More than a third of Americans aren’t getting the sleep they need. Regardless, they live their lives, pushing through the discomfort of sleep deprivation. But discomfort isn’t the only consequence of a poor night’s rest.
A lack of sleep puts you at risk of weight gain, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular diseases. You may struggle to perform at work, which could lead to layoffs or other financial distress. And worst of all, your sleep restlessness isn’t likely to go away on its own.
It’s time to put these troubles to bed. Read on to identify restless sleep causes and preventative treatments.
1. Sleep Disorders
Everyone has trouble sleeping from time to time. But when you’re a restless sleeper for months at a time, that’s indicative of a chronic disorder. Diagnosing sleep disorders is difficult since most only occur while you’re asleep.
Sleep apnea is a very common type of sleep disorder. When you snore, your body isn’t getting the oxygen it needs. This can cause you to stir and wake up throughout the night.
Another common disorder is restless leg syndrome. It’s an urge to move your legs that can keep you stirring. Luckily, this disorder has daytime symptoms so it’s easier to detect.
If you think you have any of these sleep disorders — or others we haven’t listed — then you should contact your doctor.
2. Depression and Anxiety
Mental distress can severely hamper your ability to rest. You may experience physical symptoms, such as an elevated heart rate, which can make sleeping impossible.
But intrusive thoughts from depression and anxiety can also keep your mind racing. Until you put these emotions to bed, there’s no hope of going to bed yourself.
Stress management is an important step to ensure a good night’s sleep. Practices differ in efficacy between different people. For some, a hot bath before bed can be a calming experience.
But others may need to rely on meditation or medication, depending on the extent of their anxiety.
3. Negative Sleeping Environment
Sometimes there’s no biological reason for restless sleep. External factors, some out of your control, can keep you awake. For example, it’s not easy to sleep in a hot bedroom when you’re sweating under the covers.
Beyond temperature, you need to pay attention to the condition and comfort of your mattress. An old mattress can lack the support you need for a long night’s sleep. Noise and light play a role, providing a subtle stimulus that keeps your brain active.
Is your bedroom an optimal sleeping environment? Consider testing a mattress at the store or a friend’s house to determine if yours isn’t doing the job. The next time you get in bed, turn off any electronics in the bedroom to keep it as dark and cool as possible.
4. Nutritional Deficiency
Sleep is a complicated process that relies on a variety of macronutrients. But even in developed countries, many people aren’t getting the nutrition they need to function their best. For example, about half of Americans are deficient in magnesium.
A lack of this key nutrient can lead to insomnia. That’s because it plays an important role in maintaining sleep-inducing neurotransmitters. Magnesium also stabilizes mood and emotions which can sometimes intrude on our ability to sleep.
Do you think you’re experiencing a nutritional deficiency? Discover more information about supplements and how they can improve your sleep quality.
5. Lack of Exercise
Exercise is an important contributor to overall health markers, such as body weight and blood pressure. But did you know that it helps regulate your sleep cycle?
One study found that after a four-month period, those with an aerobic exercise routine slept 45 minutes longer than those without. The study also revealed that those with better sleep had an easier time exercising. So once you start, you can enjoy a beneficial feedback loop.
There is one caveat. Although exercise can help you sleep better and longer, the effects aren’t immediate. In our study cited above, it took about four months for the optimal sleep gains to occur.
6. Bad Habits
Some vices are worse than others. But almost all popular drugs can have an impact on your sleep.
Many people become tired when they consume alcohol in particular. Although it may help you sleep, it won’t provide a feeling of restfulness. In fact, alcohol can disrupt normal sleep functions and lead to sleeping disorders.
If you’re going to consume alcohol, make sure you have a few hours to digest before bed. This is also true for caffeine as well. As much as you may enjoy the taste and stimulus of coffee, it’s best to avoid it in the evening and nighttime hours.
7. Inconsistent Schedule
If you’re feeling restless at night, there’s a good chance you’re not respecting your circadian rhythm.
The circadian rhythm is your body’s natural sleep cycle. As the day comes to a close, your body releases the chemicals you need to become tired. But if you don’t sleep on a consistent schedule, these hormones won’t be available when you need them.
Always sleep and wake up at the same time every day. If you break this cycle on the weekend, take care not to shift it too far in any direction. Otherwise, you’ll pay for it when Sunday night rolls around.
Don’t Sleep on These 7 Restless Sleep Causes
Restless sleep causes serious daytime issues if left unchecked. It may become dangerous for you to operate machinery or function at work. Poor quality sleep also makes you more vulnerable to mental distress.
If you’re a victim of restlessness, don’t sit idly by and hope it goes away on its own. Pursue a variety of treatment options to get the help, and the sleep, you need.
Looking for more advice? Head to our health section to learn more about getting a good night’s sleep.