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10 type of sleepers: What kind of sleeper are you?

by Sonia Chartier, on 16 February 2017, Stress and sleep
sleeper

co-written by Rick Olazabal, BSc, BN 

According to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the average person spends about one-third of their life sleeping. In other words, by the time a person reaches 75, they would have spent 25 years sleeping.

Lack of sleep has negative health effects on the person’s physiological equilibrium, so for that reason, we should not ignore the importance of good quality sleep; after all, sleeping is almost as important as eating or breathing….

Let’s take a look at some fun sleeping “styles” we may all have encountered, and explore ways to address each of them.

1-The snorer

Everyone’s probably familiar with the rumble and grumble of snorers. Snorers don’t usually get quality sleep, as the snoring itself prevents them from optimal breathing and oxygen exchange. Some people may snore when they’re very tired (e.g. finally getting some sleep after being jet-lagged), and this has to do with how structures of the nose and throat are positioned and relaxed—this is another reason why some people snore after a night of drinking.

While these examples seem benign, it can also be a sign of other conditions. Speaking with your doctor about sleep studies is an excellent starting point—and this is because snorers tend to also suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (pauses in breathing), and risk factors include being overweight, smoking, consumption of alcohol.

2-The crawler

This one is interesting, and while the person isn’t exactly crawling, they’re moving so much that they end up all over the bed. Some people simply experience vivid dreams, and exhibit movement during sleep. While there isn’t anything wrong with these people, it may be worth exploring the possibility of anxiety, or high stress.

3-The babbler

Similarly to the “crawler”, some people are rather vocal during their sleep. This is not a medical problem either. Half of all kids tend to carry on conversations during their sleep. Once again, it is worth exploring any source of stress or anxiety. Talk to your kids about school and their friends (or foes), and workload if you don’t know where to begin.

4-The midnight snacker

Technically, not a sleeper. This is an example of interrupted sleep. Some people wake up in the middle of the night to “pee” and since they’re up, they end up making their way over to the fridge. This seemingly harmless behaviour could be a warning signal of underlying medically relevant issues—for example, sugar dysregulation and insulin insensitivity as in pre diabetes and diabetes. This can make you hungry and wake you up around 3-4 am (not so much at midnight). If you have a history of diabetes in the family, are overweight, smoke, then you should go speak with your physician or regulated naturopathic doctor.

5-The animal lover

Some people just love sleeping with their pets. And why not? They’re cuddly, furry, warm and loving. However, it is important to know that some animals carry parasites and other microbes that can be transmitted to humans. This is of uttermost importance if you’re a pregnant woman.

6-The night owl

As with the midnight snacker, this isn’t technically a sleep style, but an acquired behaviour. Night owls tend to stay up late and go to bed later than the average person. Popular science states that this trait is common in people of higher intelligence. Night owls tend to be determined overachievers with a lot on their plate. High stress is something they need to watch out for as well as bad eating habits, especially so late at night.

7-The blanket thief

This is self-explanatory and likely as annoying as the snorer and the crawler if you have to share a bed with them! This is not necessarily medically relevant. If your partner steals your blanket and this is leading to your waking up at night, then it’s time to have a talk! Having two separate sheets may help solve the problem. It’s good to keep in mind they’re not “stealing” your blanket on purpose; they’re fully asleep, so be gentle, but pull back.

8-The sleeping beauty

These people conk out the minute their heads touch the bed. They could be fighting exhaustion. While the title sounds lovely, it’s worth exploring this category a bit more. There are typical sleeping patterns and behaviours and then there are those unusual ones. If you’re someone who’s always tired and who can fall asleep anywhere, go speak with a health care provider. Many medical conditions can lead to excessive sleeping and fatigue, e.g. thyroid disorders, low vitamin D levels, depression, etc.

9-The snoozer

Every teenager is affected by this, and it is perfectly normal. After all, they’re growing and developing very fast and this consumes a lot of energy! However, if you’re a fully grown adult who has trouble getting up in the morning, then it’s time to speak with a regulated naturopathic doctor about your health. Exhaustion and depression are two likely contributors and talking about it with someone who’s qualified can help you restore quality of life.

10-The sweater

Not as in the clothes item, but as in literally sweating. For women experiencing hot flashes, sweating at night may become a common occurrence. However, spontaneous night sweats can have an ominous source. Night sweats can be a sign of cancer, infection, and metabolic disorders. Speak with your physician if you’ve been experiencing unusual night sweats.

Herbal remedies

Traditionally, there have been several herbs useful for helping with sleep. These tend to have sedative and mild hypnotic effects. It is very important that before experimenting with herbal remedies you speak with a qualified herbalist and/or a licensed naturopathic doctor—especially if you’re taking medication—to avoid drug-herb and other interactions.

Herbs can make some medications work more aggressively, as well as render them inactive. This is particularly true of herbs like St. John’s Wort (hypericum), which has been traditionally used in the treatment of mild depression. Passion flower, hops (humulus), and valerian are other herbs with anxiolytic and sleep-inducing effects. Hops is contraindicated in depression, so use with caution. Proper use of these herbs can help you achieve restful, deep sleep.

  • Harshada Sabale

    thank you for sharing great tips!

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