How can I have more refreshing sleep?
June 25, 2011 12:35 PM   Subscribe

How can I get really refreshing sleep that makes me refreshed and charged up? I can get to sleep fine, but it's hardly ever satisfying.

I never feel refreshed and good after sleep. I get to sleep regularly and sleep through the night with a couple of toilet trips. I can wake up on time.

I've done Paul McKenna's sleep book and hypnosis which goes through many of the tips, black out the room, only use the bed for sleeping. Fine it works well and I have good sleeping habits but don't feel great.

I've used a Pzizz mp3 download to train myself to take naps with or without it which is an unexpected welcome skill.

I also use a white noise mp3 when I sleep which is great for blocking out noise.

All this sleep fu doesn't make it more refreshing. I have not often felt that I've had a great sleep. This only usually happens when I'm up all night for some reason, then pass out in the day. Then I feel great.

I do have worries at the moment. However this has been a more or less constant factor in life, so think it's something more pervasive.

Any tips?
posted by Not Supplied to Health & Fitness (21 answers total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
I started doing bikram yoga, that helped a lot with deeper sleeping. I'm sure many people will suggest exercise/physical tiredness as a contributor to 'better' sleep.
posted by bquarters at 12:39 PM on June 25, 2011

Do you perhaps have a particularly bad bed/mattress setup?

A hot bath before going to bed might help.
posted by emilyw at 12:46 PM on June 25, 2011

Any chance you have sleep apnea?
posted by KathrynT at 12:47 PM on June 25, 2011 [2 favorites]

You might try breathe-right strips, even if you don't have a specific reason to (like allergies or a deviated septum). They make a big difference for me.

Also, ditto on the hot bath before bed and the exercise.
posted by amy lecteur at 12:47 PM on June 25, 2011

Seconding Kathryn's suggestion of possible sleep apnea. Do you ever wake up in the night feeling hot and sweaty for seemingly no reason? That is one symptom, although it's not one of the better-known ones. Anyway, it might be worth seeing a sleep specialist to get a sleep study done. (You'll sleep overnight in a special room while having your breathing/heartrate/etc. monitored.)
posted by LaurenIpsum at 12:53 PM on June 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

Thanks for the comments. I do have a good mattress, I'm a regular exerciser, done work to help congestion. I suppose I could try the strips.

Baths make me relaxed at bedtime, but don't think they solve the problem. Worth experimenting though.

I have done a couple of yoga things. Not Bikram. Looks interesting, but not that practical for me to get to a studio regularly at the moment.

No idea if I have sleep apnea. I think it would be hard to get seen by a specialist here tbh if I just ask my doc. Any other way of telling?
posted by Not Supplied at 12:54 PM on June 25, 2011

Try experimenting with temperature. I'm 34 years old with lifelong intermittent insomnia and I've just figured out this year that keeping the room slightly too cold is what it takes for me to get truly good sleep.
posted by something something at 12:57 PM on June 25, 2011 [4 favorites]

Do you drink alcohol regularly in the evening? I've read that alcohol, although it often makes people tired and/or relaxed, can disrupt the normal sleep cycle and interfere with deep, restful sleep.
posted by maxim0512 at 1:01 PM on June 25, 2011

Do you know if you snore? You might enlist someone to listen to you sleep sometime, to see if it sounds like you might have mild apnea (sometimes your breathing stops briefly, then starts up again a few seconds later) or if you're snoring loudly (which on its own would make your sleep less restful.)
posted by amy lecteur at 1:06 PM on June 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

I have heard that smoking dope and taking Melatonin accomplish this.

