Not sleeping well? Wonder why?
A good night’s sleep is an essential part of a healthy life. However, sleep disturbance affects more people than you can imagine. If you’ve ever wondered, “Why am I not sleeping well?” read ahead!
In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)about 70 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep problems.
This may present in different ways, including trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, causing you to wake up several times throughout the night.
Unfortunately, a lack of sleep may promote poor health and increase your risk of various health conditions. This is why it’s always essential to understand the cause of lack of sleep to address it accordingly.
If you’re struggling to fall asleep or stay asleep, different factors could contribute.
This article takes you through the various causes of poor sleep and what you can do to sleep better, thus promoting good health.
Why am I not sleeping well?
Not getting enough sleep on a regular basis can wreak havoc on your health and your daily life. When you’re struggling to get the right amount of shut-eye, it can also be hard to know what exactly is causing the problem and how to fix it. By considering the following 10 reasons why you might be struggling to sleep, you’ll have more information about the nature of your difficulties, which will make it easier to decide how best to address them.
Here are some common causes to look out for:
1. Too much caffeine
There is no doubt that caffeine can be a great stimulant, but it can also have negative impacts on sleep. Caffeine can interfere with the natural production of melatonin, which is responsible for regulating circadian rhythms and helping to induce sleep. Caffeine also stimulates the nervous system, making it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep.
If you are trying to regulate your caffeine intake, here are some tips on how to do it to ensure quality and overall health.
- Make sure to drink enough water throughout the day to help flush out any caffeine from your system. Drinking water can also prevent dehydration since caffeine is highly dehydrating. Dehydration can further make it difficult for you to fall asleep.
- Avoid consuming caffeine close to bedtime. Consuming caffeine within two hours of bedtime can send your body into overdrive and disrupt your sleep cycle. Caffeine has a half-life of about 5-6 hours. That means it takes 5-6 hours for half the amount of caffeine you take to be processed and eliminated from the body. Thus, by drinking coffee late in the evening, high levels of caffeine will still be in your system during your sleep hours, consequently interfering with sleep.
- Try not to consume caffeine on an empty stomach. Eating food before drinking coffee or tea can help to stabilize blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of insomnia.
- Avoid caffeine altogether. Instead, opt for healthier alternatives like lavender tea or chamomile tea. Chamomile, especially, is known for its tranquilizing properties and can be helpful in inducing relaxation and falling asleep.
2. Issues with room temperature
Room temperature is an environmental factor that can greatly contribute to the comfort and quality of your sleep.
According to a 2012 studythe temperature in the room you’re sleeping in plays an important role in achieving undisturbed sleep throughout the night.
For instance, a very hot room can cause more frequent awakenings throughout the night, thus interfering with the deep restorative sleep. One study looking at different survey respondents found that sleeping in the hot summer months resulted in poor sleep. This is due to the inability of the body to cool itself and the interference of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.
When asleep, your brain moves through different phases, one of which is REM. This starts within the first 90 minutes of falling asleep and cycles every 90 minutes. It’s a state of deep sleep with an increase in brain activity. It’s often characterized by rapid eye movements, changes in body temperature, and fast and irregular breathing, among others. This is also the phase where you are likely to experience dreams.
The REM phase of sleep is beneficial to memory, mood, and learning, and a lack of it may result in physical and mental issues. A lack of REM sleep may also reduce coping skills, increase the risk of experiencing migraines, and increase obesity.
A cool but not cold sleeping environment of about 65 ° F (18.3 ° C) is ideal to ensure your brain goes through all the essential phases of sleep with no disruption.
3. Too much stress
Stress is a term used to describe feelings of anxiety, tension, or fear. These feelings are usually caused by something that you perceive as a threat or challenge. When stress is chronic, it can damage your body in a number of ways.
One way that stress can affect your health is by causing you to lack sleep. Studies have shown that people who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to experience stress symptoms. This includes things like fatigue, irritability, and difficulty concentrating.
If you find that you’re struggling to get a good night’s sleep due to stress, there are a few things that you can do to help. First, try to relax before bedtime. This can be done by practicing meditation. Alternatively, you can read something calming before bed.
You can also try to cut down on how much you stress over trivial matters. Pay attention to your breathing and focus on your breath for a few minutes every day. This will help to reduce anxiety and stress levels.
4. Poor sleep habits
Sleep is the process of our body and brain rest and repairs. We need 7-8 hours of sleep per night to feel rested and function optimally during the day. Poor sleep habits can lead to fatigue, stress, and decreased productivity. Here are five things that can disrupt your sleep:
- Shift work – Constant changes in schedule (such as working nights or rotating between different time zones) can make it difficult to get the amount of sleep you need each night.
