Have you ever woken up feeling exhausted, although you slept for seven to eight hours? Or you often find yourself tossing and turning, unable to fall asleep no matter how tired you are. Perhaps the quality of your sleep is to blame.
Sleep quality refers to the overall restfulness and therapeutic properties of your sleep, not just the quantity of hours spent in bed. It’s vital to assess the quality of your sleep, as poor sleep can lead to various health issues and impair your ability to function. It also affects your mood, energy levels, and quality of life.
You may even struggle with common sleep disturbances, such as insomnia, nightmares, parasomnias, snoring, and sleep apnea. These can further interfere with sleep quality by disrupting and preventing deep, restful sleep.
So, what causes poor sleep quality?
Various factors can affect sleep quality. This article will explore six of the most common causes and how to address them.
1. An Uncomfortable Mattress
You might not have thought your mattress could affect your sleep quality, but it can. Sleeping on a hard mattress can make it difficult to get comfortable and find a restful position.
Likewise, sleeping on an old mattress that has lost its support and cushioning can cause pain and pressure points that prevent you from falling or staying asleep. Such mattresses also tend to trap heat, making it hard to keep your body cool enough for optimal sleep.
Other mattress issues, such as springiness, lumpiness, and sagging, can also interfere with sleep. Therefore, invest in a quality mattress that is comfortable and supportive to get the best sleep possible. If you don’t know which mattress is right for you, learn how to test a mattress to find the perfect fit.
2. Unhealthy Diet and Lifestyle Habits
Your diet is the fuel that your body needs to rest and rejuvenate. Eating unhealthy or processed foods can rob your body of the essential nutrients, such as magnesium and potassium, needed for proper sleep. Consuming fatty meats, junk food, and sugary snacks can also reduce your body’s metabolism and may cause nighttime awakenings due to indigestion and heartburn.
Besides, eating close to bedtime or overeating before bed can keep your body working instead of resting. It can also cause digestive problems during sleep.
Your lifestyle habits can affect your sleep too. Exercising late in the day, drinking coffee and other stimulants close to bedtime, using electronic devices before bed, sleeping with the lights on, and working late into the night can all interrupt your natural sleep-wake cycle and make it difficult to get enough restful sleep.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, review your eating and lifestyle habits. Make sure you’re eating a well-balanced diet and avoiding late-night snacks. Keep your bedroom environment dark and cool, and avoid using screens for an hour or two before bed. Exercise regularly earlier in the day, and cut back on alcohol and caffeine.
These simple changes in your daily habits can make a big difference in getting the restful sleep you need.
When your mind is under stress, your body releases hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline that activate the fight-or-flight response. This upped alertness can make it hard to fall asleep and stay asleep.
According to the latest survey done by American Psychological Association, 43% of adults reported sleep issues due to stress.
Fortunately, you can take steps to manage and reduce stress. Exercise is a great way to help decrease your stress levels, as it releases endorphins that boost mood and help with relaxation. Additionally, meditation and yoga are excellent ways to reduce stress. You can also practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises and progressive muscle relaxation to help you unwind and clear your mind.
4. Physical Pain
Whether it’s a sore back from sitting too long or an acute injury, physical pain can be a major barrier to getting the restful sleep that your body needs.
If you’re in pain, it’s essential to address the source of your discomfort. Your first step should be to check with your doctor or healthcare provider to ensure there are no underlying causes for your pain.
You can also look for natural remedies and lifestyle changes that can help alleviate physical pain. Eating an anti-inflammatory diet, exercising regularly, and engaging in gentle stretches can help reduce pain.
If those methods don’t work, several over-the-counter medications can help reduce inflammation and relieve pain. However, remember that these medications come with possible side effects, so it’s essential to understand how they work and consult your doctor before taking any.
5. Mental Health Issues
Mental health is the cornerstone of overall wellness and can significantly influence how well you rest at night. Poor mental health can cause various physical symptoms, such as headaches, fatigue, muscle tension, and digestive problems, leading to difficulty sleeping.
Fortunately, mental health issues are highly treatable. It’s essential to seek help from a qualified professional who can accurately diagnose and recommend the best treatment plan for your needs. It may involve a combination of psychotherapy, medications, lifestyle modifications, and other strategies.
Taking any medications or other drugs for an illness, injury, or other condition could affect your ability to get a good night’s sleep. Many drugs have sedative and hypnotic effects, making falling or staying asleep harder. Some may even have the opposite effect, causing you to become more alert and interfering with your sleep cycle. On the other hand, some drugs increase the symptoms of an overactive bladder, leading to frequent awakenings during the night as you feel the urge to urinate.
What you can do:
Talk to your doctor about any medications you take and their potential side effects. Look for alternatives that don’t have sedative or hypnotic effects. If that’s not feasible, ask whether there are any lifestyle changes or other treatments you can use to help counteract the medication’s effects on your sleep.
A well-rested night’s sleep is essential for overall wellness and quality of life. It can help you feel energized, improve your mood and cognitive functioning, and reduce stress. On the other hand, poor sleep quality can lead to various physical, mental, and emotional problems. Poor lifestyle habits, unhealthy diet, physical pain, mental health issues, stress, and drug use can also affect sleep quality. Besides, an uncomfortable mattress, such as an aging or worn-out one, can also be the reason you wake up feeling groggy or unrested with an aching body.
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