Why can’t I get a good night’s rest?

We all know the importance of getting a good night’s rest, however for some going to bed is a daunting task. Do you dread retiring to your bed?

Rolling around, constantly changing your sleeping position because your body is hurting, just waiting for the sun to rise? You might just be one of the many people suffering from insomnia or some other sleep disorder.

Statistics show that “30% of the population suffers from insomnia whereas 40% – 60% of people over the age of 60 suffer from insomnia”

Are you 100% sure you have looked at every single possibility as to why you cannot get a good night’s sleep?  Although it might seem like an impossibility now, you can transform your sleep by transforming your sleep.

Beat the tired feeling by following these tips
Beat the tired feeling by following these tips

The reasons for your restless, sleepless nights

You can’t get your thoughts under control

Refocusing the mind when you are going to be is much harder than when you are awake. Basically, your mind becomes uncontrollable and your thoughts are all over the place, usually, once your day comes to an end. Your running stops and all of those unnerving thoughts and emotions come flooding in.

There are two ways to counter this problem.

  1. If your thoughts start running away like a train out of control, especially about a situation that is out of your control, stand up and go to another section of the house, but leave the lights off. Your mind will immediately settle down, allowing you to return to bed and get a good night’s rest. This method will also ease the anxiety about going to bed.
  2. Make time for problem-solving. Write down the day’s problems and possible solutions this way you can release all of the pent-up stress and anxiety.

Try not to oversleep

Easier said than done. We all love sleeping in especially in winter, but there is a downside to this. Have you ever felt more tired after sleeping in? It might be because your internal clock has been upset.

Deep within your brain, you have a biological clock that is made up of a group of nerve cells. This controls how much sleep you need and if this goes out of sync you can feel almost hungover; sluggish and tired. By going to bed later, thinking you can sleep in the next morning you are confusing the clock and causing that unpleasant morning tiredness.

How can you fix this?

Sleeping in once and awhile is okay but if it is a habit or it happens every weekend then it is most certainly something you need to have a look at. Fixing it is easier said than done because like a child learning to ride a bicycle by constantly practising, you have to literally reprogramme your internal clock over and over again every day until it comes right.

Set specific times for waking up and going to bed. As far as possible try and keep to these times even on the weekends and through the change of seasons. It takes a couple of days for a routine to set in so just keep trying, don’t give up. Give it at least two weeks and when your alarm goes off, don’t snooze, get up instead.

(Helpful Hint: place the alarm clock/cell phone alarm on the other side of the room. This will force you to get up and switch it off.)

Putting your alarm clock away from your bed will prevent you from hitting snooze!
Putting your alarm clock away from your bed will prevent you from hitting snooze!

And if you feel that you most certainly need more sleep after a night out, don’t sleep in more than an hour later than usual or take a quick afternoon nap (a recharging nap, no more than 30 minutes).

A snoring partner

We all have that someone in our lives or who sound like they are sawing wood when snoring at night. Most of the time it is our spouses.

Interesting fact about snoring: the sound of a snoring can reach up to the same decibels as that of a blender.

Even when you do manage to fall asleep it is likely that the snoring will wake you up during the course of the night, interrupting your sleep cycle. But how can this be fixed? Well, there are three solutions, but first, you need to understand why a person snores.

Once you lay your head down to sleep certain parts of your respiratory system changes shape as the system is quite flexible With snoring, some of them close up slightly causing the air flow to be somewhat hindered. The more closed the respiratory system is the louder the person snores.

The three solution are:

  1. Ask your spouse/partner to sleep on his/her side. This ensures that the airway stays open and even though there will still be snoring it won’t be that disruptive.
  2. Get a pillow designed to assist in keeping all the airways open.
  3. Get earplugs (you can have earplugs designed to ensure they don’t hurt your inner ear structure) and make sure they stay in.

Could it be hormones?

Women experience hormone changes which at certain stages of their lives could experience less sleep than usual.

“Fluctuating levels of Oestrogen and Progesterone before or during your period or throughout pre-menopause can drastically affect sleep”

The fluctuation in hormones creates a chemical imbalance in the brain which leads to a person waking up during the night, which interrupts the sleep cycle or makes waking up difficult, which also affects the sleep routine.

One way or another the hormones sabotage your good night’s rest. There are a few ways to counter this. Taking a hot bath a few hours before you lay your head down will help, if cramping is waking you up then an over the counter pain reliever before bed might just do the trick.

For those tougher cases, you might consider consulting your doctor for a sleeping aid or hormone therapy. Stay in your routine, no matter how tired you are in the mornings and where possible try and exercise 20 – 30min a day. Exercising will help your brain release the “feel good” hormones that will counteract with those hormones that make you feel tired.

Hunger pains

Trying to lose weight is no easy task and some people believe that going to bed hungry is the right way to go about losing those extra kilos. This is however far from the truth.

Going to bed hungry causes hunger pains which in turn wake you up, interrupting your good night’s rest. This can have the opposite effect on weight loss as you might resort to eating at times when your body cannot digest the food correctly.

To ensure a good night sleep, don't skip dinner!
To ensure a good night sleep, don’t skip dinner!

How can you fix this?

One method is instead of eating a big plate of food right before you go to bed, much rather have a big meal a few hours before bed and have a healthy, protein filled snack before bed if you do get late hunger cramps. This way your body will still be able to digest it and ensure that you get a good night’s rest and lose weight while you sleep.

Keep your bedroom mess free

So those childhood chores of keeping your room clean were not in vain.  Having a room that is cluttered with papers on bed stands, desks and the floor will most definitely affect your sleep. This clutter doesn’t allow your mind to slow down and relax, instead, it has you thinking about the work that awaits when you wake.

