If you haven’t been sleeping well, you’re not alone. 30-40% of adults experience symptoms of insomnia, says the National Center for Sleep Disorders Research at the National Institutes of Health. There are plenty of reasons you may not be sleeping well. Here are 7 of the most common.
1. You’re not exercising enough.
Research shows that exercising regularly can help ease anxiety so you sleep better. And contrary to popular belief, exercising late at night will not disturb your sleep quality. Aim for some type of exercise (even if it’s only 15 minutes) most days of the week.
2. You’re looking at the clock too much.
“Clockwatching” can result in unhealthy sleep patterns. It’s a common problem: you wake up in the middle of the night, usually around the same time, and think about how much sleep you have left before that alarm clock goes off. Here’s an idea to counter this: turn your clock around, don’t check your phone in the middle of the night, and focus on not looking at a clock until you hear the sound of your alarm.
3. You’re too stressed.
Stress is one of the most common reasons you can’t sleep. Going to bed with a head full of thoughts about your bad day at work, a tough family situation, or financial stresses can put a big-time strain on your ability to get a good night’s sleep. Here are a few ways to reduce your stress levels so you can sleep better:
- Burn off some steam by exercising.
- Keep a journal by your bedside and write out your stressful thoughts to get them off your chest.
- Meditate, do some light yoga, or try progressive muscle relaxation.
- Listen to soft music or read a light-hearted book in bed before you go to sleep.
4. You’re distracted by gadgets in your bedroom.
For many of us, checking our phone is the first thing we do when we wake up and the last thing we do before we go to bed. Technology makes our lives more efficient, for the most part. But if you can’t sleep well, try banning technology from your bedroom. That includes your television too. One study found that watching television in your bedroom is often a major cause of sleep problems.
5. Your sleep patterns are erratic.
Getting to bed and waking up at the same time every day is one of the most important things you can do to establish a consistent sleeping pattern. If you’re accustomed to staying up until the wee hours of the morning on weekends, this can seriously impact your sleep during the week. Napping at the wrong time may be another reason you can’t sleep well. If you’re a napper, make sure you’re not dozing off for more than 30 minutes at a time. And reserve your naps for 2 to 3 p.m., which is the best time to get a quick snooze in.
6. You’re drinking too much caffeine late in the day.
For many of us, getting that morning jolt of caffeine from our coffee or tea is crucial. However, drinking too much caffeine can keep you up at night. So limit your java drinking to the morning. Avoid drinking coffee, tea, soda or other caffeine-laden drinks later in the day (unless it’s chamomile tea, which can actually help you sleep).
7. Your room isn’t dark enough.
To sleep well, your bedroom should be dark. Any light, whether it’s from your television, windows, phone, or other device, is affecting your ability to sleep well. That’s because your body may reduce its production of melatonin, the hormone that aids in sleep, when it senses light around you (even when you’re sleeping). So invest in some light-blocking window treatments, and shut those electronics off.