There's nothing like getting a good night's sleep to have you feeling refreshed and ready to conquer a new day. But if you're like many people who have trouble making it through the night without awaking one or more times, bedtime can become a guessing game of whether or not you'll make it all the way 'till the alarm clock or your natural body rhythm stirs you.
There are a multitude of reasons people have problems sleeping through the night, but these 5 are some of the most common culprits. You can make changes in these areas and alter your habits to have a sleep as comfortable as Goldilocks did once she found the bed that was "just right."
1. Too Much Vino Before Bed
A few drinks with a late supper or a nightcap after a night out may feel relaxing and even put you to sleep, but the quality of sleep you'll get after a sharing a bottle of cabernet or doing shots with the guys will be as poor as a glass of Champagne that's gone flat.
As per Forbes, "We tend to think of alcohol as a sleep inducer, but it actually interferes with REM sleep, causing you to feel more tired the next morning."
If you do plan to enjoy an alcoholic beverage (or more), try to imbibe earlier in the evening and keep your drink count to a minimum. Drink plenty of water and be sure to have some food in your belly. There's not much worse than sleeping poorly then waking up with a nasty hangover!
2. It's Too Bright
You're an adult now, so get over your fear of the dark… if you want to have a restful night's sleep anyhow. The darker the room, the better chance for making it through the night without waking up, plus you'll fall asleep faster.
Shut all the blinds, pull the curtains, close the doors, and cover any blinking clocks, gadgets, and gizmos we all have around the room nowadays. Pitch black may take some getting used to, but once you try it, you'll have wished you'd been sleeping in cave-like conditions all along.
According to Forbes, "When your eyes are exposed to light during the night, your brain is tricked into thinking it's time to wake up and reduces the production of melatonin, a hormone released by your pineal gland that causes sleepiness and lowers body temperature. Light emitted by electronic devices is especially troublesome because it mimics sunlight."
So put that smartphone down, catch up on your "binge watching" some other time of day, and even don a sleep mask for the most coverage you can get. All you'll see are the dreams inside your mind as you slumber with maximum efficiency.
3. You're Buzzing (on caffeine)
Starbucks lovers, beware. While a mocha java or a soy latte can be hard to pass up, do your sipping in the early part of the day so the caffeine has time to work its way out of your system well before it's time to hit the sack.
According to Best Health Magazine, "Drinking coffee or tea in the evening is a particularly bad idea-it can interfere with normal REM sleep and leave you feeling even more tired. Stick to decaf beverages after dinner and limit your intake to three 8oz. doses of caffeine per day to ensure that your coffee habit won't make it hard to fall asleep."
No one wants to be wired when they'd rather be tired!
4. Your Room's Too Hot
It may feel comfy cozy to snuggle up in your flannel PJs and cuddle under the blankets in a nice toasty bedroom, but as the night goes on and the temperature rises, your sleep will suffer. According to Forbes, "Your body and brain wants to cool down when you sleep, but if your room is too warm you'll thwart the cool-down process."
Help Guide suggests "opening a window or use a fan to keep the room cool." While it may feel too cold as you get in bed, once you're settled in, your body heat will warm you up, but you won't get too hot thanks to the cool breeze. Try wearing light or no clothing to sleep for even more cool comfort. At the proper temperature, you will naturally stay asleep and avoid all that tossing and turning.
5. Your Belly's Grumbling
While it's unwise to hit the hay with a stuffed stomach, a little nosh before bedtime may be the perfect recipe for a good night's sleep. As per Prevention, "'Going to bed hungry interferes with sleep—hunger pangs simply wake you up—and some evidence suggests that people trying to lose weight may wake up frequently,' says Peter Hauri, PhD, a professor emeritus at the Mayo Clinic and author of No More Sleepless Nights."
Opt for something light, yet satisfying such as a glass of warm milk, a stick of string cheese, or an apple with a tablespoon of peanut butter. The protein will be more filling than basic carbs, although keep the snack small, as protein requires more energy to digest. If a small bite will tame those pesky pangs, go for a few whole wheat pretzels or some crackers.