Are you tossing and turning at night? Are you waking up at hours you would rather be asleep? You are not alone! Americans are spending over 2 billion on sleep medications a year, hoping to get the desired rest that they need at night. However, you may not need to swallow a pill to fall asleep. Instead, one of the following ten reasons may be the reason that you are not getting enough sleep at night.
1. Your Room Temperature is Too Hot or Too Cold
You may not know it, but your room temperature may be waking you up at night. Every individual is most comfortable at a different temperature, and setting it lower or higher for someone else may affect your ability to pull off a good night’s sleep. It may even affect your ability to fall into a REM state, which is very important to feel refreshed in the morning.
When you go to sleep, your body starts to cool itself to a set temperature. If your room temperature is too cold or too hot then your body is constantly trying to work to bring itself back to the temperature that it needs to be at, and this can cause many disturbances during sleep. Find a temperature that works for you, and you may find you start to sleep the whole night through.
2. You Take Too Many Naps
If you take a nap or two during the day, then you may find that your body does not want, or need, very much sleep at night. If you have a nap between two and three in the afternoon, then you only have five or six hours to go before bedtime; whereas, if you avoid sleeping during the day, your body will have been up for fifteen to sixteen hours and be ready to fall asleep for the night. While occasional naps can be great for catching up on sleep, if you are not sleeping well at night, you may want to cut out the naps altogether to allow your body to develop a routine of getting its sleep at night.
3. You Do Not Have a Good Pre-Sleep Routine
If you get home, eat supper, watch TV, and then try to go to sleep, then you run the risk of not having a good night’s sleep. This is because you are not giving your brain a chance to slow down and rest.
Even though you may think that watching your favorite TV show will help relax you, TV can actually stimulate your mind and cause you to ponder what you saw well into the night. An active brain can wake you up continuously throughout the night.
Develop a relaxing pre-bedtime routine by taking a bath, reading a book, writing down your goals for the next day, and give your brain a chance to get rid of the million thoughts that plague so that you can relax for a good night’s sleep.
4. You Live in Your Bedroom
It is often said that a bedroom should be for sleep and sex, and nothing else. However, many of us watch TV, eat snacks, make phone calls, and work in our bedrooms.
If you are not getting enough sleep at night, and you are guilty of using your bedroom for various activities, then you may want to revert to the sleep and sex rule. This will help you associate your bedroom with sleep, and your brain will start to send your body a message that sleep is on the way.
5. You Have Too Much Light in Your Bedroom
Light is a natural cue that it is time to wake up. If you have too many light sources in your bedroom, then you may be continuously sending your body messages that it is time to wake up!
While covering up windows with heavy curtains is important, you also have to remove all light sources from your bedroom that could cause you to wake up. This includes bright alarm clocks, TV lights, and even hallway nightlights that shine under the door. All light sources should be removed for the optimal chance at sleep.
6. You Enjoy Bedtime Snacks
When you go to bed, your digestive system should not be hard at work. Furthermore, if you are eating fatty and spicy foods before bed, then you can experience indigestion and heartburn. Lying down can make heartburn worse, and indigestion can wake you up at night. It is best to stop eating an hour or two before you plan to go to bed.
7. You Drink Alcohol To Help You Fall Asleep
Drinking to fall asleep is one of those really bad habits to get into. Alcohol can help you to relax and fall asleep, but once you are asleep, it can disrupt your natural sleep pattern including REM. Your body can also go into alcohol withdrawal during the night, once all the alcohol has been broken down, causing body temperature to fluctuate and restlessness to begin. If that wasn’t enough, toxins produced by the breakdown of alcohol may also be disrupting your sleep. Avoiding alcohol as a sleep aid will help you get a better night’s sleep.
8. You Drink Pop Before Bed
Caffeine is popular in the morning for a good reason. It blocks the effect of adenosine, a chemical that promotes sleep, and helps to keep you awake. This result is also true if you drink caffeine before bed. Cut out all caffeine a few hours before you go to bed.
9. You Drink Too Much or Too Little Water Before Bed
While water may not be associated with sleep, this one little trick can be enough to allow you to get enough sleep at night. If you find that you wake up thirsty in the middle of the night, then you may not be drinking enough water before bed. On the other hand, if you find yourself waking up to go the bathroom, then you may be drinking too much water. Finding your perfect balance is crucial to a good night’s sleep.
10. Your Natural Rhythm is Different
Some people have delayed sleep phase disorder. This is when your natural rhythm of sleeping and being awake is shifted a few hours later than most other people. This means that instead of being tired at 10pm, you get tired around 12pm. It also means that waking up at 5am is very hard for you to do, because your body wants to sleep until 7am.
When you are trying to create a sleep pattern that goes against your natural rhythm, by going to bed too early and waking up too early, you may end up spending many restless nights lying awake and trying to fall asleep. This also causes stress and anxiety, which will not give your brain a chance to relax and unwind. The best thing you can do for this disorder is to shift your schedule in the day to match your natural rhythm.
Try out the above 10 tips before you start popping sleep medication. Some of them may seem simple enough, but you may find that you start getting enough sleep soon if you implement them today.