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Why can't I get a good night's sleep? Why is it so hard for me to sleep for eight hours straight? Is there anything I can do to stay asleep all night naturally? Unfortunately, these are just some of the questions many people are plagued with when it comes to sleep. But here’s the good news: there are many things you can do to improve the quality of your sleep and get those much-needed eight hours.
We'll tell you about those things you can do in this post. But first, let's discuss some of the reasons many people struggle to sleep the whole night through in the first place.
Here are some top reasons people wake up at night or can't sleep for eight hours.
A few different sleep disorders can cause people to wake up at night. One of the most common is sleep apnea when your breathing is interrupted while you sleep. Sleep apnea can cause you to wake up gasping for air, contributing to insomnia.
Other sleep disorders include restless leg syndrome (RLS), where you have an overwhelming urge to move your legs while trying to sleep, and narcolepsy, a condition that suddenly causes you to fall asleep during the day.
It can be hard to relax enough to fall asleep if you're dealing with anxiety or stress. Your mind is full of racing thoughts of everything you have to do rather than focusing on sleep, making it difficult to drift off.
Depression can also make it tough to sleep, as it can cause insomnia and contribute to sleep disorders like sleep apnea.
Pain can majorly contribute to sleepless nights if you're dealing with an illness or injury. This is especially true if you're dealing with conditions like arthritis or fibromyalgia, as the pain can make it hard to get comfortable.
Your sleep schedule is probably off if you've recently traveled across time zones. Often, this causes you to wake up in the middle of the night and have difficulty falling back asleep or falling asleep at your standard time.
Acid reflux (or GERD) can cause you to wake up in the middle of the night feeling heartburn or indigestion. This is because stomach acid is coming up into your esophagus, which can be quite painful. Certain foods and drinks are notorious for triggering acid reflux, so be sure to avoid them before bed.
Some common culprits include:
If you don't have a regular sleep schedule, it can be hard to sleep through the night. This is because your body doesn't know when it's time to sleep, and you may find yourself waking in the night and unable to fall back asleep.
Some medications can interfere with sleep. For example, antidepressants and beta-blockers can cause insomnia. If you think your medication could interfere with your sleep, talk to your doctor about other options.
If you consume caffeine later on in the day, it can make it harder for you to fall asleep at night. Caffeine is a stimulant, and it can also stay in your system for up to eight hours. With that in mind, it's best to steer clear of it in the evening. Be on the lookout for food or drinks you might be consuming that have caffeine you might not be aware of, like chocolate and some sodas.
Drinking alcohol before bed helps some people fall asleep. The problem is, it can also disrupt your sleep later in the night.
Next, let's move on to some of the things you can do to sleep through the night.
There are a few things you can do to sleep through the night and get eight hours of uninterrupted sleep.
To start, create a sleep schedule and stick to it as best you can. As tough as it can be to stick to, waking up and going to bed at the same time each day helps synchronize your body's natural sleep rhythm.
To help you adjust to a sleep schedule, start by picking a bedtime and waking up time, and then stick to it as closely as possible. It may take a few days or even weeks to get used to the new sleep schedule, but it's essential to be consistent.
There are also all kinds of relaxation techniques you can try to help you fall asleep and stay asleep at night. One is deep breathing exercises, which can help to slow down your heart rate and calm your mind.
Another is progressive muscle relaxation, where you tense and relax all the muscles in your body. This can help to release any tension you may be holding in your body and make it easier to fall asleep.
These techniques are worth trying if you think your sleep problems are caused by anxiety or stress.
It may be because you're not tired enough if you're finding it hard to sleep at night. One way to combat this is to be more active during the day and get your body moving. This might be taking a brisk walk, going for a run, or doing some light cardio at home. Being active during the day can help tire you out so that you're more likely to sleep through the night.
As we mentioned before, creating an optimal sleep environment that is dark, quiet, and comfortable is fundamental to good sleep. This will help your body relax and make falling asleep easier.
Here are some things you can do to create an optimal sleep environment at home:
Eating a hearty meal before bed can make it hard to sleep, as your body will be working to digest the food. So instead, try to eat dinner a few hours before you go to bed and avoid late-night snacking.
The foods you eat at night (and in general) can also impact your ability to sleep through the night.
Some of the best options for sleep-promoting foods include:
These foods can help to promote sleep by providing your body with the nutrients it needs to sleep well.
Another option for promoting better, longer sleep is vagus nerve stimulation. This entails stimulating the vagus nerve, which runs from the brainstem to the abdomen. This can be done by massaging the area around the nerve or using a non-invasivevagus nerve stimulation device, such as Xen byNeuvana. This device consists of vagus nerve stimulating headphones that plug into a handheld device that connects to their phone.
Users can choose from their favorite sounds or songs to listen to through the headphones while the device sends gentle electrical impulses to stimulate the vagus nerve. This can help to promote sleep by helping to calm the nervous system and reduce stress levels.Users also report feeling more rested and refreshed after using the device.
Naps can be refreshing for some people. But regularly napping during the day? This can make it harder to sleep at night. So if you take naps frequently, limit them to 20-30 minutes and try to nap earlier in the day.
Avoid any activities that will get your adrenaline going in the hour or so leading up to bed. This could include watching television, working on a project, or exercising. Instead, try reading a book or listening to calm music to help you relax and get ready for sleep. Find something you enjoy and that helps to calm your mind before bed.
Staring at screens right before bed can make it harder to sleep, as the blue light emitted can interfere with your body's natural sleep rhythm. Also known as your circadian rhythm, this is the sleep-wake cycle that your body naturally follows. Many things can throw off your sleep rhythm, but blue light is one of the most common culprits.
To help promote sleep, turn off all screens at least an hour before bed and avoid using your phone in bed. If you need to use your phone for an alarm clock, consider investing in blue light blocking apps, such as f.lux or Twilight. These apps reduce the amount of blue light emitted from your screen, making it easier to sleep at night.
This is a topic not talked about enough in relation to sleep woes. However, it's important to prioritize your mental health if you're struggling to sleep through the night or with sleep in general. This may mean making time for self-care activities, seeking professional help, or talking to a friend or family member about what you're experiencing. Taking care of your mental health will help you to feel better and help you sleep through the night.
If you're dealing with sleep challenges, you can try several things to help you get a good night's sleep. Creating a relaxing bedtime routine, practicing relaxation techniques, staying active during the day, and eating sleep-promoting foods can help. You should also ensure your sleep environment is dark, quiet, and comfortable. And if you're still having trouble sleeping, you may want to try vagus nerve stimulation at home with a device like Xen by Neuvana.
There are many different things that can affect your sleep. Everyone is different regarding sleep and what works for them, so there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Just remember to be patient and allow yourself the time to adjust to new sleep habits. With a little effort, you'll be able to sleep through the night and wake up feeling refreshed and well-rested.