You've Heard Of Love Languages, But What About Sleep Languages? Here's How To Find Yours

Sleep, like love, isn't one size fits all. The comparison may sound like a strange one, but hear us out: Both sleep and love are highly personal and require different things for different people. In the case of love, author and counselor Dr. Gary Chapman devised the five love languages to pinpoint the ways partners prefer to give and receive affection. Now, a similar concept has been applied to sleep.


Sleep psychologist Dr. Shelby Harris, in partnership with relaxation app Calm, created a list of sleep languages that reveals what it takes to get a good night's rest. "Figuring out your main characteristic or what might be the primary thing that gets in the way of you getting good sleep can give you [a clear idea] of what you might want to focus on first in order to improve your sleep," Dr. Harris explained to Well+Good. Just like the five love languages, there are five distinct sleeping types, each requiring unique conditions to achieve sleeping-like-a-baby slumber.

If you struggle to snooze, whether regularly or just occasionally, you might not be following your personal sleep language. Here's the information you need to identify yours and what to do to catch more Zs.


The Gifted Sleeper

During car rides, while camping, and even in a dodgy hotel, you're the first to fall asleep. Sound familiar? If you can drift off to dreamland easily anytime and anywhere, you're probably a Gifted Sleeper, according to Dr. Shelby Harris' sleep languages. It requires little for you to feel cozy enough to doze off at night, and there's a good chance you enjoy a good afternoon nap too.


Effortless sleep may sound like a good thing, but Dr. Harris told Yoga Journal that falling asleep easily doesn't guarantee you're getting high-quality shut-eye. Moreover, it could be a sign of sleep deprivation. According to Sleep Foundation, it should generally take about 15 to 20 minutes to fall asleep, so if you're out like a light within seconds, take a look at your lifestyle habits. You may be lacking rest in your schedule or wrecking your quality of sleep with alcohol, electronic devices, and other bedtime no-nos.

The Words of Worry Sleeper

It's no secret that stress can keep people awake at night. The American Institute of Stress explains that an active brain, filled with worries and ruminations, can interrupt your usual biological clock. Instead of feeling sleepy once bedtime rolls around, your body remains alert in response to stress. This is a common issue for Words of Worry Sleepers. You can identify this sleep language by the buzzy-brain feeling you might get before bed, but Dr. Shelby Harris also says that it can be experienced physically too — Words of Worry Sleepers tend to suffer from muscle tension, no matter how comfy their beds may be.


Thankfully, there are several recommendations if you have this sleep language. Taking time to relax throughout the day, such as with meditation, can help prep Words of Worry Sleepers for bedtime later. Then, 30 to 60 minutes before bed, Dr. Harris suggests unplugging from distracting devices and doing something soothing, like reading or listening to soft music. Make this a daily routine to teach your mind when bedtime is approaching. Finally, be sure to never take work to the bedroom — it's essential to have a sleepytime oasis that's designated only for resting and sex.

The Routine Perfectionist Sleeper

Perfectionism can derail your productivity, happiness, and even physical health, according to WebMD — and it can also derail your sleep. The Routine Perfectionist Sleeper creates a strict routine for themselves to ensure they don't miss out on high-quality rest. However, their high expectations and anxiety around sleep can actually make it harder to wind down at night.


This is especially problematic for this sleep language when it comes to travel or changing sleep habits (like having to go to bed earlier than usual). If you can relate, Dr. Shelby Harris suggests having a realistic idea of what you can control and what you can't. "You can ask to be on a higher floor [at a hotel] and away from the elevator, but you can't control if the person in the room next door slams their door at 2 am," she told Yoga Journal as an example. If you notice yourself stressing about your sleep routine, try to bring yourself back to the present moment and trust that sleep will come, even if it isn't exactly when or how you had planned.

The Too Hot to Handle Sleeper

Many of us go to bed in cozy pajamas and a warm blanket pulled up to our chins, but this isn't always the optimal way to sleep. Healthline points out that our core body temperature dips at night, while our hands and feet heat up at first. This temperature change is all part of the circadian rhythm, and messing with it can make it more difficult to sleep properly. Generally speaking, your thermostat should be set at around 65 degrees Fahrenheit at night to keep your body comfortable.


While this is true for most people, some are particularly sensitive to heat at night. If that's you, you're probably a Too Hot to Handle Sleeper. People with this sleep language tend to overheat in bed and wake up feeling sweaty and desperate to ditch the comforter.

If you're a Too Hot to Handle type, focus on keeping your sleeping space cool. Use a fan if needed, and dress in layers (especially if you feel cold at the beginning of the night) that can be easily removed as you heat up. Dr. Shelby Harris also recommends investing in cooling and moisture-wicking bedding and mattress pads.

The Light as a Feather Sleeper

Feathers may play a role in your sleep routine in the form of feathery pillows and down comforters, but they're also symbolic of a certain type of sleeping style. For people with the Light as a Feather sleep language, light sleep is the norm. It's not that Light as a Feather Sleepers can't sleep — it's just that they don't sink into the deep stage of sleep that's needed for health functions like immunity building and cell regeneration (per Healthline).


You'll know you're a Light as a Feather Sleeper if you wake up feeling drained, even after clocking eight or so hours of sleep. You might also be easily woken up by sounds, lights, and other mild disturbances throughout the night.

To reach a deeper level of sleep, it's crucial to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day — no exceptions! It also helps to avoid naps, treating nightly sleep time as a sacred part of your routine.

Changing your sleep language may be possible

Knowing that you're not a Gifted Sleeper (or, even worse, realizing you have two or more overlapping languages to blame for keeping you up at night) may make you wonder if you can change your sleep language. Dr. Shelby Harris revealed to Bustle that sleeping styles can change over time, so if you're not happy with yours, the good news is you might not be stuck with it forever.


A key part of shedding a language that isn't serving you is treating any underlying factors that may be contributing to your poor slumber. At the root of many chronic sleep issues are diagnosable sleep disorders, such as insomnia and sleep apnea. Physical and mental health issues can also be a factor. For example, Too Hot to Handle Sleepers may experience night sweats due to menopause or thyroid issues (per Mayo Clinic), while Words of Worry Sleepers could be dealing with an anxiety disorder (per American Psychiatric Association). Talk to a doctor or therapist about your sleep language — they might be able to offer treatment options to help you catch more Zs.

Finally, just like the original love languages, sleep languages are meant to be shared. Fill your sleeping partner or roommate in on your sleep needs, and vice versa, so you can help each other get a better night's rest.