Spending hours tossing and turning at night when trying to fall asleep is uncomfortable, disruptive, and downright frustrating. Tossing and turning at night can cause a decrease in sleep quality and quality of life. Sleep disorders such as anxiety, stress, and overstimulation are just some of the factors that can cause an increase in tossing and turning at night.
What causes tossing and turning at night?
- Feeling anxious. Anxiety disorder can increase anxiety at night, making it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep.
- Feeling stressed. Stress can cause mental and physical symptoms that may make it harder to fall asleep. Due to stress, tense muscles make it difficult for the body to relax at night.
- Being overstimulated. The blue light emitted from phones, TVs, and other electronic devices can delay the sleep hormone melatonin. In addition, loud noises and bright lights from inside and outside the bedroom can stimulate your senses, causing you to toss and turn more.
- Poor sleep schedule. Going to bed when not tired and going to bed too late or even too early can affect the quality of sleep by making It hard to relax and fall asleep. The same can happen when you are on an abnormal sleep schedule.
- Oversleeping before bed. Short naps during the day are beneficial for our health. However, napping too much during the day can make it more difficult to sleep at night.
- Imbalanced diet. Having a balanced diet can have a positive impact on your sleep quality. Nutrients from food play a huge role in producing the sleep hormone melatonin and other important neurotransmitters that help regulate sleep.
- Underlying medical conditions. Many underlying medical conditions can lead to poor sleep quality, the most common being restless legs syndrome, sleep apnea, and insomnia.
- Restless leg syndrome. It is a condition that causes the overwhelming urge to move your legs. With RLS, the sensation most commonly appears when your body is resting, such as lying in bed. The constant need for movement can lead to frequent tossing and turning at night.
- Sleep apnea. It causes tossing and turning at night; breathing becomes interrupted during sleep. This can cause tossing, turning, and waking up frequently throughout the night.
- Insomnia is characterized by the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep. Insomnia has many causes, including other underlying physical or mental health conditions.
How do you stop tossing and turning at night?
- Stick to a sleep schedule. Set aside at most eight hours for sleep. A healthy adult’s recommended amount of sleep is at least seven hours. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day, including weekends. Being consistent reinforces your body’s sleep-wake cycle.
- Pay attention to what you eat and drink. Don’t go to bed hungry or stuffed. Avoid heavy or oversized meals within a couple of hours of bedtime. Discomfort might keep you up.
- Create a restful environment. Keep your room calm, dark, and quiet. Exposure to light in the evenings might make it more challenging to fall asleep.
- Limit daytime naps. Long daytime naps can interfere with nighttime sleep. Limit naps to no more than one hour and avoid napping late in the day.
- Include physical activity in your daily routine. Regular physical activity can promote better sleep. However, avoid being active too close to bedtime.
- Manage worries. Try to resolve your worries or concerns before bedtime. Stress management might help. Start with the basics, such as organizing, setting priorities, and delegating tasks. Meditation also can ease anxiety.
Nearly everyone has an occasional sleepless night. However, contact your healthcare provider if you often have trouble sleeping. Identifying and treating any underlying causes can help you get your desired sleep.