Often times, figuring out why you are struggling to sleep at night can be a process of trial and error. To aid you in this process, here are 3 common mistakes that may be disrupting your sleep:
1. Overstimulation before bedtime
If you are like most people, your workday doesn’t end when you leave the office. You are constantly checking emails, responding to calls, and reviewing slides right up until your bedtime—which can lead to overstimulation.
Additionally, you may overstimulate yourself by watching television shows with violence and/or horror elements, by reading the news, or by getting into an argument.
Engaging in these activities close to your bedtime may seem like no big deal, but this overstimulation within 1 hour of your bedtime can significantly disrupt your sleep.
My suggestion is that you avoid all electronics within 1 hour of your bedtime. In place of your electronics, establish a nightly routine that focuses on relaxation. As part of practicing good sleep hygiene, you may take a warm bath, read a book, or knit and/or crotchet.
2. Staying in bed too long
This mistake may surprise you, but staying in bed too long can make it harder to fall asleep. Here is how this mistake commonly plays out:
- You lie down to sleep, but your anxious thoughts, or perhaps your chronic pain, keeps you awake.
- After 20 to 30 minutes, you still can’t sleep—so now you begin to worry about falling asleep.
- You can’t force yourself to fall asleep. Instead, your worries makes it harder to sleep; and you end up lying in bed hour after hour.
The simple solution to staying in bed too long is to get out of bed if you can’t fall asleep after 20 to 30 minutes.
Instead of worrying, try engaging in a soothing activity until you feel sleepy, then you can return to bed. If you find that you are unable to fall asleep on a regular basis, make sure to speak with your doctor—as she or he can help you identify the factors that are keeping you awake.
3. Inconsistent sleep schedule
You lead a busy life—so you likely try to get sleep whenever you can. For example, you may only get 5 or 6 hours of sleep a night during the week, so to make up for it you sleep as much as possible on the weekends. Or perhaps you don’t have a set bedtime, so one night you go to bed at 10 p.m., and the next night at 1 a.m.
An inconsistent sleep schedule can wreak havoc on your ability to both fall asleep and stay asleep. So your best bet when it comes to getting good sleep is to establish a regular time for both going to bed at night and waking up in the morning.
This means that if you struggle to fall asleep one night you should still wake up at your decided time the following morning. Furthermore, you should also try to wake up at the same time on the weekends as you do during your work week.
If you are constantly making any of the above sleep mistakes, you can begin by cutting one mistake out of your life at a time. As you do so, you are likely to find that you wake up feeling more refreshed and ready for your day.