If waking up is hard to do or you’re tired throughout the day, your daily habits or an underlying health condition could be the culprit. Our expert outlines some common causes.
There’s nothing better than that refreshed and rested feeling after a good night’s sleep. But if you have trouble sleeping or if you’re still tired after a full night’s rest, your health and mood could suffer.
While the common remedy is to get more sleep, that isn’t always the answer. Quality is just as important as quantity. While some people require 9 hours of sleep, others are just as well-rested after just 6.
So how can you improve the quality of your sleep?
Philip Landis, MD, identifies some common sleep culprits and suggests seven ways you can get in the zzz’s you need.
- Snoring. It isn’t just bothersome to others, it also affects your sleep as well. Snoring is a common symptom of obstructive sleep apnea — one of the most significant sleep disorders that also causes daytime sleepiness. “Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious health concern as it also increases a person’s chance of heart attack, stroke and atrial fibrillation. If you snore or wake up gasping for breath, contact your physician for further evaluation of obstructive sleep apnea,” urges Dr. Landis.
- Frequent urination. Frequent bathroom trips throughout the night don’t only interrupt your sleep cycle — they can also be a sign of a health issue such as infection or prostate enlargement in middle-aged and older men. For many, it’s not uncommon to get up to go once through the night, but consistent trips could be a sign of something else. “Frequent urination should be brought to the attention of a medical professional for evaluation and treatment. In the meantime, try decreasing fluid consumption in the evening to avoid a full bladder in the night,” suggests Dr. Landis.
- Alcohol. An evening night cap might be a welcomed way to end the day — causing relaxation and sleepiness — but it may actually be interfering with the quality of your sleep. If you’re in need of restful sleep, skip or minimize your alcohol intake as much as possible or taper it off a few hours before bedtime.
- Stimulants. In our busy, on-the-go world, chances are you spend a significant amount of your time interacting with technology. You may also fuel your day with caffeine. There’s no room for either of those when it comes to your rest. Try to avoid technology right before bed including your television, computer screen and e-readers — as they can make you feel more awake — and stop drinking caffeine up to six hours before bed.
- Lack of exercise. According to a survey by the National Sleep Foundation people who exercise several times a week reported better sleep. Go for a brisk, 20-minute walk in the evenings, take the stairs when you can or even increasing your pace doing household chores such as vacuuming or yard work. It will help you get in frequent exercise which will help you rest better at night.
- Napping. While a cat nap might give you a quick pick-me-up in the afternoon, it might affect your ability to fall or stay asleep at night. If you’re tired during the day, try skipping your usual nap by taking a walk or running errands. If you must indulge, keep it limited to 15 to 30 minutes.
- Menopause. If you find yourself flushed, hot and sweating while sleeping, you may be experiencing menopausal hot flashes. And while they may not always be strong enough to wake you during the night, but they are still interfering with restful sleep. Not all hot flashes require hormonal therapy and they may be prevented with by avoiding triggers such as stress, caffeine, smoking and by keeping your bedroom cool at night, wearing light layers to bed and exercising regularly.