If you’re one of those people who falls asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow, you’re a special breed of whom everyone is jealous, and you should probably exit out of this article. But if you’re one of those who tosses and turns endlessly, you’re definitely not alone. Sleep deprivation can have several causes; some are more likely to occur than others. While stress and insomnia are both common reasons for a lack of sleep, your own poor habits may actually be to blame.
1. You’re too drunk
You may not feel drunk, but having a few glasses of wine before bed can be enough to mess with your circadian rhythm. Yes, people tend to fall asleep faster with a buzz, but they don’t tend to stay asleep. Too much alcohol causes a disruption in the body’s REM (rapid eye movement) cycle, which is the part of the sleep cycle where your body restores itself. When this cycle is disrupted, you may wake up sooner than you planned or feel insanely groggy even if you got seven or more hours of sleep. Stick to only one drink per night with dinner.
2. You went to bed on an empty stomach
Many people try to avoid eating at night because some studies have shown it promotes weight gain. While eating a full meal before bed isn’t necessarily good for you, neither is going to sleep on an empty stomach. Hunger pangs are your body’s way of telling your brain you need something. This makes the brain restless because it wants to fulfill that need, which means it’s difficult to get a good night’s sleep. A poor night’s sleep can lead to other health problems, such as a slower metabolism and weakened immune system. Eat a low-calorie snack before bed to get the most shuteye possible.
3. You drank another cup of coffee to power through the afternoon
It’s 3:30 p.m. and you’re itching to finish the day’s project before you clock out. Reaching for that cup of coffee may seem harmless so many hours before bed, but caffeine stays in your system much longer than you probably realized. The latest you should be drinking coffee during the day is around 2 p.m., but the time actually varies per person. For those who don’t feel sensitive to caffeine, have your last cup of joe no sooner than six hours before you go to sleep. If you’re one who gets jittery from the drug, you may need to stop consuming caffeine closer to 12 hours before bed. While you may not feel the effects of a cup of coffee a few hours after you have it, it’s still filtering through your body and can make you restless by the time bedtime rolls around.
4. You hit the gym too late in the day
You’ve probably had those days where you end up staying at work later than planned and don’t get to the gym until after your normal hours. Or maybe you prefer to wait until nighttime because there are fewer people exercising. Whatever the reason, working out too close to bedtime may be affecting your sleep. Your adrenaline is still high after a workout, and your brain is very active. For some, working out at any time of day isn’t an issue, but for others, it can make it difficult to fall asleep. If you’re someone who works out right before bed, try switching to a morning exercise routine to see if that helps.
5. You spent too much time on Instagram before bed
This one may be obvious, but that’s because it’s a huge culprit when it comes to sleep troubles. Staring at the computer, television, or phone screen just before heading to sleep is a bad idea because the blue light emitted keeps your brain awake. The light confuses your brain, and it has difficulty realizing it’s time to go to sleep. Other things, such as checking email, can get your brain moving with all of the tasks you need to complete the next day and make it difficult to wind down. Try shutting the phone off an hour earlier and reading a book before bed.