One of the most commonly accepted signs of a sleep apnea is the feeling of being constantly tired. But, just because you feel sleepy throughout the day doesn’t necessarily mean you have a sleep apnea. There are many other sleep or lifestyle habits that could be inhibiting your ability to sleep well at night. While this collection is in no way all-encompassing, we’ve put together a list of ten things that might be impairing your ability to sleep well at night:
- You don’t take time to relax – Work and school can put many levels on stress on our daily lives, and with busy, “go-go-go” schedules, we need a healthy release for the stress we experience. If you get to bedtime and realized you can’t sleep, try a guided meditation routine, light yoga, or another quiet, relaxing activity.
- You’re not active enough – We’re not saying you need to start training for a marathon, but working in some form of exercise each day, even just a walk around the neighborhood or down the street in the morning or evening can make sleep easier to come by at night.
- Electronics find their way to bed with you – The temptation is strong to bring your phone, tablet, computer, to bed with you; even most bedrooms these days have a television. The blue-light these devices emit (read more on that here) stimulates the brain, keeping you awake when you should be sleeping.
- Your bedroom is too hot, too cold or too bright – When it comes to sleep, cooler is always better. The sweet spot for ultimate sleep conditions is somewhere between 64 and 67 degrees, and you should aim to keep the room as dark as possible. We’d recommend using blackout shades to get the job if you live on a well-lit street or neighborhood.
- Your routine is all off – We are all guilty of social jet lag, which is when we stay up a little later on a Saturday night with friends and then sleep in on Sunday to make up the difference. It’s a great sleep practice to get up and go to bed at the same time every night.
- You’re drinking the wrong things before bed – There’s a reason Happy Hour occurs after a long day at work; cocktails can be a soothing way to unwind. Even though you’ll feel relaxed after a glass or two, it won’t help you fall asleep, but instead actually affect your REM cycle sleep.
- You might have a sleep apnea – As we said earlier, constantly feeling sleepy could be a sign you’re suffering from a sleep apnea. We recommend talking with a sleep doctor to learn about your sleep and lifestyle habits to make a proper diagnosis.
- There’s another health issue at play – There are many other health conditions that could be affecting your ability to sleep well, such as diabetes, high-blood pressure, obesity or heart disease. A number of prescription drugs you may be taking for the conditions listed, among others, may also affect your sleep.
- Your diet might need some help – If you’re regularly binging on high-fat junk food, this could be affecting your sleep. In turn, when you’re not sleeping enough, the hormone leptin (which controls appetite) increases in the body, making you feel hungrier than you really are, making you eat more.
- You’re addicted to caffeine – While many of us need a cup of coffee is the morning to jumpstart the morning, are you aware of how much caffeine you’re taking in every day? Between coffee, tea, soda or even some sweets, keep in mind how much you’re consuming every day and avoid your favorite caffeinated drinks within four to five hours of bed time.
With or without a sleep apnea, feeling groggy and just plain unproductive during the day is no fun. If you do constantly find yourself feeling sleepy throughout the day, put an end to that feeling by talking with one of our board-certified sleep doctors. They will listen to your current sleep and lifestyle habits to learn about what could be hindering you from sleeping well each night, and develop ways for you to sleep well and awake refreshed. Call us to set up an appointment at 855.346.8899, or send us a question that’s on your mind through our easy online form.