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Which Type of Sleeper Are You? 11 Tips for Optimal Sleep

By: Erin Coleman, B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.,

Writer at The Fit Father Project

type of sleeper

Do you know what type of sleeper you are? It's probably something you've never thought of, but it could be vital to not just your sleeping but also your overall health and wellness.

A good night's sleep is more important than you might think to achieve optimal health and wellness.

Determine the type of sleeper you are and make adjustments to your sleep regimen to help you get a better night's rest and live longer and healthier!

One thing that's often overlooked in sleeping is selecting the right pillow and mattress for the type of sleeper you are, as the wrong ones can lead to neck, back, and shoulder issues, which in turn leads to poor sleep.

Knowing a few tips for getting a good night's sleep is crucial to optimizing your health and quality of life.

Here's what you need to know about sleeping and how to determine which type of sleeper you are.

These 7 ways to sleep better will improve your sleeping habits, helping you to wake up rested in the morning.

Which Type of Sleeper Are You?

It might be a challenge to determine the type of sleeper you are, as you may move around into various positions throughout the night.

Side sleeping is the most common, followed by sleeping on your back.

There are several ways you can determine the primary type of sleeper you are.

Try Different Positions Before Bed

While you might not know which type of sleeper you are after you fall asleep, getting into a comfortable position before sleep can give you a good idea of which position you prefer to sleep in.

For example, you might be a side sleeper, back sleeper, or stomach sleeper while getting comfortable at bedtime.

Though you might not remain in the same position all throughout the night, you can get a good idea about at least one type of sleeper you are.

Enlist Your Spouse's Help

Ask your spouse or kids to observe you while you're sleeping.

Have them report back to let you know if you sleep on your front, back, or side.

Combine this information with your preferred sleeping position to get a more in-depth idea of the type of sleeper you are.

Consider a Sleep Study

Completing a sleep study is the best way to know for sure the type of sleeping position you gravitate toward.

Your doctor might recommend you go to a sleep clinic and sleep there, so a technician can monitor your sleeping positions and the quality of sleep you get.

Sleep studies help your doctor diagnose sleep apnea and other sleep disorders, which can hinder sleep and require treatment to optimize your health and overall quality of life.

Learn why the Circadian Rhythm and production of sleep hormones are vital parts of getting better sleep.

Which Type of Mattress Should You Choose?

The type of sleeper you are and your body weight often dictate the type of mattress and pillow you should choose for optimal sleep.

Back Sleepers

According to the Sleep Foundation, average-weight back sleepers often sleep best on medium to medium-firm mattresses, lightweight back sleepers may prefer softer options, and heavyweight back sleepers might do best with firmer mattresses.

Because everybody has a different preference, however, trial and error can help you choose a mattress that feels most comfortable for you and your spouse.

Side Sleepers

Side sleepers often prefer medium to firm mattresses, especially memory foam mattresses, depending on their body weights.

Lightweight and average-weight side sleepers might prefer a medium firmness, while heavyweight sleepers can achieve better support with a firmer mattress.

Front Sleepers

If you're a front sleeper, or stomach sleeper, a memory foam bed with medium firmness usually works best.

Some front sleepers prefer firmer mattresses.

A supportive mattress prevents your midsection from sinking into the mattress too deeply, and better aligns your spine to reduce back pain.

Pick a mattress you feel most comfortable on to ensure you get a good night's rest.

Start resting better tonight with these 5 essential tips to fall asleep faster and sleep better.

What About Pillows?

The firmness and type of pillow you choose for sleeping depends on the type of sleeper you are.

As with choosing a mattress, the pillow choice that's right for you depends on what feels most comfortable.

Use the following recommendations as a guideline:

Front Sleepers

If you're a front sleeper, consider a memory foam or orthopedic pillow.

A soft, thin, dense pillow helps prevent neck strain associated with stomach sleeping.

Side Sleepers

Side sleepers typically sleep best on medium-soft pillows that aren't too thick or too thin.