Swimming or vigorous exercise does it for me.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:08 PM on June 25, 2011

I have fibromyalgia which means I hardly ever feel refreshed after sleep but I have found that one thing helps a lot - a regular sleep schedule. When I started going to bed at the same time every night (between 10 and 11pm for me) then I started waking up more refreshed than when I kept irregular sleep hours. I had to experiment with the best time to go sleep was and the optimal sleep time (for me, 7 hours) but once I found that sweet spot, it was so much better than before. Just a thought.
posted by patheral at 1:11 PM on June 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

Here are some things that make me sleep poorly:
- Sleeping on my back. I suspect I have mild sleep apnoea (although a sleep study didn't find any) and sleeping on my belly makes me feel much more rested;
- Drinking alcohol late in the evening;
- Eating sugary or starchy foods in the evening or even the afternoon. Ice-cream seems to be particularly bad for some reason, but even pasta isn't so good.

Do you do any of these?
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 1:27 PM on June 25, 2011

Getting up a couple of times for the bathroom isn't great for your sleep patterns. Have you tried not drinking anything for several hours before going to bed?
posted by hazyjane at 1:50 PM on June 25, 2011 [4 favorites]

Snooze. On the days I snooze for 5 minutes at a time, ~5 times, I wake up in a much better mood than I do on days I don't. This goes double if I dream during the snoozes.
posted by Solomon at 2:03 PM on June 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

I encourage you to experiment with sleep positions.
I also have a very tough time finding sleep remotely refreshing, but sometimes different positions help.
One of the most natural positions the human body can sleep in is on a relatively firm surface, on the stomach, with one leg drawn up a bit (tilts the body so your guts aren't compressed), face pointing in the same direction as whichever leg is up. Arms go wherever they feel comfortable. Sometimes I use an arm as a pillow, sometimes I make a fist that fits in the center of my chest over my sternum, sometimes it sticks straight down.

Positioning is quite important and the world's modern thinking on it is not necessarily what God intended.
posted by carlh at 2:48 PM on June 25, 2011

Some suggest that having electronics in your bedroom isn't conducive to good sleep - either because of the lights/noise, or the distraction of using them, or because of electromagnetic radiation.

Whatever the case, I think that I have slept better since removing the stereo that was next to my bed.
posted by AnnaRat at 3:39 PM on June 25, 2011

I usually don't feel refreshed if I wake up during the night, even if it's only to go to the toilet. I try to avoid drinking things that will make me pee before bedtime for that reason.

Another thing that works for me is having a transition period between when I wake up and when I have to be active. It takes about an hour for me to go from "sleeeeeeepy" to "get up and go," even if I've had a good night's sleep. So I get up a little bit earlier than I have to and I have a relaxing morning ritual--take a bath and read a little bit. By the time I'm done with that I feel much more awake, although that may not work for you because a lot of people find that baths make them feel sleepy.

I notice you mention naps. Do you take naps often? Some people find naps refreshing, but others--like me--find that a nap actually makes the night-time sleep less restful, and if you get into the habit of napping you will get sleepy without one. so I try to avoid naps unless absolutely necessary.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 3:54 PM on June 25, 2011

This may sound far-fetched, but one doctor told me that some people have sleep issues due to heartburn (even if they didn't feel like they had heartburn). He advised taking prilosec every day/night for a couple of weeks to see if it worked. I didn't think that heartburn was my issue, and indeed it did not work for me, but it might be worth a try.
posted by kaybdc at 9:38 PM on June 25, 2011

My mother tells me that this is called "unrestorative sleep" in case you want to mention it to your MD.

I have that if I'm stressed, if my vitamins are off, if I have exercised vigorously after 8 pm and if I wake up for any reason, including the toilet, during the night.
posted by small_ruminant at 9:51 PM on June 25, 2011

If you tell your doctor "I sleep at least [7-8] hours a night and I have good sleep hygiene, but I wake up feeling tired and I am tired during the day," he or she *ought* to willing to help you see a sleep specialist.

Potential sleep apnea is nothing to fool with -- it can cause things like, you know, death.
posted by wintersweet at 10:01 PM on June 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

How much coffee do you drink during the day?
posted by MighstAllCruckingFighty at 1:21 AM on June 26, 2011

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