Try as they might, some people really have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep through the night. They toss and turn and stay restless all night. This interrupts their sleep cycle and can cause their partners to lose sleep as well. Before you know it, no one is getting any sleep.
Restlessness can be caused by many factors. Paying attention to what triggers your restlessness can help. You can keep a journal of your restlessness and pay close attention to patterns that indicate what keeps you up at night. In the meantime, until you’ve gathered enough data, stop doing these three things, and it might help you sleep better.
- Stop eating and drinking after dinner
- Stop smoking
- Stop sleeping on your back
What you eat could keep you up at night – Eating late at night can cause your digestive system to work overtime. Spicy foods can cause heartburn, and other foods can give you an energy boost when you should be sleeping. Caffeine can also disrupt sleep cycles and make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep through the night. Excessive alcohol consumption can also cause you to have to go to the bathroom late at night, disrupting restful REM sleep.
Stop eating and drinking after dinner so you can digest your food and your body can prepare for the most important task – going to sleep.
Smoking can disrupt your sleep – smoking is toxic. Nicotine is a stimulant and can disrupt and override your circadian rhythm. Instead of slowly settling into bed, smoking can rev you up. Smoking also causes a variety of medical problems, including emphysema, cancer and respiratory disease. Smoking can reduce oxygen levels in the blood, making it harder for the body to regenerate and repair itself at night, leaving you feeling restless and tired all night and into the next day.
Sleeping on your back can make you restless – Sleep apnea can cause obstructions that result in not being able to breathe during the night. Sleeping on your back can contribute to the intensity of sleep apnea. Being overweight contributes to sleep apnea and can cause the soft tissues to collapse as the throat and tongue relax during the night. This happens more often when we lie on our backs. Constantly waking up from deep sleep due to sleep apnea can cause restlessness, fatigue, and in some cases, long-term health problems.
Being restless at night can contribute to stress during the day. Not getting enough quality sleep can have a physical and emotional impact. Do what you can to overcome restlessness in bed, it will help. If you find that you are eating and drinking past dinner time, try to stop doing so and see if it improves. Stop smoking and also try sleeping on your side or stomach. Any of these can help improve your sleep quality and reduce the stress you deal with on a daily basis.