not drink much fluid before going to sleep at night
While there is a natural production of ADH or anti-diuretic hormone in the system that keeps you from making too much urine, you can override that normal system by drinking too many fluids at night. This will lead to your waking up at least once or twice throughout the night, and will lead to interrupted sleep.
3. Stay away from caffeine or nicotine during the evening hours
Both caffeine in the form of chocolate, caffeinated soft drinks, coffee and some teas, and nicotine from patches, gum or cigarettes, act as stimulants, making it difficult to get to sleep or to stay asleep at night. Even alcohol can contribute to poor sleep as it is not a sedative and can interrupt the natural sleep cycle.
4. Avoid intensive exercise before sleep
Excessive exercise before sleeping can rev up the body, making sleep difficult to achieve or maintain. Try to exercise at least four hours or more before going to bed at night.
5. Keep the temperature of your room steady
It should not be too hot or too cold. If your body senses that the environment of the room is either too hot or too cold, you will awaken and have a difficult time getting back to sleep. One way to deal with a hot room is to have a floor fan or a standing fan that will blow cool air over your body all night long. It will have the added benefit of acting like a white noise machine during the night.
6. Sleep in a comfortable bed
If your bed is too soft, too hard, or lumpy, you will find yourself tossing and turning throughout the night with brief periods of awakening in which you interrupt your sleep. You don’t have to purchase an expensive bed but one that feels about right when you test in the store.
7. Help your sleeping partner if he or she snores
Sleeping with someone who has sleep apnea or who simply snores loudly can be very difficult. Similarly, if you snore and have a partner who continually wakes you up in an effort to keep you from snoring, you will also not get uninterrupted sleep. If over the counter remedies for snoring fail to work, seek the advice of a doctor or sleep center to see if you can find relief from the sleep apnea. Everyone will sleep better after the sleep apnea is properly treated.
8. Turn off your phone
If you don’t absolutely need to have the phone on during the night, turn it to mute so that it will only pick up messages or give the caller a busy signal. There are times when well-meaning friends decide to call you in the middle of the night because they can’t sleep and this can mean you also have an unpleasant night’s sleep.
Why is uninterrupted sleep important?
Uninterrupted sleep is important. It allows for each individual sleeper to go through several sleep cycles, which consist of a period of non-REM sleep accompanied by a period of REM sleep, also known as “dream sleep”. Each complete cycle lasts for approximately 90 minutes at a time and recurs throughout the night for a total of 5-6 complete sleep cycles per night. The problem with having your sleep cycle interrupted is that you begin to have too few REM sleep periods or even too few non-REM sleep periods. You need a balance between REM sleep and non-REM sleep in order to feel as if you have slept well the night before.
People such as firefighters, doctors and medical students are often awakened from their sleep for a period of time in which they must do something active before going to sleep again. This type of sleep pattern is not for everyone and it leads to problems with anxiety, depression, and malaise, even if the total amount of sleep was in the normal range.
Sometimes getting uninterrupted sleep means that you must sleep alone in your own comfortable bed, wear ear plugs to bed and block out all light in your room. While this may involve extreme measures, it may be the only way possible for you to get a solid, uninterrupted night’s sleep.