11. Napping too long and too late in the day
You need to be careful about napping during the day. It can be a great way to refresh your brain and make you feel more energetic if you nap for no longer than about 20 or 30 minutes. If it goes on for longer, there is a risk of going into deep sleep, and that can throw off your circadian rhythms. A longer nap will often leave you feeling groggy because you wake up from a deeper sleep.
If you take a nap too late in the day, it can also give trouble when you try to go to sleep at night. Try to take a nap early in the afternoon. Even a short nap early in the evening will interfere with your bedtime. If you feel yourself wanting to nod off while watching TV, either go to bed if it’s close enough to your bedtime or if you’re not ready for bed, get up, move around and find something else to do that’s relaxing but doesn’t make you want to fall asleep.
Feeling drowsy in the afternoon is quite normal but nodding off several times a day is not normal. If your eyelids feel heavy and you feel tired all day, it’s a sign that you’re not getting enough sleep. It may also indicate an underlying sleep disorder such as sleep apnea which is fairly common and affects millions of people in the U.S. alone. Excessive daytime sleepiness could also be a symptom of another disorder called narcolepsy.
A siesta in the early afternoon is common in many cultures. Taking an afternoon nap is normal practice and considered essential for getting energy for the rest of the day. If you feel you have to take a nap, don’t make it too long, take it in the early afternoon and make up for it by postponing your bedtime for the same amount of time, you took your nap.
12. Leg cramps
Most of us are familiar with leg cramps. If we sit in one position for long enough or stand for too long, we often get cramps. Cramps that are sleep-related usually cause sudden, intense pain. They usually occur in the calf muscles, but they can also occur in the thighs and in the feet. The muscle contracts and tightens, either while you’re still awake or after you’ve fallen asleep, causing you to wake up due to the pain. Cramps may end as quickly as they start.
Some people have them on rare occasions, and others suffer from them many times in one night. They also tend to come and go over the years. Anyone can get leg cramps, but they occur more often in older people. You can try stretching the muscle to relieve the cramps. You can also try moving the leg, massaging it or applying heat. You often feel soreness once the cramp has gone that may prevent you from going back to sleep.
The causes of leg cramps are not really known, but they may be linked to overexertion of the muscles sitting for long periods or sitting in awkward positions. They appear to be linked to certain health conditions too such as electrolyte imbalances and neuromuscular disorders. Using certain medications like diuretics and statins is also believed to cause leg cramps.
There’s a difference between leg cramps and restless leg syndrome. Restless leg syndrome involves movements of the legs but does not cause pain or tightness of the muscle. The urge to move the legs is very strong with a kind of crawling, discomforting feeling that is partially relieved as soon as the legs move.
13. Your mattress
A supportive, comfortable bed is one way to ensure a good night’s sleep. You may try relaxing before bedtime with a warm bath and a milky drink but if you’re sleeping on an old mattress that does not support you, sags in the middle and creaks through the night, chances are you won’t sleep well.
Your mattress may be home to a whole lot of dust mites. These creatures feed on your dead skin cells. Many people are allergic to dust mites, and they are a real problem for people who have asthma. You can clean your mattress with a vacuum cleaner to get rid of them. You can also use allergy-proof pillow covers and wash covers and sheets frequently in hot water frequently.
There isn’t much evidence to suggest that a firm mattress or a soft mattress is best for you. If you keep waking up with back pain and stiff muscles, your mattress may not be giving you enough support. If it’s starting to dip in the middle, it’s a sure sign that it’s time to turf it. Sleeping on a saggy mattress with a few broken springs is certainly not going to give you enough quality sleep.
Don’t just buy a new mattress without testing it out first. Just because it’s description sounds appealing with terms like ‘plush’ and ‘downy soft’ being used does not mean that you will find it comfortable. Comfort is a subjective feeling. Some people sleep better on a firmer mattress, and others prefer one with a little more give. You need to consider size, the technology used for making it and the material used when selecting the best mattress for you.
14. A messy bedroom
A cluttered bedroom is not conducive to relaxation. If your bedroom is a dumping ground rather than a sanctuary, it can be very difficult to relax in it. People who tend to hoard often end up with clutter in their bedrooms and studies have found that it takes these people longer to fall asleep than their counterparts who have clean and tidy bedrooms.
A messy bedroom can lead to a poor night’s sleep and more anxiety. Increased tiredness the following day means even less likelihood of cleaning up. This vicious cycle can eventually result in cognitive dysfunction and depression as the quality of sleep worsens. This information should be the perfect nudge to tidy up your bedroom so you can have a good night’s sleep.
When your bedroom is dirty and untidy, the jumble in your room seems to reflect the jumble in your mind. Having a clean room can be very comforting and relaxing. Your room should be a place you can retreat to where you can get away from the worries of the day, and your work should never intrude into your bedroom.
The environment you sleep in can do a great deal to affect how you sleep. A good mattress, comfortable pillow, clean bedding and a dark room can go a long way toward helping you get a good night’s sleep. Cleaning up a messy bedroom can help to relieve stress and tension. It will make it more functional, comfortable and pleasing to the senses. It also allows you to utilize your bedroom in the way it is meant to be – a place to relax and to sleep.
15. A disruptive partner
If you have to put up with a partner in your bed who snores, tosses and turns, it can seriously affect your sleep quality. By the time you’ve tried to roll your partner onto his or her side to stop the snoring, it may be difficult to fall asleep again. A partner may even be suffering from sleep apnea without realizing it and you are woken by periodic noises as your partner stops breathing and then starts again.
Another issue can be with temperature. The temperature you feel comfortable with is not comfortable for your partner. Your feet are always cold, but your partner’s are always warm. Perhaps you need to consider separate bedding if you want to share the same bed peacefully. Another problem may be the fact that one partner wants to go to sleep earlier than the other and is disrupted by the other one hitting the hay later and getting up later.
Children also have an impact on your sleep. They have nightmares and get ill. It helps if partners take it, in turn, to attend to the kids. Some find it works to take one night on and one night off whereas others prefer to take shifts through the night. As they get older, children disrupt your sleep lesser and eventually those disrupted nights are a distant memory.
Snoring is one of the most common problems that affect the duration and quality of sleep of partners sharing a bed. Overweight people tend to snore more, and alcohol consumption also increases snoring. Another problem may be the grinding of teeth. A dentist can fit a dental guard to stop the grinding. Research has shown that partners often sleep better when sleeping together than when sleeping alone. However, if your partner’s sleeping habits are preventing you from getting enough sleep, you need to address the issue, or it can have serious implications for your health.