It is estimated that over 50 million Americans battle with some type of sleep disorder.
Insomnia – difficultly finding sleep – is the poster boy for sleeping disorders. However, there are many other types of sleeping conditions that are just as frustrating. Among them, is having trouble staying asleep.
For some people, falling asleep is not an issue.
However, they are unable to enjoy its quality since they’ll randomly wake up at wee hours of the night, thus never quite reaching the rapid eye movement (REM) stage of sleep where dreams occur.
During REM, your brain refreshes itself. Therefore, not reaching this stage means you will not wake up feeling invigorated.
This article will look at seven things that could be the reason why you are having trouble staying asleep.
1. Alcohol Before Bedtime
One would be forgiven for presuming that alcohol is good for sleep. This is because anytime you overindulge in it, you wake up the next day with no recollection of how you went to sleep in the first place.
However, there’s a fine line between passing out and falling asleep.
While the initial effect of alcohol is relaxation – thus you will probably fall asleep faster after imbibing – one of its aftereffects is that it interferes with your sleep cycle.
It especially interrupts your REM sleep, thus resulting in an unrefreshing rest.
Besides, alcohol before bedtime means that you will likely need to wake up to use the bathroom.
2. It Could Be Your Age
One of the most prevalent sleep disorder myths is that your body needs less sleep as you age. It is just that; a myth! Your body still needs 7 to 9 hours of shuteye in order for you to operate optimally.
What might change as you age, however, is your circadian rhythm. This refers to the sleep cycle.
As people get older, this rhythm can shift, causing them to get sleepier earlier. If you notice this happening to you, it is better to give in to your body’s demands than fight it.
Trying to maintain your regular routine might be contributing to your sleep problem since you are now going against your body’s biological clock.
3. Your Room Temperature
Sleep experts recommend that you keep your bedroom temperatures between 65 and 72 degrees during the night.
Nonetheless, in an attempt to lower energy costs, a lot of people drop the thermostat during winter and switch off the AC during summer.
This results in either extreme cold or extreme heat in the bedroom. Both extremes make it extremely difficult to enjoy quality sleep.
Thus, if you are looking to cut on energy bills, ensure that you wear thick clothing to bed during winter, and have a portable fan next to you during summer nights.
4. Stress and Worry Will Lead to Trouble Staying Asleep
One of the most common non-medical reasons for short-term insomnia is going to bed with a mind full of stress or worries.
During the day, work and other activities can distract you; however, once you settle in bed, it is when your mind begins roaming.
An overly stimulated mind and sound sleep do not go hand in hand. However, it even becomes worse if your thoughts are negative. You will not only find it hard to fall asleep but also have difficulty maintaining that state once you get it.
To help you deal with stress before sleep, consider doing the following:
Have a Nighttime Routine
Establishing a nighttime routine where you write down all your worries, their solutions, as well as things that you are grateful for, essentially emptying your mind.
Distract Your Mind
If your mind starts wandering, get out of bed without turning on the lights, and sit in another dark part of the room. This helps break the worry cycle to help you calm down.
This is one of the most effective ways of conquering worries and stress. When you learn how to meditate properly, you will be able to calm your mind so that it rests when you need it to.
Stressing and worrying will keep you up at night if you do not seek solutions for your problems.
Nonetheless, some issues do not have solutions, and you can only learn how to cope or live with them. Be kinder to yourself and focus that energy on the positives.
5. Taking Caffeine Late
We all know that taking tea or coffee before bed is a bad idea. However, did you know that taking caffeinated beverages late in the afternoon is equally as bad?
This is because the half-life of caffeine is between three and five hours.
That means that the effects of a caffeine drink can last up to 10 hours. This is why a late afternoon cup of Joe is likely to disrupt your sleep later during the night.
Even though we have different tolerance levels for caffeine, the average person is advised to stay away from caffeine sources after lunchtime.
6. Bedtime Snacks
The type of snack you are choosing to indulge in before hitting the sheets might be causing you problems.
Snacks full of fats and protein send your digestive and metabolic system into overdrive, making it difficult to stay asleep as well as potentially giving you heartburn.
If you are afraid of midnight hunger pangs, then consider switching to smaller snacks consisting of complex carbs and light protein. For example, a small bowl of whole-grain cereal and milk is an excellent bedtime snack.
7. Too Much Light
Whether it is emanating from your partner’s lamp, the TV, or even outside, being exposed to light as you sleep will definitely affect its quality. Your brain associates light with activity. Once the sun is up, you should also be up.
This is why it is difficult to stay asleep if there’s a source of light near you. You should, therefore, consider embarking on a strategy that will ensure your room is as dark as can be when you go to bed. A sleep cycle calculator can be a great way to fall asleep faster.
Taking a Trip to La-la Land
A third of our lives is spent in between the sheets. Sleep is essential as it is the only chance your mind and body have to revitalize themselves. If you have trouble staying asleep, therefore, your focus and abilities are going to take a hit.
Before consulting a sleep expert, make sure that you are not participating in activities that might be jeopardizing your sleep.
If everything checks out and you are still having trouble staying asleep, consult a physician to get evaluated for any underlying conditions.
Don’t forget to keep reading our blog for more insights on health and lifestyle.