Can’t Sleep At Night? 6 Fixes to Keep Your Sleep Schedule Intact
Are you getting enough sleep at night? Or do you often wake up tired, and feel drowsy during the day? These are signs that you are not having a proper sleep. And it could be due to a number of reasons like stress, lifestyle changes, work schedule, or alcohol consumption.
We take a look at the multiple reasons behind why you can’t sleep at night, and simultaneously provide the solution to your problems:
Why I Can’t Sleep at Night?
Irregular Sleep Schedule
Sleeping by 10 pm on Tuesday and at midnight on a Saturday can throw off your biological clock. As a result, it becomes harder for you to fall and stay asleep at night. And it can also make you groggy when you wake up.
Experts say that going to bed and getting up at the same time every day can help you maintain a regular sleep rhythm, and ensure that you get the much needed sleep for your body. It may not be possible to go to bed at the same time everyday, but try that you do not vary the time by more than 30-45 minutes, even on the weekend.
Second reason could be afternoon naps. They make it difficult to sleep at night. So, avoid it when possible. And if you must, limit your naps to 30 minutes, that too before 3 pm.
Thirdly, if there are days you try scrimping on sleep because there is not enough time to complete your work during the day, you are making a big mistake. An on-going battle like this with your systemic body clock can lead to long term sleep problems.
Before sacrificing your sleep for a task that needs completion, remember that resting properly is as important as the task itself. How? Well, a proper rest guarantees a clear mind, better focus and increases your productivity for the task in the morning.
Work or Life Related Stress
Severe stress, anxiety, worries over work, finances, health or family could also be the cause of your sleep problems. If you have a lot of things on your mind before going to bed, you are unlikely to get a relaxing sleep.
Here’s what to do when you can’t sleep:
Write down any worries, even your to-do list, before you go to bed. This helps clear the mind
Start a relaxing pre-bed ritual: taking a shower, stretching or reading a physical book, and stick to it even on days when you are not tense. It helps your brain wind down
Avoid any big discussions, or arguments in the family or with your spouse at night. Postpone any catching up on work until the morning
Avoid stimulating activities like checking messages on social media while you are going to sleep
Practice some deep breathing exercises, meditation or some gentle yoga to relax your body before going to bed. Meditation helps ease your mind, and ensures you sleep better
Make a list of things you are grateful for. It will not only keep your worries at bay, and researches also indicate that grateful people often sleep better and easier
Lastly, if you are in bed and can’t sleep, don’t just lie there worrying. Get up and do something relaxing, like any of the exercises mentioned above. Or listen to some soothing music, and you will find sleep come to you
Proximity to Electronic Screens
Another reason for your can’t sleep anxiety is probably because you use your mobile phone, computer, tablet or TV during bedtime.
Electronic screens are said to emit a blue light, which our brain identifies as daylight. As a result, it disrupts your body’s production of melatonin, a chemical that helps you sleep. It also disrupts our circadian rhythms. The result? You are unable to sleep. Also, not having enough of melatonin can be the reason behind developing insomnia.
Thus it is advisable to shut off all your digital devices at least an hour before you go to bed. Instead, indulge in some relaxing activities like reading a book or listening to music. Also for the same reason, it is advisable not to keep your phone near your bed while you sleep.
Discomfort in Your Sleep Environment
Where, and how you sleep plays an important role in the quality of your sleep. A cluttered bedroom, or one full of noise and brightlight, an uncomfortable mattress or a snoring partner could be the reason behind not getting a proper sleep. Here’s what you can do:
Keep your bedroom neat and tidy. Avoid clutter, or pieces of laundry scattered around. Ensure that your bedroom is an apt place for you to turn off, and relax
Choose a position of sleep that makes you sleep comfortably
Is your mattress or pillow troubling you? Replace. Find the kind that very well compliments your sleep
Use a sound machine or earplugs to mask any outside noise in your bedroom. Use eye masks or blackout curtains to keep the room dark and block out any light. The darker your room, the easier it is for your brain to enter into sleep-mode
Do you have a pet sleeping with you on the bed? They could be the cause of your blurry-eyed mornings. Pets can wake you through the night, even though you don’t remember. Keep them out
If your partner takes up a lot of the bed, use a bigger mattress. Ensuring that you have room to move will make you sleep better
Caffeine and Alcohol Intakes Late Afternoon
Are you a coffee lover? Or prone to take caffeine with other drinks? This can cause a major disruption to your sleep,
While caffeine has many health perks, studies show that it disrupts your brain’s ability to track how long you have been awake, and keeps you more alert than you should be.
Stop the intake of coffee at least 5 hours before you go to bed - sooner if you are particularly sensitive. You may think that being a regular coffee drinker builds your tolerance towards it. But it is said to have a bad effect on the sleep of even the most experienced caffeine addict.
Secondly, while a drink in the evening may be fine for most adults, and even help you fall asleep at night, it can also prevent you from getting the deep, relaxing sleep that you are in need of. Additionally, alcohol is a diuretic that leads to middle-of-the-night trips to the bathroom.
The solution? Stick to one drink everyday if you are a woman, can do two for men, and you are sure to get a sound sleep. Make sure that your last sip of alcohol happens at least 2 hours before your bedtime.
Lastly, having a partner who snores can be a major reason behind you not sleeping at night. Being used to it doesn’t mean it doesn’t affect you. Use earplugs or sound machine to block the grunts and snores, and try getting your partner to change sleeping position or elevating their pillow.
Even for the person who snores, it is a sign of a sleeping disorder. You could learn how to stop snoring via natural or therapeutic ways. But if loud snoring is a constant problem, for you, or your partner, consider taking the sleep assessment test. Snoring is often related to sleep apnea, a major sleeping disorder, indicating that neither you, nor your partner are sleeping well. It is therefore advisable to get out of this “not-so-seemingly-harmful-habit” as early as possible.
So if you, or a loved one, are often complaining about not sleeping well at night, ensure that you bring the above changes in your lifestyle. Additionally, you can take a simple sleep quiz to know if you are getting quality sleep. Or take the Home Sleep Test to know if you have a sleep disorder.