A good night’s sleep is one of our most precious resources and it’s really obvious when the well runs dry. Insomnia can impact every aspect of your life, making your daytime experiences feel more like a nightmare as you drag your sleepy self through life.
There are many potential causes for sleep problems, but sometimes the culprits are hiding in plain sight. They could be lurking in that snack you ate, in the bright lights of your alarm clock, or with your smartphone.
Here are seven sneaky things that may be sabotaging your sleep and what you can do to make sure you get some better shuteye.
That Dagwood-sized sandwich or hot salsa snack might have sounded like a good idea at the time, but eating large amounts or spicy foods right before bed can take a toll on your sleep. The last thing you want is the creeping feeling of heartburn when you’re trying to get some ZZZs. Take it easy on the snacks as bedtime gets closer.
Everyone is different when it comes to finding the most comfortable night-time sleeping temperature. You may sleep best when the room is cool and you can tuck under a blanket, or you may prefer a warmer room with a light sheet to keep you cozy. Find the temperature that works for you and embrace it.
If your spouse sleeps best at a much different temperature than you, then see what you can do to compromise. It may be time to break out that throw blanket for the one who likes it warmer.
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Light pollution isn’t just a problem for the great outdoors. Night lights, street lamps, and digital gadgets can throw too much light around your bedroom and disrupt your sleep patterns. So turn off the TV, unplug the nightlight, turn down the LEDs on your alarm clock, get some blackout curtains, and enjoy a deeper slumber.
Caffeine isn’t the only problematic thing you can drink that could interrupt your sleep. While most of us are pretty good about saying no to an espresso or a strong cup of tea in the evening, alcohol can also cause issues. It may make you feel drowsy initially, but can come back to haunt you later in the night, causing you to wake up. Practice moderation, especially as you close in on your time to go to bed.
5. Underlying medical issues
The Mayo Clinic links a variety of medical conditions to insomnia, including heart disease, overactive thyroid, diabetes and asthma. Certain prescription and over-the-counter medications can also be culprits, including some pain and blood-pressure medicines. The clinic recommends consulting a doctor if chronic insomnia is impacting your daily life. You may have an underlying condition or sleep disorder that needs to be addressed.
You love to grab a nap during the afternoon, but you’ve noticed you’re not sleeping well at night. The two may be connected. If you suspect your napping habits are causing problems with your sleep, then try cutting out naps or keeping them short. Set an alarm so you don’t over-nap. Also beware of frequent naps or napping too close to your regular bedtime.
7. Staring at a screen
The screens of our digital gadgets give off a type of blue light that can disrupt our sleep patterns. The problem is so bad, manufacturers have come up with ways to make devices easier on us at night. Apple’s Night Shift feature is a great example of this. To prevent blue light from bugging you, use one of those blue light-reducing features, or, better yet, put away your phone or tablet an hour before you plan on going to bed.
Step away from that smartphone
Your phone might be your constant companion, but it could also be keeping you up at night.