We all know that good sleep is crucial for our overall health and well-being. Yet, many of us suffer from poor sleep quality, which results in feeling tired throughout the day and adversely affects our health. If you feel like you aren't getting your best possible sleep, you have come to the right place! In this article, we will go through eight reasons you might not be getting optimal sleep and how to correct the issues. Hopefully, you can make the appropriate changes and receive the quality sleep that you deserve.
1. Check the Room's Temperature
Your bedroom temperature has a significant effect on your sleep quality. If your bedroom temperature is too cold or way too hot, it will undoubtedly harm your sleep. We often want to cut our energy costs, which means we turn down our thermostat during the winter and minimize the air conditioning during the summer. While this might positively affect our wallets, it can significantly hurt our sleep. Experts recommend keeping your bedroom temperature somewhere between 65 and 72 degrees at night.
A bedroom that is too hot results in sleep that isn't refreshing at all, and a bedroom that is too cold will wake you up. For this reason, you should think carefully about the temperature of your bedroom.
Tip: Keep your bedroom temperature between 65 to 72 degrees at night.
2. Stress and Worry
Stress and worry is the most common reason for inadequate sleep. If your mind is filled with anxiety, it can overwhelm you when you have settled into your bed. This can make it impossible for you to truly rest and fall asleep, significantly influencing how well-rested you feel in the morning.
Tip: Think about how you can combat your stress and worries. For example, this could be by doing daily meditation, practicing yoga, or writing down your concerns before going to bed.
Click here to learn more about ways to ease stress!
A late afternoon cup of coffee or other caffeine-rich drinks can disrupt your sleep significantly later on during the night. The half-life of caffeine is three to five hours, meaning that only half of the caffeine dose is eliminated after those three to five hours. This means that the remaining half of the caffeine still lingers in your body when you go to sleep, which has a negative impact on your ability to rest successfully.
Tip: Keep your caffeine consumption below 400 mg per day and stay completely away from caffeine after lunchtime.
4. Too Much Light in Your Bedroom
Light signals the brain to wake up, and having too much light in your bedroom will negatively affect your sleep. It doesn't matter if it's light from your partner's reading lamp, the television in the background, the sunlight outside your window, or even your blinking alarm clock! It impairs your sleep quality as it signals the brain that it is time to wake up.
Tip: Eliminate light sources in your bedroom and turn off electronics at least 30 minutes before going to bed. Consider installing blackout curtains to block out all outside lights. You could also invest in a sleep mask.
5. Eating the Wrong Snacks
Eating foods rich in fats or proteins right before going to bed is very bad for your sleep. It sends your digestive system into work, which indirectly makes it very difficult to get a good sleep and potentially causes heartburn. However, feeling hungry during the night will also impair your sleep quality.
Tip: Make it a habit to consume a small snack before going to sleep. The snack should be heavy on complex carbs and lighter on protein.
6. Alcohol Before Going to Bed
While one of alcohol's first effects is a feeling of relaxation, it isn't suitable for your overall sleep quality. Alcohol might help you fall asleep, but it interferes with your sleep cycle, especially your REM sleep. This, in turn, results in an unsatisfactory rest. Furthermore, drinking alcohol before bed might result in your having to visit the toilet during the night – a definite hit on the quality of your sleep.
Tip: This tip is straightforward: Stay away from alcohol right before going to bed. It doesn't help.
7. Sharing Your Bed
Sharing your bed with someone else (pets included) will often have a negative effect on your overall sleep. Sleeping in the same bed as a human or four-legged partner reduces the quality of your sleep significantly. If, for example, your partner snores, crowds, or frequently moves, it can become challenging to experience a good night's sleep.
Tip: If your dog sleeps in your bed, consider training it to sleep on its pillow next to the bed. If you sleep with your partner, you both could consider having nights where you are sleeping in each of your own beds.
8. Evening Exercise
Going out for a walk before bedtime is fine, but an intense, heart-pumping workout within a few hours before bedtime can negatively affect your sleep. When you sleep, your body temperature and heart rate drop to a minimum. Doing intense exercises before bed stimulates your nervous system and forces your body to keep a higher heart rate. This will thus make it harder for you to sleep properly.
Tip: Try to plan your workout to be in the morning or at least before three hours before bedtime.