Getting enough sleep is paramount for overall health and wellness. However, quality matters as much as quantity— if not more. Many people aren’t aware that they aren’t getting sufficient sleep, as disruptions throughout the night are subtle and difficult to detect.
Figuring out what’s keeping you up at night is the first step in getting better rest. Here are four surprising issues that may secretly be impacting your sleep.
1. Undiagnosed Sleep Disorders
There’s a common misconception that sleep disorders are obvious and easy to detect. However, if you sleep alone or have subtle signs of an underlying issue, you may be none the wiser.
For example, loud snoring and sleep apnea often go hand in hand. Still, plenty of people with apnea don’t snore at all. Instead, they have headaches in the morning, feel drowsy all day, and have a recurring sore throat. The thought of taking an at home sleep apnea test might not occur to them.
Insomnia can also be subtle. While some have difficulty falling asleep others wake up constantly throughout the night or too early in the morning. Some people aren’t aware of nighttime wakings; they just feel tired the next day.
Sleep tests and trackers can help determine if an undiagnosed sleep disorder is impacting your rest.
Seeing something so healthy and celebrated on this list might be a surprise, but exercise can have a detrimental impact on sleep.
One of the benefits of exercise is the release of mood-boosting endorphins. These hormones create a sense of euphoria and energy. While exercise is one of the best ways to improve sleep quality, poor timing can have the opposite effect.
If you exercise in the afternoon or evening and struggle to wind down or stay asleep, consider shifting to a morning workout instead.
3. Noise Pollution
Humans have evolved exponentially since our ancestors slept in caves and worried about late-night predator attacks. However, the core parts of our brains haven’t gotten the memo.
You might feel as though you can sleep through everything, but that doesn’t mean your body and mind sleep well. Disruptive noises like the house settling or a car going by elicit a subconscious reaction that disrupts sleep patterns. It’s your brain’s way of keeping you alive throughout the night.
You can override this issue by introducing a white noise machine or fan in your room. This consistent layer of unengaging audio can override subconscious stimulation so you can sleep better.
4. The Temperature
Recent studies have shown that room temperature also impacts sleep quality. Your body temperature naturally drops by a few degrees as you enter a restful state. While you may not fully wake up if you get overheated, you’ll likely become restless in an attempt to get cool.
The ideal temperature for sleep is between 60-67° F. Consider programming your thermostat to automatically cool down during the night or adjusting the temperature manually. In addition to sleeping better, you’ll also save on heating costs.
Things like caffeine, stress, alcohol, and old mattresses are usually the first consideration when assessing sleep problems. However, these subtle issues also contribute. Assess your environment and habits to determine which sleep disruptors you can fix for good.