Memory foam pillows are often a good option.

Back Sleepers

Memory foam pillows with adjustable densities work well for back sleepers.

With this type of pillow, you can adjust the thickness and density of your pillow to match your preference and neck contours.

Simply add or remove stuffing as needed to perfect your pillow.

Here are some more tips on how you can sleep better and feel great in the morning!

Signs of Sleep Deprivation

There are certain signs to watch out for if you suspect you have chronic sleep deprivation.

Examples include:

  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Frequent accidents or clumsiness
  • Loud snoring at night
  • Waking up in during the night
  • Irritability
  • Increases in hunger
  • Unplanned weight gain

Getting a good night's sleep is crucial to maintain overall health and wellness and reduce the risk of unwanted weight gain and chronic diseases.

Sleep deprivation can alter hormone levels within your body, increasing your appetite and your risk of becoming overweight or obese.

If you suffer from sleep apnea, discuss treatment options with your doctor so you can sleep soundly and look and feel your best.

Sleep is just one aspect of looking and feeling your best. Find out the total package of health and fitness here!

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11 Tips for a Better Night's Sleep

If you're not sleeping as well as you'd like to, try the following tips and tricks to achieve a better night's sleep.

1. Sleep in Cool, Dark Room

Make sure the room you sleep in is cool and dark to ensure you're getting a good night's rest.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends setting your indoor thermostat to between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit at night to optimize sleep quality.

Use window coverings that block out sunlight, such as blinds or blackout curtains, to keep your bedroom dark.

Your body's melatonin production decreases in response to light, and melatonin is crucial for sound sleep.

2. Change Up Your Sleeping Position

While your body naturally moves around throughout the night, begin sleep in a comfortable position.

If you're not sleeping well on your back, try resting your body on your front or side instead.

Experiment with different positions based on the type of sleeper you are, and what feels most comfortable to help you get high-quality sleep.

Did you know that sleep affects muscle building as well? Find out why.

3. Avoid Going to Bed Hungry

It's often difficult to fall asleep when you feel hungry.

Don't splurge right before bed, however, as going to bed too full can also negatively affect your sleep cycles.

If you feel hungry before bed, choose a healthy snack, such as yogurt, fruit, nuts, or a protein shake.

Protein boosts satiety to keep you full, reducing the risk of waking up hungry in the middle of the night.

4. Steer Clear of Caffeine Late in the Day

Getting caffeine from coffee or tea is an excellent way to start your day off right.

Caffeine boosts your energy, increases alertness, and keeps your metabolism going strong all day long.

However, drinking caffeine late in the day makes it difficult to fall asleep and sleep soundly throughout the night.

So if you drink coffee or tea, do so in the morning or afternoon but steer clear of caffeine in the evening and late at night.

5. Don't Drink Alcohol Before Bed

Avoiding alcohol right before bed might seem counterintuitive, as alcohol can make you feel tired.

However, while it might help you fall asleep initially, alcohol often prevents you from sleeping deeply for very long.

As the alcohol in your body wears off, you're more likely to wake up during the night.

Drinking alcohol before bed tends to keep you in the lighter stages of sleep.

Try consuming a protein shake, milk, or yogurt before bed instead of alcohol.

The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand recommends consuming 30-40 grams of casein protein before bed to increase overnight muscle protein synthesis and keep your metabolism going strong.

A negative effect on sleep is just one of the problems with alcohol. Find out the others in this video.

6. Exercise, but Not Late at Night

Getting regular exercise is one of the best ways to increase your chance of getting a good night's sleep.

However, late-night workouts can keep you awake before bed, making it difficult to fall and stay asleep.

Harvard Medical School suggests avoiding vigorous physical activity for at least an hour before bedtime to optimize sleep quality.

If you do choose high-intensity workouts, such as high-intensity interval training (HIIT), exercise in the morning, afternoon, or evening but not late at night.

