Top 4 reasons why you can’t sleep
It is estimated that one third of people in the UK have episodes of insomnia. For each person it can manifest itself differently – from struggling to get to sleep, waking in the middle of the night and being unable to get back to sleep to waking very early in the morning.
New research has identified these reasons why your quality of sleep may not be as good as it could be:
Your Sleeping Partner
One of the reasons you aren’t getting a good night’s sleep is your other half… It may come down to what or who do you love more – your partner or your sleep.
It could be as simple as your quality of sleep being affected by your partner moving around in the night, getting up in the middle of the night, snoring or making the bed too hot.
So what to do? While it sounds harsh, the first thing to do would be to kick them out of bed. No seriously, it’s the first step to working out what’s causing your sleepless nights. Try it for a week and see if there’s any difference. If there is, then at least you know your other half is the cause and can take it from there. If it’s not, then let them back under the covers and keep looking for the source of your sleep troubles.
Who knew that the position you lie in bed can affect how easily you drift off to sleep? In general, sleeping on your side is thought to give you better quality sleep, whereas those who sleep on their front get the least. However, it actually doesn’t matter if by the time morning comes, you feel well-rested.
It also turns out that your posture during the day can also impact your sleep – if you don’t sit up straight, with your legs uncrossed during the day, it can cause misalignment in your spine which can create extra tension across your body and prevent you from breathing properly. So how does this impact sleep? It’ll make it harder for you to physically relax before bed. The best thing to do before bed in this instance is some gentle stretching as part of a bedtime routine, along with a hot bath and a chance to listen to relaxing music. If meditation or mindfulness is your thing, spend 10 minutes practising before bed.
You know the proverb, ‘a watched pot never boils’ – and it’s the same with clocks. If you’re struggling to fall asleep or get back to sleep, don’t have a clock anywhere near you. As well as causing panic, it can also create ‘cyclical anxiety’ which is very hard to get out of. For example, if you can’t sleep and look at the watch, you’ll realise how late it is and renew your efforts to fall asleep again. However, if you still can’t fall asleep, you’ll take a second peek at the clock and panic even more as you start working out how much sleep time is left and fear that it’s not enough to leave you well rested by morning. Our advice? Cover it up with something if you can’t avoid looking at it, or remove it from the bedroom altogether.
Do you drag your feet to bed, wanting to get one last episode of that box set on Netflix? Maybe you get home late from work, wolf down your dinner and then snuggle up for sleep? For some, you may finish with a glass to wine to take the edge off the day and to help you sleep? We hate to break it to you but your favourite way to unwind may not be the most suitable for a good night’s sleep. Watching exciting TV programs can stimulate the brain, making it harder to fall asleep, and if you eat just before bed then your digestive system can’t work properly for many reasons including the fact you’re lying down. Even a glass of wine before bed can be disruptive as the process of metabolising alcohol also releases by-products that are stimulating rather than relaxing. Neither of these may be enough to stop you falling asleep but they can disturb the quality of sleep and prevent the periods of deep sleep that your body needs.