Struggling with a lack of sleep right now? You’re far from alone. According to Puffy’s Better Sleep Survey, 61% of Americans are sleeping worse due to the stress and anxiety brought about by this year.
The survey, results of which were published just last month, also found that 82% of people are sleeping later, and 70% feel their mood is being impacted by a poor rest. Experts have begun to fear that this ‘sleep crisis’ is going to place our immune systems and mental health at greater risk.
So what do we do with these troubling stats? Step one: don’t panic. Working out why exactly you might be experiencing a lack of sleep during lockdown can help you work backward and find a solution that’s going to be constructive and conducive to getting a good night’s sleep.
Here’s everything you need to know about why you might be experiencing a lack of sleep:
Reason #1 - Sleep Disorders
Sleep apnea is characterized by disruptive trouble with breathing that interrupts someone as they try to go to sleep. This sleep disorder often requires specialist intervention - sometimes the solution can be as straightforward as getting into the habit of sleeping on your side, and in more severe cases, it can involve requiring a CPAP machine, which works by blowing air into your airways and regulating them through the night.
Other sleep disorders, such as night terrors, insomnia, and sleep paralysis, can be equally disruptive to a good night’s sleep. Often, sleep disorders can arise from excessive amounts of stress, or be a signal of some other health condition. Be sure to consult a physician in these cases to keep on top of your sleep hygiene.
Reason #2 - Poor Sleep Set Up
Finding the best mattress for a good night’s sleep can really transform the quality and quantity of your rest. The best mattresses should be able to ensure that you spend a minimal amount of time tossing and turning in bed at night. 46% of Puffy’s survey respondents suggested they take more than 30 minutes to fall asleep, and 68% stated they woke up at least once during their sleep.
The best mattresses are going to be able to precipitate these problems, and account for them - think motion isolation so you aren’t continually interrupted by your partner through the night, and temperature control that puts you at ease and ready to go to bed the moment you tuck yourself in.
When it comes to ensuring that you’ve found the best mattress for your own sleep, you’ll also want to check on the warranty attached to the product. The best mattress companies have trial periods within which you can test out their products, ensuring they really are the best fit for your rest.
Other sleep accessories, such as weighted blankets, have also been shown to improve the quality of your rest, so be sure to do your research when you’re trying to optimize your sleep set up.
Reason #3 - Your Eating Habits
If you’re convinced you already have the best mattress for your rest, you might want to take into account the different lifestyle factors that might be playing into your lack of sleep. Poor diet is one of the leading reasons for this disruption.
The food you eat on a daily basis has a direct impact on your sleep cycle. Try to avoid eating overly rich or spicy foods right before going to sleep, and be sure to stop drinking caffeine after twelve in the afternoon.
When you’re looking for foods that are going to help you get a good night’s sleep, consider magnesium-rich snacks, such as nuts, bananas, and fatty fish such as salmon. These foods are nutrient-rich, non-processed, and rich with vitamins and minerals that encourage a healthy night’s sleep.
Reason #4 - Chronic Pain
If you struggle with a stiff neck or lower back pain, it’s going to be a lot harder to get a comfortable night’s sleep. Finding the best mattress you can to offset pressure and keep you resting well is going to make all the difference.
Another way you can do this is by ensuring you’re looking after your body and making sure not to strain it too much. If you have an exercise routine, be sure to get done with your workouts earlier in the day, since working out too close to the evening can lead to an adrenaline spike that disrupts your sleep cycle.
If your chronic pain persists despite you switching out your mattress and taking the proper precautions, it might be time to consult with a physician and see if another course of treatment might be viable.
Reason #5 - Work-Related Stress
A shocking 82% of survey respondents reported going to sleep later since beginning work from home. Being able to manage work-related stress effectively is completely essential when you’re trying to figure out how to get a better night’s rest.
There are a couple different ways you can get better at distinguishing where work ends and your time for rest and recovery begins. Start a daily meditation practice that you can begin your day with. Meditation has been proven to be effective in managing stress, and improving focus and energy.
Having nightly rituals can also help contribute to a calm night’s sleep. A warm shower right before you go to bed, drinking a nice cup of herbal tea to soothe anxious thoughts, and staying away from your work email in the run-up to bedtime can all help contribute to a good night’s sleep.
Once you’ve pinned down the reason for your lack of sleep, working backward from there in order to arrive at a solution is actually the easy part. You’re not alone in feeling the stress and anxiety of this pandemic, but with the right tools and practices, you can find ways to move through this time in an organized, calm manner.
You’ll be resting better than you ever have before you know it.
Alaska Sleep Clinic is the most comprehensive sleep clinic in the state. Call us today to get your free sleep assessment.