Introverts are more sensitive to sleep disruptions, so my tips on how to fall asleep are geared towards specific personality types. People with introverted personalities have different sleep patterns than extroverts.
Did you know your personality significantly affects your ability to sleep soundly all night? I didn’t, until I started searching for tips on how to fall asleep. Introverts have more sleep problems than extroverts, according to personality research and Susan Cain’s book Quiet.
On the scale of introverted-extroverted personality traits, I definitely have more introverted characteristics! But I have no problem sleeping. In the past, my main problem was falling asleep. I had an overactive brain and imagination – I would stay up into the wee hours, worrying.
I had to learn to fall asleep fast and get a good night’s sleep because I have ulcerative colitis. Lack of sleep makes it flare. So I sleep well, or I suffer nasty health consequences.
For practical tips on how to fall asleep for both introverts and extroverts, read Natural Sleep Remedies for Sleepless Nights. This article is about the sleeping habits of people with introverted personality traits – especially for those who are light sleepers and who have trouble resetting their internal clocks.
Introverts tend to have more problems sleeping, as compared to extroverts…
Research on Introverts and Sleep
Research from Carnegie Mellon University found that neither introverted nor extroverted personality traits affected how long people sleep. However, personality appears to affect certain aspects of the timing and subjective quality of sleep. A different study in The British Journal of Psychiatry found that extraverts sleep longer than introverts, and that extraverts sleep less after the administration of sedatives (as compared to introverts).
Extroverts adapt more quickly to time zone changes, which means they won’t need to worry as much about jet lag remedies. Introverts, on the other hand, have a physiology that resists time changes.
“The principal problem is resetting the body’s clock,” writes Pierce Howard, PhD, in The Owner’s Manual for the Brain. “Introverted people need more help doing this.” He adds that the major factors in resetting the body clock are the neurotransmitters serotonin and melatonin. Introverts might learn how to sleep better if they knew how to control melatonin in particular.
If you’re an introvert who snores, read Acupuncture for Snoring – A Natural Remedy for Good Sleep. Lots of tips on how to fall asleep in that article.
Some psychologists believe introverts sleep better than extroverts
“Introversion involves the inward movement of libidinal or life energy and a valuation, preference for and focus on interior over exterior reality,” writes Stephen Diamond, Ph.D. in Do Introverts Need More Sleep than Extraverts? “Sleep is the primal form of introversion, a state in which we temporarily but regularly withdraw almost totally from the outer world and journey to the fathomless depths of the inner world. Indeed, temporary paralysis during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep pretty much precludes us from physically interacting significantly with the external environment.”
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Diamond adds that for the introvert, sleep and dreaming is a welcome way of connecting to his or her true nature. Sleep for introverts is about receiving energy, power and wisdom to be in the outer world more meaningfully, authentically and successfully. That’s how I see sleep, and perhaps why I sleep better than some introverts.
Are you an introvert? Take this Test for Introverted Personality Traits to find out.
5 Sleep Tips for Introverts and Light Sleepers
There is a difference between adapting to a sleep disruption, such as when you travel or work in shifts, versus trying to create a solid sleep schedule that suits your introverted personality. These tips on how to fall asleep focus on how introverts can reset body clocks after travel or shiftwork.
1. Accept your bodily resistance to time changes
Many introverts feel embarrassed or even ashamed by their personality traits. They feel odd or weird because they aren’t like extroverts who gain energy from being the center of attention and in large groups of people.
This first tip for introverts isn’t just how to sleep better, it’s about accepting your body and personality for who you are. You need to be at peace with yourself before you fall into a peaceful, deep, healthy sleep. The more knowledge and self-awareness you have about how introverts sleep – and your own personality traits – the better equipped you’ll be to learn how to fall asleep quickly and easily.
2. Prepare in advance to deal with sleep disruptions
If you have to travel through time zones or do shift work, your introverted personality needs more Tender Loving Care (TLC) than extroverts. Light therapy helps, and so does eating dairy products and carbohydrates to help you sleep better. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, artificial sweeteners, and food additives for six hours before you try to sleep after a time-zone change or a new round of shift work.
If your partner is the reason you’re searching for tips on how to fall asleep, read How to Sleep When Your Partner Snores.
3. Consider melatonin to reset your body clock
Melatonin is a natural hormone that is secreted from your pineal gland. As the day ends and darkness falls, melatonin gives your body the hormonal signal that it’s time to go to sleep. Getting the proper amount of melatonin is how to sleep better (whether you’re an introvert or extrovert).
Maxi Mel-O-Chew is a natural sleep aid that helps fight jet lag and helps people get better sleep.
“If you’re traveling through a time zone, take 6 mg of melatonin (the laboratory kind, not the animal-extracted variety) prior to departure when it’s 11:30 pm in your destination,” writes Dr Howard in Brain. “As soon as possible after arriving, immerse yourself in the sun – go for a walk, bike ride, sunbathe.” The evening after your arrival, take another 3 mg of melatonin.”
3. Drink milk to put your inner introvert to sleep
The L-tryptophan in milk products stimulate melatonin production, which improves sleep. A cup of warm milk before bed is a natural, easy tip on how to sleep better for introverts. Why warm milk? Because warmer dairy products metabolize more quickly than cooler ones, so they’ll help you fall asleep faster. Avoid putting artificial sweeteners in your warm milk, because they tend to increase alertness.
5. Learn about your introverted personality traits
How much do you know about being an introvert? I bet you didn’t know this:
“The highly sensitive introvert tends to be philosophical or spiritual in their orientation, rather than materialistic or hedonistic,” writes Susan Cain in To learn more about introverts, read Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.
“Introverts dislike small talk. They often describe themselves as creative or intuitive. They dream vividly, and can often recall their dreams the next day. They love music, nature, art, physical beauty. They feel exceptionally strong emotions – sometimes acute bouts of joy, but also sorrow, melancholy, and fear. Highly sensitive people also process information about their environments–both physical and emotional–unusually deeply. They tend to notice subtleties that others miss–another person’s shift in mood, say, or a light bulb burning a touch too brightly.”
If you don’t sleep well, consider a memory foam mattress or pillow, such as the 3 Inch Thick, 4 Pound Density Visco Elastic Memory Foam Mattress Pad Bed Topper. A memory foam mattress or pillow is the first tip on how to fall asleep for both introverts and extroverts because they instantly make any bed more restful, comfortable and supportive. Memory foam is less expensive than buying a new mattress, and more effective because it reduces pressure points that cause you to toss and turn. This helps you fall asleep and sleep better!
Your thoughts on introverts and how to fall asleep are welcome below! Love to hear from you 🙂
Sources: 1) Costello, C. G., and C. M. Smith. “The relationships between personality, sleep and the effects of sedatives.” The British Journal of Psychiatry 109.461 (1963): 568-571; and 2) The Owner’s Manual for the Brain by Pierce Howard, PhD.