11 Sneaky Things That Are Messing With Your Sleep

11 Sneaky Things That Are Messing With Your Sleep Hero Image
Photo: Stocksy

Sometimes we know exactly why we can’t sleep — a looming work deadline, a late night out with friends, or binge watching Netflix — but sometimes it’s not so obvious what’s sabotaging our slumber. Here are 11 sneaky reasons you’re tossing and turning at night — plus, smart ways to snooze more soundly:

1. Your room’s too warm.

Sure, that sounds cozy, but it’s better to keep your bedroom cool if you want to get the shut-eye you crave. The ideal sleeping temp: 60 to 68 degrees according to sleep experts. Cooler temperatures help decrease your body’s core temperature, which makes you feel sleepy. Temperatures above or below this range may lead to restlessness, so check the thermostat before you hit the hay.

2. Your bed needs an upgrade.

Were you still using a flip phone the last time you bought a new mattress? It might be time for an upgrade. Swapping mattresses that were 10 years old with a new one resulted in significantly improved sleep quality and reduced back pain, research shows. Experts recommend replacing your mattress every eight years to ensure you’re getting the support you need.

Worried about buyer’s remorse? Casper offers a 100-day trial period, so if you’re not happy with your Zzz’s, you can return the mattress for a full refund.

3. You’re spending too much time on social media.

Counting likes and tweets instead of sheep? People who spend a significant amount of time each week on social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and YouTube are three times more likely to experience sleep disturbances than those who check these sites less frequently, new research shows. Not only do the bright lights from electronics screw with our circadian rhythms, social media may also cause emotional and cognitive stimulation that keeps us up past our bedtime.

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Vow to log off all social media accounts at least an hour before bed.

4. You’re unwinding with wine.

Sure, that nightcap may feel like the perfect end to a busy day, but drinking alcohol can actually rob you of rest. Turns out that while alcohol does appear to help us fall asleep faster, research shows it reduces the amount of time we spend in REM sleep and makes us more likely to wake during the night, leaving us feeling groggy the next day. Skip happy hour or limit yourself to one libation to get a good night’s rest.

5. You’re stressed out.

Anxiety over money, work, and relationship woes can leave us feeling wired, so it should come as no big surprise that people with chronic stress report getting less sleep and poorer quality sleep.

To calm your mind at the end of the day, create a relaxing evening routine such as a warm bath, gentle yoga, or guided mediation.

6. Your medication is messing with your sleep.

Pain relievers can be another sneaky source of caffeine, while prescription drugs for things like depression and high blood pressure have been linked to insomnia. Read drug labels carefully and consult your doc about potential side effects before taking any new medication.

7. Your dessert is keeping you awake.

Staying away from coffee at night is a no-brainer, but another sneaky source of caffeine could leave you buzzing at night: chocolate. The stimulant is found naturally in cocoa beans. Hershey’s dark chocolate bars can clock in at a whopping 20 mg — almost as much as a can of soda.

Avoid eating dark chocolate too close to bedtime, and skip coffee-flavored ice cream, which can also give you a java jolt.

8. There’s a full moon.

Folklore has long touted the powers of the moon, and new research now suggests that lunar cycles could actually affect our sleep cycles.

During a full moon, study subjects took longer to fall asleep, had diminished levels of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, and brain activity related to deep sleep dropped by 30 percent. Experts speculate that the body could have a built-in biological clock that’s affected by the moon, similar to the one that regulates circadian rhythms.

During the next full moon, get to bed earlier to maximize your sack time.

9. You’re using the wrong beauty products. (Seriously!)

Mint-scented face wash, oils, and lotions could inadvertently sidetrack your sleep. Research shows peppermint contains properties that are stimulating, making people feel less sleepy after smelling the aroma. Opt for a soothing scent like lavender, which has been shown to help people sleep more deeply and wake up feeling more refreshed.

10. You’re eating the wrong dinner.

A heavy meal filled with acid-producing foods can lead to painful nighttime indigestion. As many as 1 in 4 Americans suffer heartburn at night, which disrupts sleep and causes excessive sleepiness during the day. Avoid eating big meals too close to bedtime, and skip greasy foods and acidic foods like tomatoes and citrus fruits, which are common triggers of evening indigestion.

11. You’ve got cold feet.

Still tossing and turning? Slip on some socks. Researchers found that warm feet are the best predictor of the body’s readiness for sleep — even more so than diet, light, or melatonin.