[top 10 reasons you aren't sleeping at night]

January 28, 2012

...and why it's bothering me too. 

It is 3 am. I am awake yet again. I say yet again because, well, I have never been a good sleeper. Ask my mom. I promise she would say this "She never even slept though the night as a baby, she just eventually quit waking me up." That my friend is a direct quote from the woman, she often tells it to soon to be moms who are convinced you can convince every baby to sleep. Ha! 

So now that I am an adult and have rationalized why it is I never sleep I have compiled a list of things that are causing me...and probably you too, to lose sleep. 

#1 Extra light in the room from electronic devices. 
These kick my booty big time. My alarm clock is currently hidden behind a photo of my dogs, it helps a little, but is by no means a solution. I also have to deal with light from the DVR box, my humidifier, and the lap top I am typing on this very minute. If you own a Mac you know the tiny little light on the charger gives off enough light at 2am to guide ships in safely at night. Can these things be fixed? Sure, I could put electrical tape over everything, and I probably should over the humidifier and DVR; but I need to know what time it is every morning so I don't miss work. 

Solution: Eye Mask. The $10 eye mask I bought at Bed Bath & Beyond has been the biggest lifesaver, especially when staying places that don't have black out window treatments like I do. 

#2 Gotta potty. 
Having to get up during the night to use the restroom is one of my biggest problems. Hence why I am awake now. 

Solution: Stop drinking liquids by 7pm if you go to bed early or 8pm for later sleepers. Don't drink tea before bed, and if you do drink tea in the evening make sure it does not contain dandelion-it's a diuretic. 

#3 Too much caffeine.
I've made the mistake a few time of seeing a coffee shop or really cool coffee drink while on a road trip and not paying attention to time drank that sugary caffeine filled drink right up only to wonder later why Tylenol Pm isn't working for my sleeplessness.  Sometimes on super tired days of school I will drink Diet Coke to give me an extra boost, or sip some of Jeremy's sweet tea mindlessly at night before bed. All of these contribute to poor sleep and  I usually don't know I've done them until it is too late. I've never been a huge Coke or tea drinker so this isn't a huge issue to cut out, but coffee is. 

Cut out all caffeine by 2pm to ensure you have given your body a chance to regulate it out. In the event you can cut out soda or drink caffeine free sweet tea, go for it!

#4 Sleeping with a chainsaw. 
Not literally, but is you significant other a loud snorer? That is a doozie. Growing up my father's snoring in the other room would wake me up often. Luckily Jeremy rarely snores, he has to be sick or really tired, but it has never been something that disturbed my sleep. 

Solution: Ask your partner to try products to alleviate snoring like Breathe Right or other over the counter items. If it continues as them to see their doctor, without being offensive. We all know how people that snore don't like to admit it. 

#5 Noise
Some you can help, other noises you can't. If you like in a metropolitan city you probably experience different noises that people living in rural areas. My dogs wake me up to go to the bathroom some nights, and as much as I hate it I would rather not clean up poop at 6am, so I live with it. 

Solution: Turn off your cell phone at night and shut your bedroom door. That alone will cut out a little noise. Try turning your cell phone to airplane mode and using sleep apps. Rain and thunder sounds always put me out. There are a lot of great ones out there for free, I prefer Magic Sleep. The full version is free in the Android market and you can get a lite version in the App Store. 

#6 Loud neighbors. 
This is a much bigger problem for apartment dwellers than homeowners. But either way it is a nuisance. You can't exactly control who moves in next door or the fact that it sounds like total war through the wall. The college party animals are the worst for young couples renting apartments who aren't ready to buy a house but still have to get up for work bright and early. 

Solution: Politely ask them to turn it down. This can cause war, so be sure you are a considerate neighbor before marching over to give them a piece of your mind. I've been in a few wars with college dorm neighbors and it was not pretty. Be graceful and sweet, you catch more flies with honey. Be sure to explain why you need them to quiet it down. 

#7 You married a bulldozer. 
The person you are sleeping with tosses and turns all night leaving you wide awake and covered in bruises from the surprise sleep attacks. I can't say I've been there, I am the bulldozer. Jeremy luckily sleeps really well and rarely notices that I am up and down and all round in this bed. I have woken up with my body completely across the bed [instead of down like you're supposed to] and all over him. 

Solution: Find a way to move them without them knowing it. Jeremy does this to me all the time. Buy a body pillow, this is what helps me a lot. My mother jokingly says that I sleep in a nest because of how I arrange my pillows, but it is what keeps me from moving all night long. 

#8 Work stress.
Stressful work situations follow you home? They sure follow me. This year is not as bad as last year luckily. Last school year I would wake up in the middle of the night panicing because I was creating scenarios in my head about how things would go wrong. It was very menacing. 

Solution: Create a mindset that work is work and when you leave the building you leave the mental baggage at your desk. Journaling is also great, getting your thoughts on paper will help release some of the built up anxiety. Reading is another great option, but make sure it is a light hearted book, you need perking up, not worry and suspense from fictional characters. 

#9 Family Stress. 
This can not always be avoided. Loved one, or not so loved ones, get sick, pass away, or cause drama that you yourself can not avoid. At the same time, don't be the family stress. Kids schedules can also put a time strain on your family with all of the added activities and after school programs children are enrolled in. Relationships are hard as well, you didn't get married under the pretense it would be flowers and sunshine all day long, they wouldn't put that "for worse" clause in vows if we were promised marriage was a piece of cake. 

Solution: If it is something you can't control, realize you can't control it. You alone can not be the mender of every family situation. If relatives are crazy and constantly coming to you to fix their problems you have to learn to decipher what is a need and what is pure drama, and weed it out. Learn to say not to people. Like I said for #8, journal, this releases a lot of energy. Do yoga, it is very relaxing and I can always forget whatever the problem is when I as relaxed as I am doing yoga. Hit the gym, or go for a walk-exercise is the best medicine. Last but not least, pray about it. Prayer can do wonders. 

#10 Financial woes. 
Student loans can throw a huge kink in your financial ball and chain. Unforeseen events will almost always occur as soon as you think you have a nice cushion in your savings. This summer I had our whole graduate school savings plan worked out to a T, until my car was totalled and Jeremy's bit the dust, which led us to purchasing two cars and going from one very low car payment to two much higher ones. 

Solution: Make a budget. Knowing what expenses you have monthly will help you in the long run. Know where your money is going and what you have left over, eating out will suck the money right out of you and you won't even know it. If you have $200 left after bills and you spend it all on play you won't have anything saved up for a rainy Murphy's Law filled day. Knowing what bills you have, and having it written down will help out a lot. If you can pick up a side job here and there for extra money go for it. I have started tutoring to help compensate what Jeremy is paid as a Graduate Assistant, and hope to get on as a summer school teacher. Extra savings never hurt anyone. Plan ahead and you won't hurt so much when something does happen. 

So tell me...
What is keeping you awake at night?