Has waking up feeling like a truck hit you become a daily reality? Is the sensation of being well-rested a distant memory? Do you spend the day wishing you could crawl back into bed? You’re not alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in three adults are lacking sufficient sleep. Even if you’re clocking in the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep, they may not be quality ones. Here are 8 common culprits for chronic exhaustion:
- Your Hormones Are Out of Balance
According to Dr. Marina Johnson at The Institute of Endocrinology and Preventative Medicine®, both men and women can suffer from endocrine-related insomnia. Endocrine imbalances can be difficult to detect, so it’s best to consult a specialist if you suspect this is the cause for your lack of quality sleep.
2. You Don’t Have a Consistent Sleep Schedule
Many doctors recommend keeping a steady sleep schedule. Hitting the sack at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning (even on the weekends) helps to regulate your body’s internal clock for optimal sleep. If your schedule is erratic, it could likely be contributing to the feeling of never being “fully rested.”
3. Dust Mites, Fur, and Allergens (oh my!)
Did you know that the average mattress can contain anywhere from 100,000 to 10 million dust mites? If you’re sensitive to the residue these bedfellows leave behind, they could be contributing to your poor sleep quality. If you let your pets share your bed, add their fur to the list of irritants. To keep mites, fur, and other allergens at bay, wash your bedding in hot water every week and replace mattresses every ten years. Additionally, you may wish to purchase allergen-resistant bedding, such as these comforters and pillows. Experts also recommend sleeping with the window cracked to increase airflow.
4. Your Room is Too Quiet
It seems counterintuitive to some, but having a too-quiet room can hinder quality sleep. One theory is that sound consistency is the key, so the smallest sound in a silent room can rattle you out of rest. White noise from a fan, humidifier, or white-noise machine can provide steady levels of non-interruptive sound to cover up any hiccups in the background from cars, neighbors, dogs, or sirens.
5. You’re Unplugging Too Close to Bedtime
Is your phone screen the last thing you see before hitting your pillow? Do you stay up late watching news coverage before turning in? Are you working on your computer until the very last moments before bed? Not only are these activities constantly stimulating your mind (and therefore keeping it from winding down) but, according to Harvard Health Publications, the blue light emitted from our beloved devices can interfere with melatonin production and your natural circadian rhythm. Turn off devices at least 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime, and if you must check your phone before turning down, make sure it’s on the “nighttime” setting, which uses primarily yellow or amber light instead.
6. Your Sleeping Space is Cluttered
Stress can have a tremendous impact on your sleep quality, and nothing promotes it quite as covertly as a cluttered environment. If your bedroom features piles of paperwork screaming for your attention, it’s likely impacting your ability to rest fully at night. Try to designate your bedroom space purely for sleep and intimacy, and move any work-related items to a different room in the house. Reduce visual clutter by organizing with baskets and bins, and find a different parking space for that elliptical machine. Creating a calm, visually-relaxing space will definitely help you get a better night’s sleep!
7. Your Spouse Snores
If your spouse is sawing logs every night, it can definitely keep you from getting any real rest. But snoring is a lot more than obnoxious, it can be a sign of a dangerous condition called Obstructive Sleep Apnea. During an “apnea episode,” a person stops breathing for approximately ten seconds. In extreme cases, this can happen as many as 150 times in an hour of sleep. If it remains undiagnosed, it can take as many as twelve years off of life expectancy and increase risk of motor-vehicle accidents, high blood pressure, diabetes, and more. If your spouse snores loudly, pauses breathing, or gasps for breath during the night, they should get tested for sleep apnea right away! Visit our home page by clicking here to learn more about home sleep testing and alternatives to CPAP therapy.
8. You Have Sleep Apnea
If you have undiagnosed (or untreated) Obstructive Sleep Apnea, your sleep quality will definitely show it. Besides feeling exhausted during the day, some sleep apnea symptoms include:
- high blood pressure
- morning sore throat
- morning dry mouth
- daytime sleepiness / lethargy
If you suspect that you have sleep apnea, don’t let it go untreated. More than 1 in 50 individuals with OSA are undiagnosed. Taking a home sleep test can be simple and painless, and there are alternatives to CPAP therapy for many people with sleep apnea.