The Most Common Reasons We Fail To Get Enough Sleep

In our fast paced world with smartphones at our side at all times, iPads in bed and stressful work schedules, Americans are simply not getting enough sleep.  Insufficient sleep is now officially a public health epidemic.  It’s estimated that 50-70 million US adults have a sleep or wakefulness disorder.

What the heck is going on?

We know that hectic work schedules and the use of electronic devices late at night are disrupting sleep patterns.  But there’s other factors at play as well.  Here’s 5 of the most common reasons we’re just not getting the sleep we need.

1.  Lack of Support.

Lack of proper spinal support is a big one where the side effects may not show until much later.  When your back isn’t properly aligned and supported at night, the muscles along your spine actually end up working much harder throughout the night.  This can often lead to mild to severe back pain in the morning.

If you find that you have to hop in a warm shower and let hot water run on your back in the morning to find some relief, this is likely because you aren’t being properly supported in your current mattress.

This can also lead to neck pain.  When your back isn’t supported correctly, your neck tends to suffer as well, so if you find you carry a lot of tension in your neck, this may be another sign that you aren’t in ideal alignment at night.

Your pillow is a big part of this, I personally believe your pillow accounts for about 30% of your overall comfort level at night.

43.7% of adults aged between 18-25 unintentionally fell asleep during the day at least once in the past month. (source)

Many mattresses, especially older ones, are built with lots of layers of heat-trapping fibers, fire retardant barriers and synthetic covers.  These tend to trap and hold body heat, which affects the temperature you need to be at in order to sleep comfortably.

Your sheets are a big part of this (never use synthetic sheets and always use 100% cotton) but most of this is your mattress.  Your mattress should have a breathable cover, with breathable layering underneath the cover to allow your temperature to be not too hot or too cold.

When you’re truly supported and comfortable and your body temperature is well regulated, you really start getting much better sleep.

Video:  What Is The Best Mattress?

3.  Pressure Points.

“Pressure points” are used to describe pressure applied against the skin and the tiny capillaries in your skin.  This is what causes you to become uncomfortable and turn to a different position to find relief.  Problem is, when this happens too much you toss and turn throughout the night which can interrupt the deeper stages of your sleep cycle, and you don’t wake up as refreshed.

The best solution is to find a mattress that keeps you in proper alignment without creating pressure points along the body.  This isn’t an easy task, incidentally.  Manufacturers have been trying to accomplish this for years, and to date, one of the best solutions for this is through the use of memory foam.

Memory foam slowly contours to every curve of your body, which enables you to stay in each position much longer before you get the urge to turn over.  By tossing and turning much less, your sleep cycle is much less interrupted, and as a result, your sleep is much better.

4.  Motion Transfer.  

One of the more common causes for couples not getting the sleep they need is that they are constantly being awakened from their partner’s movements in bed…tossing and turning throughout the night.  Their movements are “transferring” throughout the bed, hence the phrase “motion transfer.”

If you’re a light sleeper, even the slightest movements can be enough to awaken you.  This makes falling asleep take a lot longer than it should and in some cases can even lead to an increase in stress levels.  You can easily get stressed out from worrying you’ll be able to get enough sleep, which of course often does lead to difficulty falling asleep.  Sort of a catch-22.

If you’re on an old, clunky mattress that feels like a trampoline when your partner turns to their side, this is likely causing a significant decrease in your quality of sleep.  Many people are actually unaware of how many times they’re waking up throughout the night because of motion transfer, and are amazed at how much better they sleep when they finally decide to invest in a new stable, “motion-free” mattress.

5.  Noise.

Snoring is by far one of the biggest noise complaints with partners.  If your partner snores, your sleep is drastically affected.

I’m a fairly light sleeper myself, and I used to live in an apartment complex where the person above me was an extremely loud snorer, so much so that it vibrated the walls!  Needless to say I was THRILLED when I finally moved out of there…

Snoring isn’t always an easy fix, but there are actually some pretty promising natural treatments for snoring that I’ll write more about in future articles and videos.  Until then, the best advice I have if your partner snores is….try some earplugs!  They work!

– Sean

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