“Sleep is for the weak!”, say people who usually have plenty of time on their hands to compensate for late-night partying, or for procrastinating on school assignments, and just sleep-in the morning after.
But, little did they know that you’re weaker when you’re not getting enough sleep. So if you’re not getting enough sleep, it should be one of your priorities to find out how to finally get a good shut-eye.
You have to get to the root of the problem in order to fix it, so we’ll guide you through some of the most common causes of trouble sleeping for many in contemporary life.
Here are some reasons why you’re not getting enough sleep (and how to fix it):
As technology progresses, more and more people are sucked into the need of having a smartphone for everything, and companies are experts in keeping your attention firmly on that little device you carry around. If you’re not careful about using it, your piece of tech will use you.
You’re probably guilty of being one of many who always have their phone in their hands for more than 50% of the day, even before you go to sleep. Unfortunately, doing so is one of the reasons why you’re not having enough sleep.
Studies show the light from your phone can actually trick your brain into thinking you’re waking up, instead of trying to wind down for the night. That “quick” glance at your social media, video channels or one more episode of your favorite series before bed is costing you quality in sleep, not just time.
If you want to get some proper shut-eye, set an alarm 15 minutes before your target bedtime and turn off your phone by then. Simple as that.
You’ve probably experienced it once or twice every night or so, where you wake up either sweating or shivering because of your room’s temperature. It’s either too cool or too warm and you can’t sleep as well as you need.
And it’s also not just because your room got too cool or too warm, but the problem might be you as well. That’s because as you get deep into your sleep, your body temperature also drops and will continue to drop until you reach Rapid Eye Movement Sleep or REM sleep. Your body usually sleeps well at around 65 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit, although it varies between men and women, with women usually needing a few more degrees of warmth at night than men, but the differences isn’t much.
Sleeping in a cooler room will make it easier for you to fall asleep at first, but if the temp gets too far below 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15.6 degrees Celsius), or conversely to high above 67 degrees Fahrenheit (19.4 degrees Celsius), even your deepest sleep will be interrupted because your own body craves a very specific temperature at night.
The best way for you to win the temperature battle is to get an AC with a thermostat which regulates the temperature in your room. You can set it to the temperature that you want, and it will maintain it for as long as it’s on. If you’re sleeping with someone that has a different comfortable room temperature than you, just tell them to wear a sweater or wear less.
And it’s not just coffee. As if not having coffee isn’t sad enough – tea, energy drinks, sodas, chocolate, and other drinks that make your mornings feel better and keeps you going has caffeine as well. Don’t worry though, we’re not telling you to stop taking any caffeine, but having too much of it will definitely screw up how you sleep.
According to the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, drinking or taking caffeine 6 hours before your bedtime can reduce your sleep time by an hour or more. You’re probably thinking —Great! I’ll just binge on coffee before that 6-hour window and I’ll be good to go!
Well, not exactly.
You see, the amount of caffeine your body can tolerate and how much it affects you depends on so many factors including your health, fitness, age, gender, and even your genes. This makes it impossible to find out the right amount of caffeine everyone can and should take to get the appropriate amount of sleep everyone needs.
So it’s recommended to cut down on coffee (or other drinks with caffeine) early in the afternoon to avoid sleep interruptions.
Disclaimer: we’re not trying to take away all the good things in your life, okay?
You may think otherwise because alcohol can sometimes knock you out cold and not remember a thing.
But the main reason alcohol is thought to put you to sleep is because people usually drink the most heavily at night, making it mostly a coincidence that you’re drinking alcohol at the same time your body naturally starts feeling the need for sleep.
Although it can help you feel drowsy, which helps if you’re really trying to get some sleep, once the effect wears off and you have more shots or glasses, it will be more difficult for you to get the deep sleep you need. Alcohol prevents you from getting into the REM stage, which is important for saving your short-term memory to long-term memory.
Another thing is, late night drinks will cause you to need to go to the restroom, which can also wake you up in the middle of your drunken sleep. Have you ever tried to get up and battle your way through your weak legs, dizziness, and headache just to get to the bathroom?
The solution is easy, don’t drink too much. You can do that, right?
In case you don’t already know, cigarettes are stimulants. Meaning, it wakes you up whenever you take it. It may make you feel more relaxed, but on the contrary, it’s not going to help you sleep.
Nicotine can be as bad or worse than caffeine if you take it just before bedtime. Although according to the American Sleep Association, it can cause even more serious effects in your body that can disrupt your sleep, including sleep apnea and insomnia.
Smoking can also cause you to be less likely to get into a deep sleep, which will make you wake up a few times at night. Nicotine can suppress REM sleep, which you already know is the most important part of sleeping at night.
Just like alcohol and caffeine, not smoking 6 hours before bed can help you fix this problem. Or better yet, don’t smoke at all.
6. Sleeping disorders
Did you know most people aren’t aware they have sleeping problems or disorders? They just think it’s stress, or maybe something minor that happens now and then. But it could be more serious than you actually think.
If you have a chronic problem of waking up at night, you might have a neurological sleeping disorder. And don’t just look it up on Google and self-diagnose, because that will only make you more stressed or anxious about what you might find online. Go to a real sleep specialist.
The most common sleeping condition is insomnia, a sleeping disorder where you have an extreme difficulty to sleep, even when you’ve tried everything you know to get some shut-eye.
The best way for you to fix this is to consult your doctor for a more accurate diagnosis you that you’ll get the right treatment.
They say stress is a real killer, and yes, it can be. There’s probably nothing worse than having an anxious mind when you’re trying to sleep. To make things worse, the depriving effect of stress on your sleep can cause you to be more stressed than you already are.
Luckily, there are a lot of ways that can help you alleviate, if not totally fix, sleep deprivation caused by stress. One of the most suggested tips is to read a book right before bedtime.
Some doctors also recommend writing down what you’ve done for the day. It will help you put out whatever you have in mind into paper, so you can successfully put your thoughts aside when you try to sleep.
You can also include the tasks you have for the following day, as stress from future stuff can also keep you up through the night.
Working out also helps, but try to do it in the morning. Working out too close to your bedtime can disrupt sleep and do more harm than good. On the other hand, working out far before bedtime can increase your feel-good hormones and eliminate stress.
So in conclusion, sleep is definitely not for the weak. There are probably other reasons why you can’t get enough sleep, and if you didn’t find it here, then you should go to the doctor to get checked out.
For now, we hope this article helped you find out more about how to finally get a good night’s sleep.