Sleep is indeed a wonderful process during which your body recharges its resources, your worries of the day disappear, and you relax and get some well-deserved rest. When you get a good night’s sleep, your morning will feel great, even when it’s gloomy and raining. But if you struggle to sleep through the night, you will simply feel incapable of doing anything and getting out of bed will be a pain. What’s worse is when you can’t get any sleep night in and night out, as this can lead to all sorts of health issues. Let’s see what may be compromising the quality of your sleep and how to fix it.
Seven causes of poor sleep and how to fix them
Overthinking: We’ve all been there: You are ready to dive into a good night’s sleep only to find yourself wide awake and actively engaged in an internal rant about what’s bothering you, or rehearsing a conversation with your colleague. Next time you find yourself in this frustrating situation, get out of the bed and go to another room. Don’t turn on the lights though. Surprisingly, your anxiety will resolve almost instantly. Once your head is clear, go back to bed.
Sleeping in: When it comes to sleep, it’s not only the number of hours that matters, but also when you get those hours of sleep. You may think that sleeping in should fix the problem if you stay up late at night, but in reality, sleeping past your regular wake-up time disrupts your biological clock—and your sleep schedule. If you go to bed later than usual, don’t sleep in more than an hour longer. Take a nap during the day, but keep it short (30 minutes). (A good night’s sleep is nature’s best medicine.)
Fluctuating hormones: Changing levels of estrogen and progesterone during perimenopause can wake you up at night, even before you start experiencing those notorious hot flashes. To prevent this, follow a consistent sleep schedule, exercise every day, don’t drink coffee in the afternoon, and avoid alcohol within three hours of your bedtime. If you suffer from hot flashes and night sweats, make sure your bedroom is cool and wear light cotton clothes. (Just one supplement to provide powerful support for healthy estrogen levels.)
Empty stomach: Going to bed on an empty stomach is not a good idea—your hunger won’t let you sleep through the night. This problem is particularly common among people who are trying to lose weight and don’t eat much in the evening. To keep your tummy (and your bathroom scale) happy, have a pre-bedtime snack that’s rich in protein. A slice of cheese or a hard-boiled egg will do. Protein keeps you full for longer, while small portion sizes won’t ruin your weight loss efforts.
Messy bedroom: Perhaps you like sorting your mail in bed or you’re using your nightstand as a mini work station. Whatever the case is, all those invoices, bills, and gadgets around you don’t really let you get into sleep mode. Habituate yourself to tossing your stuff into a basket and putting it away before bed. The same applies to your gadgets—turn them off and put them away. This simple ritual eliminates the sources of distraction so that your brain perceives your bedroom as the place for sleep and relaxation only.
Dust mites: Your mattress may be housing between 100,000 and 10 million dust mites, whose residue may trigger allergies ranging from mild to quite severe. To reduce your risk, vacuum your bed regularly, replace your mattress every 10 years, and air your bedroom out.
Your pet: According to a survey conducted by the Mayo Clinic, more than half of cat and dog owners report that their pet messes up their sleep every night. Don’t let your animal sleep in the same bed with you—train your dog to sleep on the sofa in the living room or in a crate next to your bed. Keep the cat out of the bedroom by closing the door and leaving some toys for it to play with at night. To prevent scratching, put double-sided tape on the bottom of your bedroom door.
As you can see, you can improve your sleep in a matter of a week by simply re-evaluating your bedtime routine and adjusting your lifestyle accordingly. It may be a challenge to get accustomed to new rules in the beginning, but it’s well worth it. Sweet dreams!
Related: Best sleep position for overall good health