It doesn’t seem fair. You do everything you’re supposed to do, but here it is, still dark outside and you’re awake. You can’t go back to sleep. Here are 5 reasons why and some possible fixes.
1. You have Sleep Apnea. It hasn’t been diagnosed, but you know you don’t snore. Did you know there are other symptoms associated with sleep apnea and some people can suffer with the problem without ever making too much noise. Symptoms include night sweats, a dry mouth, a morning headache and insomnia. Look for one symptom that is almost always present – you’re tired during the day even if you think you slept well. Don’t wait. Make an appointment with your doctor and be tested. Sleep apnea can be treated with an oral device or a CPAP machine. If you’re overweight, losing as little as 20 pounds can cut those sleep apnea episodes almost in half.
2. You take Medicine. Common medicines such as beta-blockers for blood pressure, asthma medicines and even antidepressants all have ingredients that might cause your sleeplessness. Did you know that even some over-the-counter pain meds may have a caffeine? Talk with the pharmacist and if you identify a drug that may be causing you to lose sleep, talk with your doctor about an alternative.
3. Your Sleeping Medicine isn’t Working. Or, more likely, it is. A study has shown that taking sleeping medicine only gives an average of 15 minutes more sleep. Ask yourself if it’s worth it. Does it leave you feeling groggy and out of it in the morning? Sleep medicine brings risks of addiction and sleepwalking. You can try melatonin which works to try to change your circadian rhythm or, better yet, go natural. Get morning sunshine and dim the lights before you’re ready for bed. Exercise and stress reducers like yoga or meditation may also help.
4. You are What you Eat. If you’re indulging in fast food and a sugary drink your body may be busy “constantly putting out fires from processing unhealthy foods”, according to the director of the Sleep and Health Research Program at the University of Arizona. Another study showed that people who drink lots of sugary drinks are more likely to sleep 5 hours a night – or less. Eat right and, maybe, you’ll sleep better.
5. It’s the Aches and Pains. Back pain is a common culprit. It may make it hard to go to sleep and hard to stay asleep. It also can cause you to wake up with “micro-arousals” throughout the night which make your sleep problems worse. Try some holistic pain relief methods – massage or acupuncture. A heat pad may work and a study with seniors showed that drinking tart cherry juice twice a day increased sleep by an average of 84 minutes. Do you best and don’t be afraid to tell your doctor that your discomfort is causing loss of sleep. It’s important enough to share.
Good sleep also depends on what you’re sleeping on – your mattress. Especially if you have back pain, you want a mattress that gives you good support and keeps your spine aligned properly. Foam mattresses excel at this. If you think you can’t afford a good foam mattress, shop on the Internet and have it delivered to your door. Take advantage of the trial period – sleep on the mattress for at least 30 days so your body adjusts. Internet mattress dealers give you a long trial period, as many as 120 days, followed by a complete refund (yes, they’ll arrange for pickup, too) so you can’t mistake, but you may make sleeping through the night much easier.