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10 Things Stealing Your Sleep and What to Do About It

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The other night my daughter kept coughing and couldn’t fall asleep. Finally I laid down with her and within twenty minutes she was out. When I came out from her room it was late. I knew I should go to bed, but I also knew that even if I did I wouldn’t fall asleep. My husband was already out so I went downstairs into our living room. For several hours I laid there on the couch wide awake while the weight of every unresolved problem in our lives bared down on me. Most of those hours I spent crying, until finally at four in the morning I fell into bed worn out. Have you ever felt like that?

Have you wondered what the causes of insomnia are? Are you having trouble getting the sleep you need and want? There may be some simple things you can do about it. Here are 10 things that could be keeping you from sleeping and what you can do about them.

1. Electronics

It’s almost impossible to get away from backlit screens and beeping gadgets in the home, but good sleep demands that you do. Turn off the TV and put your phone on silent an hour before bedtime, and resist the urge to bring your laptop into the bedroom for a little late-night shopping. Your teenagers should follow the same guidelines. (We actually recommend having your teen “park” their phone for the night somewhere besides their bedroom to prevent texting past bedtime.)

2. Caffeine

Caffeine is a stimulant, and some are more sensitive to its effects than others. Try eliminating caffeinated beverages after mid-afternoon to avoid nighttime wakefulness.

3. Temperature

Is your bedroom too hot? Too cold? Try adjusting the temperature. Many fitful sleepers report resting best in a room a few degrees cooler than the normal daytime thermostat setting.

4. Daytime Napping

If you must grab a cat nap to get through the day, keep it under an hour and don’t nap after 3 pm.

5. Evening Exercise

While exercise in general contributes to better sleep, exercising too late in the day can actually disturb it. Try to wrap up your workout at least 3-4 hours before bedtime.

6. Hunger or Fullness

Going to bed hungry can make falling asleep tough, but so can eating a full meal right before crashing. If you’re hungry late in the evening, have a small snack, and make it something easily digestible, like bread or cereal.

7. Alcohol

That late night glass of wine may make you feel temporarily drowsy, but it actually works against allowing your body to settle into the deep sleep you need to feel fully rested. Treat it like caffeine and don’t imbibe after dinner.

8. Stress

Your mind needs to slow down in the couple of hours before bedtime, so avoid activities that induce stress in the evening.  Instead, try a hot bath to relax before getting in your PJs.

9. Erratic Schedules

Going to bedtime at different times every night keeps your body’s internal clock confused. Establish a regular bedtime and wake-up time and stick to it.

10. Medications

Certain over-the-counter and prescription medications can cause insomnia. If you take a particular drug regularly, talk with your doctor to see if it may be part of your sleep problem.

What do you think the cause of insomnia is for you?


When you are trying to go to sleep what types of things do you think about?

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