We generally assume that many of the people visiting SleepBetter have some kind of sleep problem. After all, if you slept perfectly and had brand new bedding that was perfect for you, you might not have looked for us! But, what are the most common everyday issues that keep us from sleeping? The New Zealand website Stuff put together a great list of what it considers the seven most common sleep problems, and we agree. Below are the problems they list, along with our comments and tips on how to overcome them. As always, we recommend you discuss any and all sleep problems with your doctor, to rule out a medical reason. To read a lot more from Stuff, check out their article here.
The Under Six Hours Sleeper
This is a pretty simple situation. The Under Six Hours Sleeper simply isn’t getting enough sleep. The optimal amount of sleep is between seven and nine hours per night, with most people needing between seven and eight. While there are a very small number of people in the world who are able to function perfectly with a lot less, the overwhelming majority of those who get less than six hours of sleep are simply very sleep deprived. Sleep deprivation can bring about a variety of problems. If you currently get less than six or seven hours of sleep per night, make it a goal to either go to bed earlier or sleep later. For some, this may be a huge lifestyle change, but it’s worth it.
This is one item on the list that in most cases isn’t always an actual problem. Napping has been shown to increase productivity and make learning more efficient. However, naps should generally be limited to 20 or 30 minutes. After that amount of time, you’ll be far enough into your sleep cycle that waking will be difficult. In fact, you’ll find yourself much more groggy than before your nap. If you find that you need an hour long nap each day to get by, it’s clear that you’re not sleeping enough at night.
The Disturbed Sleeper
The Disturbed Sleeper falls asleep easily enough, but can’t seem to stay asleep. The reasons for this wakefulness are varied. If you wake due to pain or discomfort, be sure to discuss it with your doctor. If no underlying physical problems are causing you to wake, you may simply need new or more appropriate bedding. Check out our Recommended Sleep Products page for ideas.
The Sofa Sleeper
Most of us have nodded off in front of the TV before. But, if it happens frequently, you may need to adjust your evenings. Sleeping in front of the TV is not undisturbed sleep. Studies have shown that those who sleep with the television on experience micro-wakenings that disturb the sleep cycle. Additionally, the blue light from your TV can actually signal your brain that it’s time to be awake. If you’re watching TV and are tired, turn off the tube and get into bed.
The Binge Sleeper
While sleeping a lot on the weekends to catch up on lost sleep from the week is better than not trying to catch up at all, it’s not the best way to go. The Stuff article quoted a sleep expert who had an excellent explanation of how this really doesn’t work. Dr Neil Stanley said, “You wouldn’t eat junk food all week, then only eat lettuce at the weekend to undo the damage.” The better policy, obviously, is to sleep well (or eat well) as much as possible. Keeping a regular schedule, whether it’s a weekday or weekend, is a good way to start.
Sleeping with your significant other can sometimes be a problem. Many people are simply incompatible sleepers. While they may not have started out that way, many couples find that their significant other begins to snore more frequently, toss and turn, or have problems with restless leg syndrome (RLS). All of these things can impact YOUR sleep as well as theirs. If your bed partner is keeping you from sleeping, you may have to make a decision about whether co-sleeping is the way for you to go.
The Vampire Sleeper
When it comes to sleep, too much of a good thing IS possible. It’s been determined that getting too much sleep can be as bad as not getting enough. Feeling like you can’t get enough sleep could be a sign of a medical condition, and should be discussed with your doctor.
As always, use the SleepBetter search bar at the top of the page to find information about what’s keeping you from sleeping. If you don’t find answers, you can always contact us to ask your sleep question!