Sleeping Patterns Explained
While some of us are following in Rip Van Winkle’s footsteps, others might relate more to the princess sleeping on a pea.
The National Sleep Foundation has identified five predominant sleeping patterns or “sleeping personalities” with the majority of respondents reporting not-so-good sleep. Where do you fall?
The Good Sleepers
Healthy, Lively Larks: You are a sleeping superstar. Congratulations. You’re well rested, rarely tired due to lack of sleep, and sleep issues are a foreign concept. You are even a morning person (they exist!). You’re young or middle aged and either married or partnered with a full-time job.
Sleep Savvy Seniors: You’re the most mature of the five clusters (with an average age of 60) and clock a chart-topping average of 7.3 hours per night. People in this group rarely feel tired or fatigued and are most likely retired (51%). Ahh, the good life.
The Not-So-Good Sleepers
Dragging Duos: More than the other sleep groups, you most likely have a partner and a job, working 40-plus hours a week and often catching up on work-related tasks before bed. More than one-third of Dragging Duos say they feel tired or fatigued at least three days a week and many have partners who have trouble sleeping as well.
Overworked, Overweight and Over Caffeinated: This group works more hours than other groups, sleeps less, and drinks more caffeine. You feel like you need less sleep at night for optimal functioning but unfortunately 7 in 10 from this group frequently experience symptoms of insomnia. Many of you are male and half the group is single and classified as overweight.
Sleepless and Missin’ the Kissin’: Your group has the largest number of night owls. You are the least likely to say you often sleep well and the most likely to say sleep issues have caused problems with your relationship and intimacy. Many of you have been diagnosed with a medical condition and you likely use sleep aids.
Ok, So Now What?
Did any of these sleeping patterns make you feel slightly exposed and defeated? Us too. the silver lining is that these sleep personalities are incredibly elastic and can change with behaviors. Here are some lifestyle changes for the not-so-good sleepers to reach the elusive Lively Lark or Sleep Savvy Senior statuses.
- Exercise (we can’t stress this enough): Exercise resolves many issues, especially related to sleep. The endorphins you release during and after exercise are proven to make you a less stressed, happier person. Exercise is good for the rest of your body, too—organs, muscles, bones, even your skin! With proper exercise, you’ll rest better (your body needs to recharge after a good workout) and you’ll be more productive during the day.
- Drink more water and eat well: To allow your body to focus on restoring itself while you sleep instead of accommodating and processing an unhealthy diet or lack of hydration, eat cleanly and drink more water (you probably are not drinking enough, let’s be honest).Try to drink a glass of water as soon as you wake up.
- Make time for your partner: A good relationship needs time and space. Even if you’re busy, prioritizing quality time with a partner can go a long way in reducing stress and improving your nightly sleep.
- Stick to a bedtime routine: avoid too much screen time at night and go to bed at the same time so your body starts falling into a consistent rhythm.
- Assess your work/life balance and make changes: This is the hardest one for most people because it can feel like a very tall order. Setting boundaries within your workplace and evaluating your time management practices could drastically reduce stress in the long term. Keep a log of how you’re spending all of your time each day and what work you end up bringing home with you. You’ll be able to identify different ways to organize your work day to get those lingering tasks done that get in the way of an early bedtime during the day. Further, you’ll be able to identify tasks you may be able to delegate and perhaps notice office habits that could be eliminated (too many internal meetings!).
- Choose a mattress that meets your needs: We all have our optimal comfort levels and that one sleep position that puts us right to sleep. Did you know, side and stomach sleepers should sleep on a soft mattress and back sleepers should sleep on a firm mattress? Subtle changes like this can land you in a different sleeping pattern category, so take note!
Improvements to your day-to-day and sleep don’t happen on their own. You need to take control and make changes if need be. Sweet dreams, and keep us posted on your progress.
Rachel is a Michigan-based copywriter and editor who writes about sleep habits and sleep technology. When she’s not crafting content she enjoys all things outdoors and music. She is neither a morning person nor a night owl and has yet to finish a cup of coffee.