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Sleeper Types: Heavy Sleepers

by BetterSleep
May 18 • 4 min read
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Do you tend to sleep through anything, including loud noises and disruptions? Do you find it difficult to wake up when your alarm rings, even if you’ve had enough sleep?

If so, you could be a deep sleeper — and waking up during a deep sleep cycle can be extremely difficult. Read on to learn what it means to be a deep sleeper and what you can do to sleep better (and wake up more easily).

What Is a Heavy Sleeper?

A heavy sleeper is someone that cannot be woken up easily when they’re asleep, even when there are significant changes in their sleeping environment.

Unlike light sleepers, someone who’s a heavy sleeper may sleep through stimuli such as someone touching them lightly — or even shaking them! They’ll also sleep through sun rays peeking through their windows or disruptive sounds erupting from nearby sources.

Even if you’re a deep sleeper, you won’t spend all your time asleep in the deep sleeping stage. You’ll still go through the main stages of sleep, which are as follows:

  • Light sleep
  • Deep sleep
  • REM sleep

Even deep sleepers will be easier to wake if they’re in the stages of light sleep or REM sleep. However, they’ll be much more difficult to wake up once they reach the deep sleep stage.

Why Am I Such a Heavy Sleeper?

So why do some people fall so deeply into slumber that they could sleep through a hurricane or an earthquake?

The level at which you can sleep depends on your arousal threshold, which is a term doctors use to describe how much stimulus someone needs to wake up. Someone with a high arousal threshold needs lots of stimuli to rise from their sleep, which makes them deep sleepers.

However, scientists still haven’t figured out why some people have a higher arousal threshold than others. While it seems to be influenced by someone’s genetics, other factors in someone’s lifestyle can make their sleep heavier, including but not limited to:

  • Certain medications
  • Not getting enough sleep (for example, anxiety keeping you awake the night before)
  • Erratic sleep schedule
  • Sleep disorders such as sleep apnea

If being a heavy sleeper isn’t disrupting your health and your lifestyle, there’s likely nothing to worry about.

How To Improve Your Sleep As a Deep Sleeper

It’s easy to think that deep sleepers already get a good quality of sleep. But that’s not necessarily true! Sleeping heavily — and struggling to wake up in the morning — may be caused by you not getting enough quality sleep. Here’s how you can improve your sleep, even if you’re a heavy sleeper:

  • Pick the right bedtime drinks and snacks: Avoid sugary foods or caffeinated drinks before you go to sleep so your body doesn’t become restless.
  • Wind down before bed: If it takes you an hour or more to fall asleep, you may not be getting enough hours of sleep each night. Try a sleeping meditation or a bedtime story to drift to sleep faster and make the most of every hour you have.
  • Change your alarm schedule: If your alarm rings during your deep sleep cycle, it won’t be easy to wake up. Try different alarm schedules to see what works best for you. Even though it sounds counterintuitive, waking up a bit earlier could make you feel less tired!
  • Take a sleep study: If you’re worried your deep sleep may be linked to other sleeping issues, don’t hesitate to consult a medical professional for an evaluation.

Whether you’re looking for a bedtime story to distract your mind or you want some guided meditations to unwind before bed, you’ll find what you’re looking for on the BetterSleep App — try it out for free to fall asleep faster tonight!

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