There’s nothing more frustrating than feeling exhausted from the day and then struggling to fall or stay asleep. Despite being something that we do every day, many of us have trouble sleeping, which can ultimately have a knock-on effect in other areas of our lives. So if you’ve been struggling to get to sleep or have found yourself waking up repeatedly in the night, then here are a few possible reasons why.
1. Your mattress is too old
Mattresses have an average life of just 8 years, meaning that many of us are currently trying to sleep on a mattress that is far too old. An old mattress may appear fine on the surface, but usually, over the course of 8 years, it will have begun to sag and deteriorate inside, meaning that it no longer offers you the support you need. The good news is that there are now more mattress varieties on the market than ever, from adjustable beds to memory foam and dual sprung options, ensuring that you have the best chance of finding the comfort you need.
2. You’re working out too late
Gentle yoga, stretching or a walk before bed isn’t anything to worry about, but if you’re smashing out a high-intensity workout within three hours of going to bed, then your nervous system will still be stimulated while you are trying to get to sleep. Try to exercise in the morning as a way to wake you up, and leave the evening free for unwinding and relaxing.
3. Your room is too hot
It’s virtually impossible to get a good night’s sleep in a room that is too hot; you’ll be tossing and turning all night in a sweat. 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit is widely considered to be the best temperature at which to keep your bedroom if you’re looking for a good night’s sleep. If your room is too hot, you will need to get a fan or to crank up the AC.
4. You’re drinking too much alcohol
Many of us like to unwind with a glass of wine in the evening, but if one turns into too many, then this could be the cause of your poor night’s sleep. Alcohol may be relaxing, and you may fall asleep more easily, but it also interferes with your REM sleep, causing you to wake up feeling tired and unrefreshed – not to mention you’ll probably have a hangover the next day too.
5. You share a bed
Whether you’re sharing a bed with another human or a four-legged furry friend, the chances are that they will be disturbing your sleep throughout the night. Sharing a bed rarely works, whether they snore, wriggle, spread out or simply make the bed too hot, they’re disturbing your sleep, and the chances are that you’re disturbing theirs too. Most people aren’t keen on going down the separate bed route, and so instead, you may need to come up with some other solutions. Try earplugs for snoring, a larger bed if you’re battling for space, or sleep with a pillow between the two of you if your partner tends to make you too hot.
6. Your room is too light
Whether your partner likes to stay up and read, you have a TV in your bedroom, or your curtains let through a lot of early morning sunlight, the brightness of your room can dramatically impact your sleep. Our bodies are naturally hardwired to associate light with being awake and darkness with sleep, and sleeping in a bright bedroom will also inhibit the production of Melatonin (the sleep hormone) that helps you to fall asleep. Try installing blackout blinds if your bedroom curtains let through too much light, and banish screens — including your phone — from the bedroom.
7. There’s Something on Your Mind
Anxiety and stress are some of the most common non-medical reasons for short-term insomnia. With thoughts racing through your head, it can be virtually impossible to fall asleep, and when you do, your dreams are usually riddled with anxiety fueled nightmares. Of course, the best way to combat this is to try and solve the root of the problem by eliminating the source of your stress and dealing with your anxiety, but if that’s not possible, then try writing down your worries before bedtime, do mediation in bed, or if you really must get up, then keep the lights off and move to another part of the house to break the worry cycle.
These are just 7 of the most common reasons why you may be struggling to sleep — do any of them affect you?