Getting a good night's sleep is vital to maintaining physical and emotional health. After all, early signs of sleep deprivation can start to pop up after just a few days of inadequate rest. Unfortunately, it is often far easier to talk about sleeping all night than it is to do it regularly. If you've noticed more trouble sleeping lately but can't figure out why one of these five surprising culprits may be to blame.
Too Much Daytime Inactivity
While exercising may be the last thing you want to do when you are tired, it can actually be one of the most helpful. Being physically active triggers the production of chemicals within the body. Many of these help you feel more energized and upbeat. After reading a Thrive review or two, you may notice how much more productive and collected many people feel when using it.
Being active doesn't have to mean hitting a gym or doing hours of exercise, either. There are tons of recreational activities and hobbies that incorporate movement. Take gardening, hiking, or even cleaning your house. Those all require movement that can elevate your heart rate.
Your Choice of Afternoon Snacks
Certain foods and drinks can interfere with your ability to sleep, so what you choose to snack on throughout the afternoon and evening may also be to blame. While each person is different, the following suggestions can help you avoid food-related sleep disruptions:
- Limit alcohol to one or two drinks, and avoid it within an hour or two of going to sleep
- Skip spicy foods right before bed
- Avoid caffeine after lunchtime
- Cut back on high-sugar foods like candy, desserts, and sugary drinks in the evening
Working Into the Wee Hours
Staying up late to work may help you to feel less stressed about upcoming deadlines, but it can negatively impact your ability to get a good night's sleep. There are several reasons this happens. First, your mind may keep going back to additional work projects, leaving you wondering if you covered every base.
Another problem with working late is that you often end up staring at a screen close to bedtime. The blue light from tech devices can disrupt your body's natural sleep/wake cycle. When this happens, your body does not prepare itself for sleep at the appropriate times. Many people have found melatonin supplements helpful in restoring these rhythms.
A Poor Sleep Environment
Screentime disrupting sleep is just one way a poor environment could be to blame. Things like excess lights from televisions, windows and cell phones can make it difficult to fully unplug and get rest. It's a good idea to remove them from your room to see if you feel more rested in the morning. Covering mirrors may also be helpful.
Lower temperatures may also help you get better sleep. The cold alerts your body that it is time to slow down and get ready for bed, so you might try adjusting the thermostat down a few degrees for an easier time falling asleep.
Many people think of depression as weighing you down and sapping your energy. That is the case for many patients living with the condition. However, it can also leave you unable to get high-quality sleep. As a result, many people with depression struggle to get a good night's sleep. Proper treatment may help, so it's a good idea to talk with your healthcare provider if you suspect this is the case.
The human body functions best when it is well rested. For most adults, that means about eight hours of sleep each night. If you struggle to get that, a poor sleep environment, depression, or a lack of exercise could be to blame.
Many people report that they experience problems with sleep. But what does that really mean?
Sleep problems differ in how severe they are and in their specific features.1 For example, how long you sleep or are awake, how deeply you sleep, and how you fall asleep are all related to certain sleep problems.
In the past, healthcare providers focused on sleep deprivation—not getting enough sleep (also called insufficient sleep)—as the main type of sleep problem. But research has shown that sleep deficiency, a concept that describes a group of sleep problems, is actually a more accurate way to talk about sleep problems.
Sleep deficiency is a term that describes several different sleep issues, including:
- Not getting enough sleep (sleep deprivation or insufficient sleep)
- Sleeping at the wrong time of day (not in sync with your body’s natural clock)
- Not sleeping well or not spending enough time in certain stages of sleep
- Having a sleep disorder
Sleep deficiency is associated with a number of health and other problems ranging from feeling tired to chronic health conditions.
Sleep disorders are a group of more than 70 major sleep problems with symptoms that can include inappropriate sleep, severe sleep deprivation, and periods of stopped breathing. People with sleep disorders usually benefit from treatments and monitoring from a healthcare provider.
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)—which leads sleep disorder research at NIH—offers in-depth information about many sleep disorders, including:
If you feel that your sleep problems are serious ones, talk to your doctor about getting a sleep study at Alaska Sleep Clinic in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Soldotna and Wasilla.
Alaska Sleep Clinic is the most comprehensive, multi-lab sleep clinic in Alaska and has the most experience in Telemedicine, having offered it to own providers and patients for years now.