Everyone has a restless night’s sleep occasionally, and most of the time, it is easy to determine what is stealing your shuteye. Travel, stress, and children are just a few of the things that may cause you to wake up in the wee hours of the morning. But there are other causes that may leave you scratching your head as to why your sleep is continually disrupted, night after night. If you are experiencing the sleepless blues, take a look at this list of possible culprits, as well as how to combat them so that you can rest easy again.
- It’s too hot. According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), it takes longer to drift off into dream land when it is warm. Even when you do fall asleep, your rest is likely to be interrupted if the temperature in the room is too hot. The NSF suggests that the optimal temperature for sleeping well is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit.
- You have to use the restroom. Waking up and needing to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night is normal, unless you are waking up so often that it disrupts your sleep. If this is the case, simply evaluating your diet may be the key. Foods that are natural diuretics, such as celery and cucumbers, should be avoided close to bedtime because they will push water through your system.
- You use electronics in the evening. If you jump into bed and check your social media, email, etc. on your phone or laptop, your sleep is likely to be adversely affected. When you expose yourself to the light from these devices in the evening, your brain stays awake. Make sure you put all of your electronics away at least an hour before going to bed so that your brain can wind down.
- You aren’t feeling well. If heartburn and indigestion wake you at night, or keep you from falling asleep, do your best in the evening to avoid foods that worsen your symptoms. Foods like oranges and grapefruit, while being nutritious, are also acidic and can cause you to wake up throughout the night.
- You’re too full to sleep. Eating heavy meals before bedtime that are also high in fat, e.g. pizza or a burger and fries, not only leads to gaining weight but also contributes to a disrupted sleep cycle. This happens because these heavy foods promote digestion, which in turn means you will most likely need to use the bathroom during the night.
- You are wide awake. Caffeine may be a great jump start to wake you up in the morning, but remember that it has the same stimulating effect when you drink it at night. Caffeine can remain in your system for hours, so if you are especially sensitive to it, avoiding it in the afternoon may help you rest better at night, as well.
These are just a few tips to consider if you are not sleeping well on a regular basis. You should also speak to your physician to help rule out other possible causes. Remember, before making any changes to your diet or fitness, always consult your physician.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to take the place of the doctor-patient relationship and any email is not appropriate for emergency care. To schedule an appointment, please call your doctor's primary office, listed on our Locations page. In case of emergency, we are available 24 hours a day.