With reduced quality and duration of sleep, an increasing number of people are sleepy throughout the day. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, 35.2 percent of adults in the US sleep less than 7 hours each night.1 About 60 percent have sleep problems on most (if not at all) nights, including waking up mid-slumber.2
Being awake for just a few minutes can throw off a night of rest and leave you frustrated. Most importantly, it will prevent you from going through all the stages of sleep needed to feel refreshed. You’ll feel extremely groggy in the morning.
Sleep is needed for proper brain function as it helps your nerve cells to communicate. It’s vital for thinking and focus. When sleep is constantly interrupted, even the simplest tasks will feel impossible. This can hinder productivity at work, school, or home.3 If you keep waking up at night, don’t ignore it. Your body might be trying to tell you one of these 5 things.
5 Reasons Why You Aren’t Sleeping Well
1. You Were Hungry
A grumbling stomach can make it hard to sleep. But if you manage to drift off, it’ll eventually act like an alarm clock. Hunger pangs are enough to wake anyone up. So, if you’re hungry before bed, eat a light and small snack. This will fill you up just enough to fall asleep.
2. You Ate The Wrong Food
OK, so you felt hungry and decided to eat. What did you eat? The type of food matters because heavy meals are bad news. Eating a lot before sleeping can cause indigestion and disrupt your sleep. Fatty foods, spicy dishes, and citrus fruits should also be avoided. If you’re thirsty, opt for water, not carbonated drinks. Eating any of these foods is bound to wake you up.4
3. You Exercised Late
If you like to exercise at night, do so with caution. Intense workouts close to bedtime might postpone or disrupt sleep. After all, it’s an energizing activity! But the effect is different for everyone, so do what works for your body.
Of course, some exercise is better than no exercise. Consider 10 minutes of light-intensity movement to boost sleep quality without interruptions.5
4. You Drank Caffeine Late
During the day, caffeine can help you stay on track. There’s a reason why coffee and tea are morning staples. But by the afternoon and evening, caffeine will work against you by preventing and disrupting sleep.6
5. You Drank Too Much Alcohol
Booze is known to induce sleep. No wonder it’s called a nightcap! However, too much can wake you up and won’t make your rest any better. This is because, during the second half of the night, your body starts to process the alcohol.9 It also reduces your REM sleep, the stage that’s needed to feel refreshed and awake.10
In general, facing a lot of stress can keep you from sleeping well. It can mess up your sleep schedule and also make you go for all 5 of these habits. So, if you’re feeling anxious, consider yoga or meditation before bed. These activities can put you to rest – and keep you that way.11
|↑1||Short Sleep Duration Among US Adults. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.|
|↑2||Annual Sleep in America Poll Exploring Connections With Communications Technology Use And Sleep. National Sleep Foundation.|
|↑3||Brain Basics: Understanding Sleep. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.|
|↑4, ↑5, ↑9||Sleep Hygiene. National Sleep Foundation.|
|↑6||Caffeine and Sleep. National Sleep Foundation.|
|↑7||Medicines in my Home: Caffeine and Your Body. Food and Drug Administration.|
|↑8||Drake, Christopher, Timothy Roehrs, John Shambroom, and Thomas Roth. “Caffeine effects on sleep taken 0, 3, or 6 hours before going to bed.” Journal of clinical sleep medicine: JCSM: official publication of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine 9, no. 11 (2013): 1195.|
|↑10||Roehrs, Timothy, and Thomas Roth. “Sleep, sleepiness, and alcohol use.” Alcohol research and Health 25, no. 2 (2001): 101-109.|
|↑11||Ong, Jason C., Rachel Manber, Zindel Segal, Yinglin Xia, Shauna Shapiro, and James K. Wyatt. “A randomized controlled trial of mindfulness meditation for chronic insomnia.” Sleep 37, no. 9 (2014): 1553-1563.|