7 reasons why you can’t fall asleep

photo credit: Flickr user RelaxingMusic

Sleep is a vital part of your day, but if you are like the majority of Americans, you aren’t getting enough. If falling asleep is troublesome for you, see below for several common reasons why you may have trouble actually catching those Z’s.

1. Bed sharing: It may be your child, your pet, or your partner, but whoever it is–they could be disrupting your sleep through snoring, kicking, or taking up more than their fair share of the bed. This is, of course, a personal matter, but if your sleep is being compromised, consider finding an alternative sleeping arrangement if needed.

2. Total exhaustion: If you spent your whole work day dreaming of your bed, you may find when you get there, you have trouble falling asleep. Spend some time winding down in the evening and don’t skip your bedtime “routine” if you have one–even if you are exhausted.

3. Dinner or dessert is keeping you awake: Eating a heavy, protein-laden dinner, a chocolate dessert, or spicy foods can keep you awake at bedtime. If you plan on eating a rich meal, try to dine earlier in the evening so you have plenty of time to digest before bedtime.

4. Temperature problems: Ideal sleep occurs between the temperatures of 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit, according to sleep experts. Temperatures above or below can be disruptive. It isn’t just the overall room temperature, but those with cold feet took even longer to fall asleep–so take the extra time to put on socks if needed!

5. Quiet: Most of us think we need total silence to sleep, however if any small sound occurs during the night, it can wake us up and cause a startle reflex. White noise is proven effective by sleep experts. Try a white noise machine or white noise app on your smart phone for consistent, non-disruptive sound while you sleep.

6. Inconsistent sleep schedule: It is tempting to sleep in on a day off of work, but deviating from your natural routine can actually have the same effects as jet lag. Try to maintain a consistent wake up and sleep routine for an easier transition into bedtime.

7. Electronics: The glow of your cell phone, laptop, or other electronics is proven to disrupt sleep. A text message in the middle of the night may brighten the room enough to startle you awake, not to mention the temptation to read said text message, further disrupting your night. Keep your TV off, your laptop stowed in another room, and evaluate the location of your cell phone. If you are tempted to check it, place it in another room. If you must keep it next to your bed, turn the brightness of the screen down as far as it goes and snooze away.

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About the author

A practicing dentist since 1982, Dr. Gary Imm, provides advanced cosmetic dentistry, including smile makeovers, sedation, implant and TMJ services. He is committed to progressive, extraordinary care for his guests. All Smiles Dental Care trains at least 300 hours each year at such prestigious centers as the Las Vegas Institute of Advanced Dentistry. (LVI)