Someone having trouble sleeping.

Top 10 Causes of Poor Sleep

Having Trouble Sleeping? Here's Why

Not having the right mattress or even pillowcase can make you have a poor night's sleep. While fixing having trouble sleeping can be as simple as ditching a bad mattress for a firmer one, or switching your cotton pillowcase for a satin one, there might be other reasons at play too.

1. Bad Mattress and Bedding

You may not think about it, but if your bed doesn't provide you with optimal comfort, it can put a damper on your rest and you might not sleep well. Every person is different. Make sure you have a type of mattress that fits your body's needs, as some are firmer or softer. Even if you don't want to commit to a new mattress, mattress toppers might fit your budget and what you are looking for. Brooklinen has mattress toppers made with down. Right now you can get their Down Alternative Mattress Topper for $98.10. All you have to do is add this microgel topper on top of your mattress and it can boost your comfort level to the nines. The microgel offers a softer and silkier feel compared to other toppers.

Also, the type of sheets and pillowcases you use can make a difference too. Instead of cotton, switch to satin. We recommend Brooklinen's Luxe Pillowcases that are now on sale for 10% off. They come in a variety of colors, and with its 480 thread count, these just might be the softest pillowcases you will ever use.

2. Gadgets

We have become virtually addicted to gadgets. You and your cell phone or laptop are probably joined at the hip, but those gadgets are not doing your sleep health any good.

Learn to turn your gadgets off an hour before you are ready to go to sleep. Both your body and mind will be grateful, since they both need a chance to wind down.

3. Naps

Power naps can be a good thing, but if they last more than 20 minutes, they will most likely disturb your nighttime sleep. If you feel sleepy, particularly in the afternoon, take a brisk, short walk, drink a glass of cold water or take a few minutes and call a friend.

4. Back Pain

Any pain, particularly lower back pain, may not keep you awake, but it may disturb your sleep. If you are a side sleeper, try putting a pillow between your legs to help keep them aligned. If you are a back sleeper, put a pillow under your knees to get some relief.

5. Your Bedroom Environment

So many people litter their bed with books, newspapers or even a laptop, and they work while watching television. Your bedroom is supposed to be a place where you can totally relax, so ditch the book, newspaper and laptop. Turn the lights down low and use your bed for sleep.

6. Temperature

If your home or your bedroom are either too cold or too hot, it could be why you are having trouble sleeping. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine put forward the idea that you should start “thinking of a bedroom as a cave: it should be cool, quiet and dark!” Research studies have consistently shown that when people with insomnia sleep in a cooler room, with temperatures around 65F, they sleep a whole lot better.

7. When You Eat

I have always loved to dine continentally, but I have found out that it could be one of the reasons I do not sleep well. Every doctor I have spoken to has told me not to eat heavy foods or big meals too late, and by late they meant stop eating at least an hour before going to bed. The reason? Heavy foods overwork and overburden your digestive system.

8. Alcohol

Drinking alcohol can make you feel sleepy because it is a sedative, but after the first blush wears off it disrupts your sleep during the night. Research studies have also shown that you will make more trips to the bathroom if you drink anything in the last two hours before going to bed and if you are making frequent trips during the night, it is often harder to go back to sleep.

9. Caffeine

Is there anything better than starting the day with a good cup of coffee or cappuccino? Overdoing it throughout the day can cause a problem. A National Sleep Foundation poll found that people who consumed four or more cups of caffeine daily were more likely to experience insomnia a few nights a week. The answer is enjoy your cup of coffee in the morning or very early afternoon, allowing at least eight hours for it to get out of your system.

Making a few lifestyle changes can make a huge difference to the quality of your sleep. Give it a try!

10. Transient and Intermittent Insomnia

For the rest of the millions of people who suffer from transient or intermittent insomnia, the reasons are usually one or more of the following:

  • Stress.
  • Environmental noise.
  • Extreme temperatures.
  • Change in the surrounding environment.
  • Sleep schedule problems such as those due to jet lag and medication side effects.
  • Unhealthy habits.

Making some changes to your routines and what you eat and drink will likely cause a major positive difference in your ability to go to sleep and stay asleep.

Insomnia Explained

Did you know that approximately 30% of Americans complain at one time or another of suffering from insomnia? According to the National Sleep Foundation, researchers are looking into the idea that insomnia is essentially the brain not being able to stop being awake.

The National Center on Sleep Disorders Research (NCSDR) defines insomnia as “the perception or complaint of inadequate or poor-quality sleep because of one or more of the following: difficulty falling asleep; waking up frequently during the night with difficulty returning to sleep; waking up too early in the morning and unrefreshing sleep.”

It may occur once in a while (transient insomnia), on and off (intermittent insomnia) or constantly (chronic insomnia).

The body functions best when it has seven to nine hours of undisturbed sleep a night. According to NCSDR researchers, people with chronic insomnia are more difficult to diagnose than those who have occasional bouts of insomnia.

For those people, not being able to fall asleep and not being able to stay asleep all night, this could be the result of an underlying medical or psychiatric issue such as:

  • Allergies.
  • Anxiety.
  • Reflux.
  • Certain medications.
  • Endocrinological problems.
  • Low back pain.
  • Arthritis.
  • Sleep apnea.
  • Neurological disorders.
  • Restless leg syndrome.
  • Chronic pain.
  • Depression.

If you are afflicted with any of the above, you should check with your doctor or a physician who specializes in sleep disorders for ideas on how you can improve your sleep patterns.