Sleep is an integral part of our lives. It contributes to nearly every aspect of our physical and mental health, and can have a drastic impact on our overall quality of life. Many of us struggle to get enough sleep, perhaps because we struggle to fall asleep, or because we find ourselves tossing and turning through the night. If you are having trouble staying asleep, you may be wondering why. We’ll explore some potential causes in the guide below.
Potential Causes of Trouble Staying Asleep
If you can’t stay asleep at night, there could be a number of reasons why. Some of the most common issues that contribute to poor sleep quality include:
Sleep environment – ideal sleep conditions include a very dark, quiet, relatively cool room. If you are sleeping in an environment that is too bright, too loud or too warm, it may disrupt your sleep cycles. Something as simple as purchasing a darker window shade or turning down the heat a few notches can drastically improve sleep quality in some cases.
Sleep hygiene – good sleep hygiene includes setting a regular sleep schedule, avoiding caffeine and alcohol in the afternoons and evenings, avoiding light in the evening, and many other factors. If you find that you’re having trouble staying asleep, your sleep hygiene and habits may be to blame. Try eliminating common causes, like afternoon caffeine, alcoholic drinks, and artificial light before bed, and you may be surprised at how much better you sleep.
Medical conditions – an actual medical condition might be to blame. You may have sleep apnea, a condition that causes frequent pauses in breath that can disrupt sleep. You might have restless leg syndrome that causes jitteriness, an enlarged prostate that causes frequent bathroom trips, GERD causing chronic heartburn or cough, or any number of other health concerns that affect sleep. If you believe you may have one of these conditions, speak with your doctor immediately.
Stress & mood – our minds have a powerful effect on our bodies and sleep quality. When we go to bed stressed out or in a bad mood, that tension often diminishes our sleep quality. Avoiding stress and anxiety is certainly easier said than done, but if you find that you’re frequently tossing and turning at night, you may wish to examine your stress levels and try to make some changes.
How to Stay Asleep Throughout the Night
There are a number of things you can do to help improve sleep quality. Some examples include:
Set a regular schedule – our bodies thrive with a regular routine, particularly when it comes to sleep. Try to go to bed around the same time each day, and wake up at the same time (yes, even on weekends).
Address common causes of trouble sleeping – take another look at the list of common issues above, and think about which ones could be relevant to you. You may find success by cutting back on caffeine or alcohol, improving your sleep environment, or seeking medical advice for a potential health issue.
Be patient – when you do wake up during the night, do your best to not get frustrated. Avoid looking at the clock, and do not use your smartphone. Try some simple breathing techniques or light meditation to try to lull yourself back to sleep. If you find that you can’t fall back asleep after 30 minutes or so, you might try getting up for a bit to read a book or listen to some music.
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