Why a Good Night’s Sleep Matters: If you get shortchanged on shut-eye, you might get moody, cranky, anxious, or depressed. You also might find it harder to think straight or to remember things. In the long run, lack of sleep can lead to conditions like obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. So it’s well worth your while to figure out how to get some good quality, uninterrupted ZZZs.
Major Life Events
It’s normal for something unusually stressful, like a recent car accident or losing your job, to wake you up during the night. These effects should fade as you come to terms with the situation. Talk to your doctor if your sleep problems stick around for a while after a serious life event. Medication and talk therapy might help.
Workaday worries can bust up your sleep, too. Did I pay the power bill? Are my property taxes due this week? Is it my turn to do carpool tomorrow? A to-do list can keep you on track and cut down the stress. And that could mean a better night’s sleep.
Is it hot and stuffy? Does your bed have sinkholes the size of basketballs? Does your partner snore like a hippopotamus with a stuffy nose? Any of these things can interrupt your sleep. A doctor might help with snoring. After that, look for a place to sleep that’s dark, quiet, safe, comfortable, and cool — 60 to 67 F is just about right.
It might make you sleepy at first, but drinking alcohol can wake you up soon afterward, sometimes repeatedly. It disrupts the important REM stage of sleep, and it could interfere with your breathing. And it also makes you pee more, which typically means you have to get up to go to the bathroom more often. For a better night’s sleep, avoid drinking alcohol in the late afternoon and evening before bed.
It’s in tea, coffee, chocolate, and many energy drinks, too. Even in normal doses, it can wake you up and lessen the quality of your sleep, especially as you get older. Up to 8 hours before bedtime could still have an effect. Avoid it in the afternoon and evening to see if you wake less often after going to sleep.
The later you eat that foot-long chili dog with extra onions and a side of fries, the more likely it is to interrupt your sleep later. For a more restful night, try a lighter dinner with less fat and salt and fewer calories — like grilled chicken and vegetables. Eat it earlier in the evening so it has time to digest. If you’re hungry later, snack lightly on easy-to-digest foods like toast or yogurt.
Stimulants like the pseudoephedrine found in many over-the-counter decongestants can interrupt your sleep. There are other culprits, too, like drugs for allergies, heart disease, hypertension, ADHD, and Parkinson’s disease.
Talk to your doctor about adjusting or changing your medicine if you think it affects your shut-eye 🙂 🙂