Against all odds, you put down Tinder, turned off Netflix, and went to bed at a responsible time. As you stretched out contentedly in your sheets, you were confident you’d feel energised and alert in the morning. You quietly congratulated yourself on nailing this adulthood thing as you drifted off to dreamland.
Then the alarm went off. You jolted out of slumber and quickly realised you weren’t feeling refreshed at all. In fact, you felt more like roadkill. What gives?
There are several possible reasons why you’re still tired or sore, even after a full night’s sleep.
#1 You’re Staring At Screens
Overdosing on electronics is a common cause of sleep problems. The blue light emitted by your smartphone, laptop, tablet, television, e-reader, game console, etc, tricks your brain into believing it’s daytime and suppresses the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin. The result is poor sleep at night and feeling rundown during the day.
The good news is that techno-overload is one of the easiest sleep issues to diagnose. The bad news is that it’s one of the hardest habits to break. Experts recommend avoiding all electronic devices 90 minutes before bedtime.
#2 Your Positioning Isn’t Optimal
Are you a side sleeper or a stomach sleeper? Do you prefer fetal position or a full-blown starfish pose in the centre of the bed? How you arrange your body affects the quality of your rest. The most important thing is to maintain the integrity of the spine. Your back and neck should be in healthy alignment to prevent soreness upon waking (or pain that wakes you up during the night).
Experiment with pillow size and thickness to find one that keeps your neck in ideal alignment during your favourite sleeping position. If you suffer from a sore back in the morning and sleep on your side, you may also want to snooze with a pillow between your legs to keep your hips aligned properly.
#3 You Aren’t Eating Or Drinking Right
It goes without saying that caffeine consumed too close to bedtime will disrupt your sleep, but it’s not the only culprit. Sugar is also a stimulant that can increase alertness at a time when your body should be winding down. In fact, any late-night food can potentially disturb sleep by causing heartburn or simply making it uncomfortable to lay down. Your best bet is to stop eating several hours before you hit the sack.
And then there’s alcohol. A nightcap might seem like the perfect way to bid farewell to a day, but studies have shown that boozing before snoozing prevents you from getting the deep, restorative sleep you need. Be careful not to overindulge and, like food, stop a few hours before bed.
#4 You Grind Your Teeth
Do you wake up with headaches? An aching jaw? They’re signs you might be clenching or grinding your teeth during the night. Visit a dentist for a mouth guard to shield your pearly whites from damage and educate yourself on at-home treatment methods. Teeth grinding symptoms may be reduced by lowering stress, drinking more water, consciously relaxing the face and jaw throughout the day, avoiding alcohol and caffeine, massaging the neck and face to relieve tension, and applying a warm, damp cloth to the jaw area before bed.
#5 You Have A Sneaky Sleep Disorder
You may be struggling with an undiagnosed sleep disorder, like periodic limb movements or sleep apnea, and not realise it. Individuals with sleep apnea repeatedly stop breathing during the night, leading to poor sleep quality and waking up feeling exhausted despite theoretically getting ample shuteye. A sleep study is the best way to determine if you have a sleep disorder, so ask your doctor for a referral to a sleep specialist for diagnosis.