Science has shown many times over that you can’t function without enough sleep. And yet, sometimes it’s hard to fall asleep even if you’re trying your best to get the hours needed to maintain good health. If you’re having trouble falling asleep or tend to wake up in the middle of the night, these five little-known factors may be what are stealing your sleep:
Certain type of medications causes insomnia. Dr Sin Gwen Li, a consultant from the Department of Psychiatry at Singapore General Hospital, says the list includes anti-hypertension meds like beta blockers and ace inhibitors. Cholesterol-lowering agents like statins, corticosteroids, non-sedating antihistamines and certain anti-depressants and asthma meds also rob you of sleep. Another culprit is the stimulant pseudo-ephedrine that’s found in some cold relief meds. Just as you would avoid drinking caffeinated drinks like coffee or tea later in the day, be wary of caffeine in cold relief meds as they tend to rob you of sleep.
2.Your room is the wrong temperature
Room temperature is crucial to sleep quality, says Dr Raymond Choy, a general practitioner at Raffles Medical Group. Use a thermostat to check if your room is the perfect temperature for sleeping (which is between 15 to 20 degree Celsius). When you go to sleep, your body temperature gradually drops in order to promote deep, continuous sleep. If the room is too hot or cold, your body struggles to achieve this “set point”. This is one of the reasons why eating or exercising too close to bedtime can affect your sleep as both activities raise the core temperature of your body and makes it harder for your body to cool down.
3.Stimulating pre-bedtime activities
You already know that spending time on your laptop, computer, tablet or smartphone close to bedtime can delay your ability to wind down, and potentially disrupt your sleep. But Dr Sin warns against other sleep disrupters, including reading a book you simply can’t put down, or watching a horror, action or thriller film too close to bedtime. These activities increase your body’s production of adrenaline, which has a stimulating effect on your body and can make it hard for you to nod off. Similarly, having a heated discussion with your spouse or kids keeps you from enjoying a good night’s rest.
Even if your bed is comfortable and your room is has the right temperature, your sleep can be affected by factors like hubby’s snoring or talking in his sleep, or even if he wakes up frequently to use the bathroom, says Dr Sin. Noise from traffic or the neighbours can also prevent you from sleeping well. Ideally, your room should feel like a cave, quiet, dark and cool. So you should do whatever you can to create the perfect sleep environment, be it closing your windows at night or investing in blackout curtains.
5.Your mattress is not good enough
A good mattress is essential for quality sleep, says Dr Choy. You’ll want a mattress that offers good support. Soft, firm, or somewhere in the middle, the choice is yours, as long as it feels comfortable and allows you to toss and turn easily. And make sure your mattress doesn’t sag under your weight, as it can contribute to poor posture. If you feel aches and pain all over your body when you wake up, your mattress is the wrong firmness.