If you are having trouble staying asleep, it’s about time you check your personal sleep hygiene. Read more to learn about this concept.
Trouble Staying Asleep? 7 Sleep Tips for Uninterrupted Slumber
Why Can’t I Stay Asleep? | Sleep Maintenance Insomnia
There’s nothing alarming about occasionally waking up at 3 AM—it happens to everybody. However, if these middle-of-the-night wake-ups occur more and more often, say, at least three times a week for at least three months, you may have a sleep condition called sleep maintenance insomnia.
When looking at this kind of insomnia, we need to factor in the body’s natural overnight sleep progression. As we get closer to sunrise, we naturally shift into the lighter stages of sleep, making it easier to be roused.
However, you may also have underlying conditions like sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, chronic stress or anxiety, and GERD, to name a few, that could be impacting this natural process.
In many cases though, the culprit for many sleep problems is improper sleep hygiene.
Sleep hygiene involves environmental and behavioral practices intended to promote better and more restful sleep. It’s important in keeping the body’s natural sleep cycle.
To rule out exactly what causes the disturbance, it is best to consult a sleep medicine doctor. We have, however, listed a few seemingly simple habits that can wreak havoc on your sleep quality and some tips on how to hopefully correct them.
1. Be Mindful of Your Caffeine, Nicotine, and Alcohol Intake
Whether it’s for plain love of the beverage or a practical need to stimulate the mind, a lot of us love coffee or coffee-based drinks. However, its earthy taste and mind-boosting benefits come at a price.
Caffeine is a stimulant and has a half-life of three to five hours. This means you may still feel its effect hours after consuming it.
To avoid caffeine getting in the way of a good night’s sleep, don’t drink caffeinated beverages six hours before bed.
Remember that soft drinks, energy drinks, chocolate, and certain teas also contain caffeine.
Like caffeine, nicotine in cigarettes is also a stimulant. Aside from a number of negative health effects it may cause, smoking can also interfere with sleep.
On the other hand, alcohol may help you sleep faster, but drinking too much too close to bedtime can disturb sleep as the body will try to process the alcohol. It is not highly recommended, so moderation is key.
Living a sedentary, inactive lifestyle poses the risks of having high stress levels and an unhealthy body, both of which may contribute to sleep problems.
Aside from the obvious health benefits, exercising regularly can also reduce stress and anxiety levels. It does not have to be a full-on rigorous regimen; a simple 30-minute walk or jog is a great start.
That being said, avoid exercising too close to bedtime as it can interfere with sleep.
3. Nap Smart
Did you know that napping does not make up for lost nighttime sleep? If anything, it may throw off your sleeping cycle.
This does not mean you should avoid napping altogether. According to the National Sleep Foundation, short naps (20 to 30 minutes) can help improve mood, performance, and alertness.
4. Prep Your Body for Bed
The body needs some time to shift into sleep mode. It has to be totally relaxed to drift off easily and stay asleep through the night.
Doing calming activities, like reading an hour before bed, may help promote better slumber. Avoid using smartphones or laptops as they emit blue light that can activate the brain into alertness.
If you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night, do not pick up any of your gadgets. They’ll make it harder for you to fall back to sleep.
5. Watch Your Eating Schedule
Eating a heavy meal before bedtime is a bad idea. Aside from it possibly causing indigestion or acid reflux, the additional task of digestion for the night may affect your overall quality of sleep.
It is also worth considering how you might wake up in the middle of the night for a trip to the toilet. If you tend to snack before sleeping, keep it light and avoid spicy and greasy foods.
Ideally, you should eat your last big meal for the day at least three hours before going to bed.
6. Do Not Take a Hot Bath Too Close to Bedtime
Taking a hot bath sure is relaxing. However, the body needs to have a slight temperature dip to fall asleep and stay asleep, so it’s not really a great idea to have one too close to bedtime.
If you love hot baths, it’s best to take them two hours or more before going to bed. This will give your body enough time to cool down.
7. Make a Bedroom Conducive to Sleep
Designing your room so it’s ultimately conducive to sleep might help with the condition. Focus on two things: right stimuli to the senses and lack of distractions.
Keep the temperature of your room cool at around 60 to 70°F, as the body needs to cool down to fall and stay asleep. It should be cool enough to help you drift off at night without waking you up shivering or sweating after a few hours.
Depending on your preference, your room should be dim or dark since light may disrupt your circadian rhythm. If it works for you, the use of a white noise machine may also improve the quality of your sleep.
Invest in a quality mattress and comfortable beddings. You can also consider using weighted blankets as they employ Deep Touch Pressure that allows the release of hormones serotonin and dopamine that relaxes the body more as we sleep.
Weighted blankets, with their grounding effect, may also help in decreasing cortisol concentration in the body. High levels of this stress hormone in the body can keep you aroused and alert—it is actually linked with insomnia, anxiety, and depression.
Being safely tucked under a weighted blanket may not only help you fall asleep faster, but it may also ensure that you sleep deep and restfully without interruptions.
It’s amazing how the simplest things we do during the day may affect the quality of our nighttime sleep. Since sleep is the body’s way to recover and recharge, it’s only necessary that we develop healthy sleep hygiene.
Do you have any tips on how to stay asleep all night? Let us know in the comments section below.