Have you ever just stayed in bed staring at the ceiling, tossing and turning, trying to sleep but simply not being able to? You’re tired, your eyes are heavy, and yet you lie there counting sheep.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest that lack of sleep is a public health epidemic. Lack of sleep is not only a serious problem, but it has some serious consequences as well.
Lack of sleep has been linked to many illnesses and well as injuries. With this in mind it’s important we begin to recognize what’s causing us to stay awake and take steps to stop these sleepless nights.
To get a good amount of sleep it’s important to recognize what’s keeping us awake. If you never stopped and took the time to think about it, let me suggest a few common reasons why people stay awake. By knowing what’s keeping you awake you can make changes to get back to sleep and keep yourself healthy.
4 reasons why you can’t sleep
1. You’re hungry
If your stomach has different plans than your mind you’ll have difficulty falling asleep. You may think you can overpower that rumble in your tummy, but your stomach will win the battle.
Going to bed hungry can seriously disrupt your sleep. Eating balanced meals throughout your day can prevent hunger pains from disrupting your sleep. Ensure you’re enjoying protein in your last meal to hold you over until the morning.
2. Your mind is racing
If only our brains had an on and off switch we could flick before bed. It seems whatever issues you ignored all day come rushing right at the moment you need some shut-eye. Over-thinking can keep you wide awake.
In a survey conducted to understand why people have trouble sleeping, 23.2 percent of people indicated thinking too much as a main reason, according to the CDC.
If thinking too much is keeping you awake there are a few things to try. Before going to bed, try to sit down with your thoughts and jot them all down in a notebook. Even if you don’t come up with a solution, you’re still addressing them.
Another trick is to get up and travel to another room. This act can stop any pressing thoughts running through your mind. It’s important not to turn on any lights though.
But if your thoughts are keeping you awake on a nightly basis, it might be time to seek out help from someone else like a therapist.
3. You have a restless sleeping partner
Snoring, moving around, and hogging the covers. These are all issues that can arise when sharing a bed with someone. But unfortunately your bed mates’ sleeping habits could be affecting you.
If your partner has a snoring problem it may be worthwhile to ask them to get it checked out. Snoring could be a normal part of aging or it could be a symptom of sleep apnea – a serious sleep disorder, which can result in a slew of health problems. If diagnosed your partner may require a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine to help them breathe and minimize the snoring.
If your partner is constantly moving or heating up the bed finding a mattress to combat these habits can greatly help.
But the first step to solving this problem is having an open conversation with your partner. They can’t fix these habits if they are not aware of them!
4. Your bedroom isn’t promoting sleep
There is a reason it’s called a bedroom. The role of a bedroom is to promote sleep, but your bedroom could actually be sabotaging your ability to sleep. Lights, temperature even messiness in a bedroom can keep you awake at night.
Maybe you use an alarm clock to wake you up. The problem with these displays is that they continuously glow. Even if your eyes are shut, the glow from devices is enough to enter the retina. This light sends signals to your brain and messes up your sleep.
Additionally a messy room leads to poor sleep. Maybe you have some papers stacked up, or have a pile of laundry on the floor; this is enough to keep you from sleeping well at night. Clutter leads to stress and stress reduces sleep quality. So as tedious as it may sound, when it comes to your bedroom try to be tidy.
Lastly, sleeping in a cool room is better than sleeping in a hot one. Nothing is worse than tossing around because you’re lying there sweating. Our bodies are at their coolest when we are in a deep sleep, but if the room is too hot our bodies get confused and think it’s time to wake up. Keep your room at a cooler temperature to fix this problem.
Sleep is highly important for all major bodily functions. Make sure you’re getting the right amount. If you’re tired of being awake night after night it’s time to really pinpoint the underlying cause. The four tips listed above are just a starting point to give you better sleep.
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