Your brain will start associating your bedroom as a workplace and not a resting place making it that much harder to fall and stay asleep. How can I counter this? By removing all the paper clutter from your room, making sure it stays neat and tidy and looks inviting. Electronics in the bedroom is also a big no. By working on a computer in your room you can affect your sleep/work cycle as your bed is now seen as a work desk.

Make your bedroom your work free, recharge sanctuary and create a work desk space somewhere else in your home.

That little bit of light

It’s hard to believe but it’s true. The little bit of light on your cell phone, DVD player, alarm clock or even the little bit of light coming in from the street could be what is keeping you awake at night. The mind is so uniquely designed it comes complete with its own internal clock. You naturally think that when you close your eyes no light can come through however that is incorrect. The smallest light can still seep through the retina of the eye and disrupt your sleep.

There are a few ways to eliminate this. Obtain thick, proper dark curtains or fit your window with full closing blinds to stop the light from outside coming in. Turn your alarm clock light away from you or place it on the other side of the room.

Avoid nightlights and if your cell phone is charging on your bed stand, switch it off as the radio waves from the phone can also interrupt your sleep. If you have a light that stays on the hallway, close the bedroom door completely. If you don’t mind a line in your hair the next morning then an eye mask might just do the trick for you. Any small amount of light can cause your internal clock to get confused about whether you should be awake or asleep.

That complete silence

Ever thought that silence could be what is keeping you awake? A lot of people prefer silence when sleeping whereas others prefer some sort of sound. Creating consistent sound or silence that lasts the entire night can help you sleep peacefully.

There are a few ways to silence your room but the most common are to use earplugs envelop you in silence. Learning to sleep with silence is not always the best thing, sleeping in strange places without your earplugs is not always a safe thing to do. For those who prefer noise, the answer is to switch on the roof or stand fan. They call this “white noise” as it blocks out all the other disruptive sounds and creates a long lasting soothing sound that helps you fall asleep and stay asleep.

Dust mites

We don’t give a lot of thought to them but they have the power to disrupt your sleep. Currently, you could be sharing the bed with anywhere from 100 000 to around 10 Million of these guys. Giving a new meaning to the phrase “you are never alone”.

Dust mites leave residue behind that can trigger mild or even severe allergic reactions making it difficult to get a good night’s rest.  To reduce the appearance of dust mites you can vacuum your mattress regularly or make use of good quality linen and open up windows and doors which increase airflow into the room and reduces the presence of dust mites.

Pets on the bed

We all love it when our dog or cat curls up next to us or make themselves comfortable at the foot of our beds. However, this might just be what is keeping you up at night.

Pets do not sleep right through the night and regularly walk around on the bed or scratch themselves during the night waking you up. They also affect the way in which you position your body when sleeping which can cause you to sleep in an uncomfortable position and wake up with aches and pains in your neck, shoulders, back or leg muscles.

While you might be tempted to have pets on your bed, it's never the best idea.
While you might be tempted to have pets on your bed, it’s never the best idea.

The solution is simple, place a dog bed or the pet’s bedding next to the bed and train your pet to sleep in their own bed. This way he/she is still close to you and everyone gets a good night’s rest.

Take hold of your stress

Stress is the leading cause of insomnia. In some cases, people don’t even realise that they are under stress as their mind suppresses it and whilst your mind is trying to suppress all that stress, it is usually just when you are trying to fall asleep that the mind fails at both relaxing you and triggering sleep.This can lead you to have restless sleep and wake up feeling worse for wear. When experiencing stress this can be even more devastating as rest is what you need most.

Stress can be managed. By pinpointing the factor (or factors) that is making you stress so much you can work out a solution. If it is your job that has you stressing so much, then you need to reevaluate the situation and see what exactly is the cause of the problems.

If you are struggling to pinpoint the cause then the help of a psychiatrist might just do the trick. Another method of coping with stress is to physically work out. A good 20 – 30 min workout a day can relieve a lot of stress and lastly, talking also helps. Call a friend and talk about what is making you restless at night.

Keep in mind that if you don’t work to change the situation at work, or whatever might be causing you to stress in your personal life, you will not be able to conquer your fear and anxiety. Eventually, the stress will come to breaking point so make sure that you deal with it in the healthiest way possible.

Time for a new bed?

After you have explored all the options and tried all the solutions mentioned above and you still cannot get a decent night’s sleep, it is time to look at your bed.

Consider things such as the age of the mattress, whether or not the mattress is lumpy, and then think about how you feel when you wake up in the morning. Do you have pain?

If the answer is yes to the lumps and yes to the pain, and you have had the mattress for longer than 10 years, then it is time to consider replacing that old mattress with new bed that is perfectly suitable for your sleep requirements.

There are so many different mattresses now available on the market that can be the ideal complement for your body weight and size and give you that good night’s sleep that you have been longing. Think about brands such as Sealy, Simmons, Cloud Nine, Fabbro and Genessi. Each of these popular mattress brands are well known for providing you with the very best comfort and when you buy your mattress from The Mattress Warehouse, you will find that these beds are very much affordable.

You should be enjoying great sleep every night, not just once in a while. The side effects of not getting enough sleep, and not getting quality sleep, can be so detrimental to your health and are really not worth the risks and the misery. To be a better you, a good night of sleep is more important than you could imagine.

The Mattress Warehouse is a reputable wholesale mattress supplier selling a variety of high-quality beds at great prices. You can shop online to buy your new bed or you can visit the warehouse shop to find the right bed for you. Get in touch with us and we’ll change the way you think about sleep.