Lack of good sleep can not only cause your body to break down; it can also affect your emotional and mental state. However, we don’t just need a full seven to eight hours of sleep every night; we need sleep that is restful, uninterrupted, and actually leads to a well-rested feeling when we wake up.
If you often find yourself tossing and turning through the night, unable to fall asleep within a reasonable amount of time, waking up still feeling tired, or all of the above, here are some things that may be causing your lack of good sleep:
1. An uncomfortable bed
Your bed plays a significant role in how restful your sleep is and how quickly you fall asleep. That said, having an uncomfortable bed can easily lead to sleep problems. Common bed characteristics that lead to discomfort are an uneven surface, the mattress being too soft or too hard, and the coils making squeaking noises, among many others. If you notice that your bed is not comfortable enough to get quality rest every night, it may be high time to invest in a new one.
2. Bad temperature
According to the National Sleep Foundation, the best temperature for sleeping is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit, which is slightly colder than normal. Our bodies naturally drop in temperature when we are asleep, hence, having the room temperature match your body can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep through the night.
However, not everyone is comfortable within this range of temperature. If you still get too hot when you’re sleeping, placing a bed fan under your blanket can help your body temperature drop to the ideal range. On the other hand, you can pile on more blankets or turn the temperature higher if you are prone to getting cold at night.
Noise is one of the most common reasons for lack of sleep, which is why minimizing the noise that travels into your bedroom is essential for a good night’s rest. You can do this through several soundproofing techniques, such as placing heavy furniture against the wall, hanging up thick tapestries, and sealing the gaps around your doors and windows to decrease the noise that comes in from the outside.
If you live in a noisy neighborhood and the abovementioned techniques don’t work, try using a white noise machine to drown out the noise from outside. A white noise machine plays ambient noise, such as rainfall or forest sounds, that can help mask loud sounds that stimulate your brain.
A great alternative to using a white noise machine is listening to a sleep podcast. These types of podcasts typically have hosts talking in soothing voices to help you fall asleep, often accompanied by relaxing background music.
4. Poor indoor air quality
If your allergies are keeping you up at night, you likely have a dust problem in your bedroom. The best way to resolve this problem is to clean your room from top to bottom, getting rid of all the dust and thereby increasing the quality of the air. At the same time, remove sources of strong scents that may also be contributing to your allergies (e.g. scented candles, perfumes, incense, etc.).
Using your smartphone or watching TV when it’s close to your bedtime can hinder you from getting good sleep. This is because our brains receive a lot of stimuli from electronic devices, which makes it harder for us to fall asleep when we finally turn off the screens. That said, avoid using any electronics at least an hour before bedtime. Better yet, refrain from sleeping next to your phone or tablet so that you don’t get tempted to use them while in bed.
6. A snoring partner
When your bed mate sounds like an oil tanker every night, it can feel impossible to fall asleep. And even if you manage to fall into unconsciousness, their loud snoring may wake you up several times a night. Not only does this cause sleep problems foryou, but it can also put a strain on your relationship as well.
Start by letting your partner know of their loud snoring, and then ask them to sleep on their side instead of their back to improve their breathing. You can also have them try elevating their head to move their tongue and jaw forward. But if these steps don’t work, consult with a doctor to determine the cause of the problem.
Not getting enough good sleep can lead to a myriad of physical, emotional, and mental effects. To avoid letting your sleep problems affect your work, relationships, attitude, and life as a whole, determine the cause of your lack of sleep and use these strategies to eliminate them.