Many Americans have sleep problems, and it can be hard to get past them to get a good night’s sleep every night. Here are some of the more common causes of sleeping problems.
If your partner snores, it can be very hard for you to get to sleep. Some people say that if they go to sleep first, they can manage to stay asleep, but others just can’t sleep when their partner is sawing wood in the bed.
If you’re worrying about the day’s events, it can make it hard to fall asleep. But there’s a great way to eliminate those worries: just get up and walk into another room. It usually has the effect of wiping your brain clean–the same effect that causes you to walk into a room and then forget why you went there.
If this doesn’t work, try setting aside some time for resolving these worries, preferably in the early evening. That way, you can work through some of these problems and they’re less likely to bother you at night.
You might not realize how much light there is in your room, but it’s likely that there’s enough to disrupt your sleep patterns, especially if you live in the city.
Eliminate unnecessary light sources in your room. Many appliances have status lights — remove these from your room, or, if you want them in there, cover them or unplug them. Try blocking out light with dark shades and/or a facemask.
Most of us consume some form of caffeine over the course of the day, but be aware that it can take a long time to be eliminated from the body. Avoid anything with high caffeine doses in the afternoon or evening, and gradually reduce your caffeine dosage throughout the day. In the evening, you should have only herbal tea or decaf.
You might think that alcohol can help you sleep. And it might, at first. But it will actually wake you up later–alcohol is actually a stimulant, despite its initial sedating effect.
Avoid alcohol within four hours of going to bed.
Many people like the companionship of sleeping with their pets, but they might be more disruptive than you think. Not only can they physically interfere with your sleep because they’re constantly moving and jockeying for position, but their dander can be a problem. You might not think you’re allergic, but still direct exposure to pet fur can irritate your airway, contributing to snoring and sleep apnea. Try having your pet sleep beside your bed, rather than in it.
The problem isn’t just that there is noise, it’s that it’s inconsistent, lulling you into sleep when it’s low, then waking you up when it’ high. If noise keeps waking you up, trying introducing a white noise generator, like a ceiling fan or other constant source of low noise. This won’t help if your partner snores–their volume is already too loud for that!
If your problem isn’t that you can’t fall asleep, but can’t stay asleep, it might be sleep apnea. Sleep apnea causes your breathing to stop at night, and when it does, your brain has to awaken enough to restart breathing. You may keep sleeping, or you may awaken. If you do wake up, you might blame it on a nightmare or having to go to the bathroom, but if you have snoring or other symptoms of sleep apnea, it’s important to talk to a sleep doctor.
A Good Night’s Sleep
We want to make sure you can sleep. If you need help with sleep problems, we can refer you to a qualified sleep doctor who can help you overcome your problems. We can also help treat your snoring (or your partner’s) or sleep apnea.