Pin It

5 Surprising Reasons You’re Not Sleeping Well



Americans are tired. So much, in fact, that the Centers for Disease Control and Disease (CDC) calls “insufficient sleep a public health epidemic.”

Lack of sleep increases your likelihood of developing chronic diseases (including heart disease, diabetes and hypertension), reduces your quality of life, and increases your risk of accidents at work.

One thing you might not know: some of the most common reasons you’re not sleeping well are things you might have never considered.

It’s Fido’s Fault
The idea of sharing the bed with your furry friend might sound adorable, but reality is quite different. How different? Well, according to a survey conducted by Mayo Clinic, 53 percent of pet owners report disruption in their sleep because of a dog or cat sharing their bedroom.

A common cause of trouble: pet snoring, which apparently 21 percent of dogs (and a surprising 7 percent of cats) do on a regular basis. Then there’s all that tossing and turning to find a comfortable spot near your feet, between you and your partner—and sometimes over your head or stomach.

You’re Not Working Out Enough
That’s right. No exercise often equals poor sleep.

Don’t believe it? According to the National Sleep Foundation, people with chronic insomnia who exercise on a regular basis fall asleep faster and sleep longer. They also have better sleep quality.

Research also shows you don’t even have to engage in heavy weight training or strenuous workouts to see results. In fact, researchers point out that moderate-intensity aerobic exercise offers the best results when it comes to improving sleep quality.

You’re Taking Your Vitamins
All those healthy vitamin and herbal supplements you’re taking? They could be making you stronger and robbing you of sleep at the same time.

Two major culprits: ginseng and guarana, stimulants that can cause insomnia, increased heart rate, and restlessness.

And then there are some vitamins (especially the B vitamins) that can cause similar effects. For example, a study published in the Perceptual and Motor Skills journal found that vitamin B6 can cause vivid dreams and, as a result, difficulty sleeping.

To avoid this, take supplements in the morning, so they can be digested and processed by your body before it’s time to head to bed.

You Have Too Much Fun Before Going to Bed
If you want a restful night, experts say you should turn off the TV and step away from the computer at least a couple of hours before your bedtime.

In fact, it seems all electronic media might be bad for you if you’re trying to get a good night’s sleep, according to a study published by the Sleep and Biological Rhythms journal. And the longer you spend in front of a screen before you head to bed, the worse you’ll sleep.

For better shuteye, step away from the virtual world at least an hour before bed and instead read a book, listen to music, or take a warm bath.

You Don’t Get Enough Sunlight
Your circadian rhythm (in simpler words: your wake-sleep cycle) is set by sunlight exposure. This means being outdoors during the day will actually help you sleep better at night. In winter, when it gets darker much earlier—or if you work in an office all day and don’t get home until the evening—this might throw your cycle off and lead to sleeping problems.

While moving to a sunnier state sounds like a great solution, you don’t have to take things that far. Just make it a goal to spend at least 15 minutes a day outdoors—even if it means using your lunch time to take a walk. Not enough? Take some vitamin D supplements.

like downlinens