How to Sleep Lightly and Wake Up Alert: Complete Guide

Do you dread waking up each morning knowing that you’ll be groggy and in a bad mood all day? You’re likely a deep sleeper, which makes it difficult for you to wake up energized and rested in the morning.

Well, your struggles are about to come to an end. This guide will teach you how to sleep lighter, wake up rested, and have more than enough fuel to face every new day. Read on!

Light vs. Deep Sleepers: A Comparison

Deep (also known as heavy) sleepers are not easily disturbed by external factors while asleep. In other words, they will not wake up at cars passing by their windows or their partner shifting in bed beside them.

On the other hand, light sleepers are the exact opposite. Namely, they usually hear even the slightest of sounds and wake at the smallest of disturbances in their close vicinity.

At the present time, experts are unsure what differentiates sleepers into one of the above categories. Many believe that it is all due to the number of sleep spindles that a person’s brain creates while in the deeper stages of sleep.

Sleep spindles are increases in brain activity recorded when one is in the REM phase of sleep. According to theories, the more spindles your brain creates, the more deeply and heavily you will sleep. Thus, it can be said that sleep spindles act like barriers that block out outside stimuli from waking you.

Practical Implications

In most cases, sleeping lightly or heavily has particular implications for an individual.

For example, deep sleepers usually have trouble waking up in the morning, no matter how much sleep they get. In addition, they might lack the energy to go about their day as usual, as well as suffer from headaches, migraines, irritability, and mood swings.

Conversely, most light sleepers wake up alert and ready to tackle their responsibilities every morning. They have no trouble shaking off any morning grogginess, and they seldom want to burrow back into their sheets and snooze their alarms. Moreover, they feel energized enough to complete all their daily tasks.

Of course, it is important to mention that not all heavy and light sleepers experience these symptoms. In fact, some light sleepers can also struggle with tiredness, while those who sleep heavily can get excellent rest. At the end of the day, it is all up to the individual and their genetics, bedtime habits and hygiene.

Tips for Waking up Alert

Whether you are a heavy or light sleeper, here are some tips you can use to get enough rest at night and wake up alert in the morning.

1. Improve Your Sleep Hygiene and Habits

First and foremost, sleeping more lightly and waking up alert is highly dependent on your sleep hygiene. This term refers to your everyday habits, the food you consume, as well as your bedtime routine.

To ensure you get enough rest while sleeping, it is essential to eat a balanced diet every day. That entails giving your body enough varied nutrients, especially protein. Moreover, you should try to avoid eating heavier foods late at night, as well as drinking alcohol and coffee.

Next, it is important to limit daytime naps. If you sleep for a few hours every day, you will have a more difficult time falling asleep at night, as your sleep hormone levels will increase during the day instead of at night.

Furthermore, waking up and riding your bike, going for a run, visiting the gym, or doing some yoga could also help. These activities will fill you with endorphins and give you more than enough energy to face the day.

As for your bedtime routine, it is best to spend your nights doing something you love. From hobbies to hanging out with your loved ones, choose activities that will bring you joy and help you relax.

All in all, the key is in experimenting and coming up with a routine that will help you wake up more alert. It could be a long process, but the effort is more than worth it in the long run.

2. Make Use of Light

Light — whether natural or artificial — can be a handy tool if you wake up tired and groggy in the morning.

For example, you can leave your blinds open during the night and let natural light pour into your room. The light could help you wake up even before your alarm goes off and stimulate you to get out of bed more easily.

In case you have to wake up before dawn or you aren’t comfortable leaving your blinds open, you can also get a smart wake-up light. This model mimics the sunrise, and it will start lighting up your room at a time of your choosing.

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There are also lamps that connect to Wi-Fi, so they can also wake you with music or some words of affirmation. Either way, using such a gadget can help you rise energetically each morning.

3. Reduce Stress

Stress is one of the most common causes of irregular and restless sleep. Instead of unwinding and relaxing at night, most people unwittingly spend their free time worrying and thinking of the day ahead. As a result, they either cannot fall asleep long into the night or they sleep fitfully and wake up even more tired.

Although it is a challenging task, reducing stress is pivotal for your quality of life, especially your sleep habits. While you cannot fully control what happens at your workplace and in your personal life, you can learn some de-stress activities and use them in your free time.

For example, doing breathing or grounding exercises to calm yourself before going to bed at night. In addition, it’s wise to dedicate time at night to activities that relax you and bring you joy. That can include anything from reading and listening to music to spending time with your loved ones. 

By releasing pent-up stress before bed, you’ll have an easier time falling asleep. As a result, you will sleep lightly but restfully and wake up a lot more alert.

4. Be Consistent

Sleeping too deeply and waking up tired can also be caused by an inconsistent sleeping schedule. For example, if you get 8 hours of sleep one night, 3 the next one, and 5 after that, your body will be exhausted due to inconsistency.

To avoid that, you should aim to go to bed and wake up at approximately the same time each day. That includes the weekends, even if you’d like to sleep in or stay up all night.

In truth, keeping a consistent sleep schedule could improve your life in several aspects. From having more energy during the day to teaching your body and mind to shut off at the same time at night, it is the perfect solution for all heavy and restless sleepers.

5. Start Your Day in a Stimulating Manner

Finally, you can also teach yourself to be more alert and energetic upon waking up by stimulating your mind. You can download and play a challenging game, solve a crossword puzzle, listen to an engaging podcast, read, or take up any other activity that you like.

By starting your day this way, you will have an easier time getting up and be a lot more animated. Plus, you will be ready to face any tasks at work or school, no matter how complex they might be.

To Sum Up

With these tips, sleeping better and waking up well-rested will become a much more amenable goal. When approaching the whole process, it is important to keep an open mind and experiment with all the different methods we mentioned (and those we didn’t). That way, you will establish a healthy routine that works for you.

Lastly, a friendly piece of advice. If you struggle with waking up groggy and nothing seems to help, it’s best to talk to your doctor. Many conditions can influence one’s sleeping habits, so it is best to do some tests and try to pinpoint whether the problem is deeper than it might appear at first glance.


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