Aim to get at least 30 minutes of exercise in most days of the week to optimize sleep, overall health, and your quality of life.

This HIIT bodyweight workout can be done at home with NO equipment! Just don't do it before bed!

7. Consider a White Noise Machine

Despite your best efforts to keep your home and bedroom quiet, unsuspecting noises can occur and disrupt a good night's rest.

Using a white noise machine, or a white noise app on your phone, is one of the best ways to block out sounds and keep you asleep without disruption.

Place the source of white noise next to your bed to relax you and help you wake up well-rested.

8. Keep Stress Levels Low

Stress can keep you up at night, regardless of how tired you are.

If stress is taking over your life, take steps to reduce it.

For example, lighten up a busy schedule, take a vacation, get a therapeutic massage, take a nap during lunch breaks, or see your doctor about possible treatments for stress or anxiety.

Regular exercise is a natural stress reducer.

So is yoga, tai chi, meditation, and getting in touch with your spirituality.

These at-home stress relief techniques give you 5 simple ways to reduce stress!

9. Avoid Blue Light Before Bed

Blue light, which is present on television screens, phones, computers, and tablets, can interfere with your body's melatonin, a hormone that helps you fall and stay asleep.

If you struggle with chronic sleep deprivation, avoid screen time right before bed.

Read, meditate, stretch, or try relaxation strategies right before you settle into bed for the night.

10. Sleep at Least 7 Hours Each Night

Create a sleep schedule based on your lifestyle, so you can get at least 7-9 hours of rest every night.

Whenever possible, go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning to keep your body on a routine.

11. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Regardless of the type of sleeper you are, maintaining a healthy weight is one of the best ways to ensure you get a good night's rest.

Maintaining a healthy weight means:

  • Clean up your diet
  • Eliminate sugary drinks and sweets
  • Avoid processed meats, refined grains, and fried foods
  • Get regular cardiovascular and resistance exercise
  • Reduce stress
  • Reduce or eliminate alcohol
  • Get plenty of quality sleep
  • Get in the right mindset
  • Prioritize healthy living over unhealthy habits
  • Drink at least 16 cups of water daily

Join an organized weight loss or healthy living program designed for men, to drastically increase your chance of achieving and maintaining a healthy weight for life.

If you struggle to get access weight off on your own, consider the Fit Father Project 30X (FF30X) program.

It's helped hundreds of thousands of busy dads build muscle, burn fat, and keep extra pounds off for a lifetime.

Give it a try at no cost by signing up for the Fit Father Project free diet and workout plan today.

Learn about the best foods for weight loss and try this sustainable men's diet plan to lose weight and keep it off.

The Next Steps You Should Take

The first step in getting a good night's sleep is determining the type of sleeper you are and ensuring your bedroom, mattress, and pillows are comfortable.

Make sure your bed is large enough to accommodate movements during sleep.

Set your thermostat to a cool temperature at night, reduce stress, lose weight if you're overweight, and sleep next to a white noise machine or white noise app on your phone.

Remove all distractions from your bedroom. Clean it to remove clutter and close all curtains or blinds.

If you suspect you have sleep apnea, see your doctor about possible treatments to boost sleep quality and help you get a good night's rest.

Whether you're a front sleeper, side sleeper, back sleeper, or a hybrid of a specific type of sleeper, deep sleep is within reach!

Take it one step at a time by making simple changes that can drastically change your life, and allow the Fit Father Project experts to help!

Erin Coleman B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.

Writer at The Fit Father Project

Erin Coleman is a registered and licensed dietitian with over 15 years of freelance writing experience.

She graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree in nutritional science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and completed her dietetic internship at Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Prior to beginning her career in medical content writing, Erin worked as Health Educator for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Internal Medicine.

Her published work appears on hundreds of health and fitness websites, and she’s currently working on publishing her first book! Erin is a wife, and a Mom to two beautiful children.

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*Please know that weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on determining the type of sleeper you are.


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