- Electronics before bed – Checking email, browsing the web, or using your phone in bed is a common way to disrupt your sleep.
- Stress – Emotional stress can keep you from getting a good night’s sleep
- Alcohol – drinking alcohol before bed can lead to restless sleep and poor quality rest.
- Smoking – Smoking cigarettes before bed can disrupt your natural sleep cycle, which can lead to poor sleep quality and increased levels of stress.
Other poor sleep habits may include irregular bedtime schedules, watching TV or eating from bed, an uncomfortable sleeping environment, or prolonged naps.
Some tips for getting more sleep:
- Try to avoid electronics before bed. This includes screens, computers, and phones. They can affect your sleep by disturbing your circadian rhythm.
- Avoid caffeine after 3 pm – It can keep you from falling asleep later in the night.
- Make sure your bedroom is dark and quiet. This will help you relax and fall asleep quickly.
5. Regular travels or inconsistent work schedule
Your circadian rhythm is the body’s internal clock that guides your sleep-wake cycle. Suppose you are ever traveling, working late, waking up early, or have a job schedule that keeps changing. In that case, it can interfere with your circadian rhythm, metabolism, and temperature regulation, making it difficult to sleep well at night.
6. It could be a sleep disorder
If your lack of sleep is chronic and you don’t seem to grasp what’s happening, you could be having a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea. This is a common condition that briefly stops one from breathing due to upper airway obstruction. As a result, blood oxygen levels drop, heart rate increases, and sleep is disrupted, since one has to wake up so they can breathe.
If you suspect sleep apnea as your cause of lack of sleep, see a doctor.
Other common sleep disorders include restless legs syndrome, insomnia, and narcolepsy.
7. Alcohol intake before bedtime
While alcohol intake may make you feel drowsy, it does interfere with your circadian rhythm, thus affecting your normal sleep pattern.
One study found that moderate alcohol intake reduced sleep quality by 24 percent, while excessive consumption reduced sleep quality by about 39.2 percent.
8. Uncomfortable mattress
One common cause of lack of sleep is an uncomfortable mattress. When a person sleeps on an uncomfortable mattress, their body sends signals to their nervous system that it needs more rest. This can lead to problems like insomnia and fatigue.
If you’re struggling to get enough sleep, one important step is to find a comfortable mattress that will support your body and help you get the rest you need.
If you think your mattress may be causing you issues, make arrangements to get a new one.
There are a few ways to determine if your mattress is uncomfortable. The first is to ask yourself if you are sleeping well on it. If you are not getting a good night’s sleep, then it is likely that the mattress is too uncomfortable. To find a mattress that suits you, try some different mattresses until you find one that works for you. A good way to do this is to go to a store and try out different types of mattresses before making a purchase.
9. Not enough vitamin D
A lack of vitamin D has been linked to a host of health problems, including sleep problems. Vitamin D is essential for the body to make its own serotonin and melatonin, two substances that help us fall asleep and stay asleep.
A study published in the journal Sleep found that people who did not have enough vitamin D were more likely to have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep than those who had adequate levels of the vitamin. In fact, the study found that people with insufficient levels of vitamin D were twice as likely to have trouble sleeping as those who had normal levels of the vitamin.
The good news is that addressing a vitamin D deficiency can help improve your sleep quality. In fact, taking supplemental vitamin D has been shown to improve both short- and long-term sleep quality in adults with insomnia. Additionally, increasing your intake of foods that are high in vitamin D may also help you get better sleep.
Effects of sleep deprivation:
If most of your nights involve tossing in bed with no quality sleep, you may experience some of these short and long-term effects.
- Memory issues
- Mood changes
- Increased risk of diabetes
- Low sex drive
- Thinking and concentration difficulties
- High blood pressure
- Weight gain
- Increased risk of heart disease
- Slowed thinking
- Reduced attention span
- Lack of energy
- Poor decision making
Tips to help you sleep better at night:
While some people may easily experience good quality sleep, some may require extra effort. Here are the things you can do to help you sleep better.
- Reduce blue light exposure in the evening
- Avoid coffee later in the day
- Try to sleep and wake at the same time consistently
- Avoid irregular or long naps during the day
- Avoid alcohol in the evenings
- Optimize your bedroom environment, including temperature
- Rule out a medical condition
Inability to sleep well at night is a common condition that could occur for different reasons, including high-stress levels, poor room temperature, poor sleep habits, sleep disorder, or alcohol consumption before bedtime. Likewise, avoiding these triggers can tremendously improve your sleep quality.
It’s always essential to address your cause of poor sleep as a lack of good quality sleep may lower your immunity and increase the risk of developing various health conditions.
And if your problem is medically related, it’s important to seek medical attention for proper management.
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