Sometimes it's obvious why you can't sleep. Maybe you had an intense gaming session just before you went to bed, or perhaps you couldn't resist drinking a coffee after dinner. Most of the time, however, a poor night's sleep can be difficult to diagnose. Before you know it, the alarm clock is blaring and you know you're in for a tough day at work.
Here are some of the most common reasons you didn't get a good night's sleep. You can't prevent all of them, but knowing about them can at least make sleepless nights less frustrating.
1. Not Wearing Socks at Night
Even if you feel the right temperature at night, warmer feet can help you fall asleep faster. Instead of cranking up the central heating temperature, just wear a pair of socks. It might not make a difference, but there's evidence to suggest this could help you fall asleep.
2. Watching TV in the Bedroom
We like to think we're in control of our brains, but much of our thought processes happen unconsciously. This is why it's important to only associate the bedroom with sleep and "after-hours activities." Anything else, including TV, using the laptop or even reading, could make your sleep worse. Teach your brain that the only thing that happens in the bedroom is sleeping and you'll find it easier to switch of at bed time.
3. Allergens Hiding in Your Mattress
Allergies can often cause symptoms that are less obvious than a streaming nose or constant sneezing. If allergens such as dust mites, pollen or pet dander are hiding in your mattress, they could be affecting your sleep.
An easy way to prevent this is to use allergen-proof bed sheets. You could also buy a cordless vacuum with excellent filtration (such as this one), as these are great for sucking up hair and dust that would otherwise settle within the mattress.
4. Showering Before Bed
While it's important for your feet and hands to be warm when dropping off to sleep, being too hot overall can have the opposite effect. Many people think taking a relaxing bath or shower before bed can help them sleep, but it could actually have the opposite effect. Your body warms up while showering, so it's harder to fall asleep.
To stop this happening, have a shower at least 90 minutes before you go to bed. This provides the same relaxing effect but allows your body to cool properly.
5. Staying in Bed
This might sound like a strange tip, but if you can't fall asleep because of worry or anxiety don't be afraid of getting up for a short time. Laying there watching the clock tick is unlikely to get you to fall asleep, so it's often better to go and do something else.
Of course, getting up to play video games or watch TV probably isn't going to help either. Instead, sit in a low light and do something relaxing. Some gentle stretching or yoga can work wonders. If you're feeling stressed about the next day, writing a simple to-do list can get everything out of your head and allow you to sleep.
6. You're Too Tired
Have you ever noticed it's sometimes harder to fall asleep when you're exhausted? This is often because that exhausted feeling is often cause by stress and exertion. If you try to go straight to bed when feeling like this, your body is still on high alert. Instead, do something quiet and relaxing to allow you to unwind before rushing to bed.
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