7 Sneaky Sleep Stealers and How to Guard Against Them

pouring coffee from moka pot

We can't think of anyone who doesn't appreciate a good night's sleep. (Except a few toddlers. But give them a few years. Then they'll know what's right for them.) Most of us value a solid night of rest, and we look forward to waking up refreshed and ready to start a new day. But things don't always go as planned.

More often than we'd like, our best-laid plans go awry. Sneaky sleep stealers rob of us our well-deserved rest.

While we can't always prevent sleepless nights, there are specific steps we can take to guard against them as best we can. To get you started, we've put together a list of the most common culprits and a few ways to combat them.

7 Sneaky Sleep Stealers and How to Guard Against Them

1. Caffeine

Not everyone responds to caffeine in the same way. While it's true that most people experience the most considerable benefits in the hour or so directly after drinking a caffeinated beverage, it's also true that caffeine has a half-life. That means the stimulating effects can continue for quite a long time, making it difficult for those with it still in their system to fall asleep and stay asleep.

One study also found that caffeine can delay the timing of your body clock. These effects will reduce your total sleep time. Caffeine also can reduce the amount of deep sleep that you enjoy. (Sleep Education)

If you suspect this may be the case for you, keep a log of your caffeine consumption. Watch how it correlates with your sleep patterns. Perhaps it's time to consider switching to decaf after lunch or substituting a non-caffeinated herbal tea. 

2. Sleepless Children

Children in the house can have a disruptive effect on sleep cycles. Kids get sick, have bad dreams, and fight bedtime for all they're worth. Babies need food on their schedules, toddlers have seemingly non-stop energy, and older kids and teens seem to want sleep only during daylight hours.

If you live in a home with children, perhaps the most crucial factor in how they're affecting the overall sleep patterns in your home is this: knowing how much sleep they need per night according to their age. Armed with this information, you'll have everything you need to make knowledgeable choices about insisting on set bedtimes.

While there will always be the occasional exception due to holidays, illness, or emergencies, once you have your children on a consistent, age-appropriate sleep schedule, you'll likely find your rest much improved.  

3. Inconsistency

As we discussed in the section immediately above, some things are beyond our control. If our kids are sick, we're likely to miss sleep. Similarly, if there are problems at work, severe weather conditions, or other out-of-norm events, there's little we can do to maintain a consistent sleep schedule.

To the extent that we can control our bedtimes, however, we absolutely must be consistent. Our bodies love rhythms of all kinds, and the rhythm of rest is one of them. Maintaining a regular bedtime isn't always easy, but it's worth it in the long run.

4. Distractions

One of the main reasons we have trouble maintaining a consistent bedtime is that we face with so many distractions. Whether that means novels, Netflix, or just staying up late talking with a good friend or partner, too many distracting nights in a row will soon have you dragging.

To guard against distractions, move the most tempting elements out of the bedroom. If books keep you awake, move your bookshelf into the living room and reserve your nightstand for your noise machine and alarm clock. If your phone is the culprit, charge it in the bathroom. If it's the TV, it should also go.

If it's your partner, well, you'll have to decide what to do about that one.

5. Noise

Whether it's your partner snoring, a dog barking next door, or the creaking of your house settling on its foundation, any noise can jolt you out of slumber. Though it sounds counterintuitive, sometimes your best bet in dealing with noise is to fight fire with fire. Or, fighting sound with sound, as the case may be.

In a 2008 Consumers Reports survey of 2,021 problem sleepers, sound machines were found to work almost as well as medication in getting participants to sleep. (Very Well Health)

If, however, you're the type of person for whom a sound machine creates a more significant issue, consider investing in a comfortable pair of earplugs. 

6. Ambient Light

Some people can sleep in full daylight, while others require pitch darkness. It could be that a recent move or change to your environment has led to a change in how ambient light is affecting your sleep.

If you're not sure how light affects your sleep cycle, experiment. If you've always slept with a nightlight, try going without one. If illumination from street lamps filters through your curtains, consider buying ones made of more substantial material. Be sure only to make one change at a time, though, and track how each one affects your sleep. 

7. Worries

We're not here to advise those with clinical anxiety. (If you suspect that might be describing you, ask your doctor.) We're here for those who, due to recent events or phases of life, currently experience a temporary increase in stress and worry.

If you find that your thoughts are keeping you awake, there are a few steps you can take to quiet things down. Mental exercises like prayer and meditation are often helpful, as are specific breathing exercises. Many people also benefit from regular journaling in bed.

Sometimes the best cure for worry is a safe, comfortable sleep environment.

That's why we're here.

We Can Help

Here at Nest Bedding, we believe you deserve all the rest in the world without these pesky sleep stealers. If we could box it up and ship it to you, we'd do so. Since that's currently impossible (looking at you, science!), we have to settle for our next best option. That's offering the best quality mattresses at the lowest possible prices.

If you would like to hear more about our premium products, or if you have questions or comments about anything else, please feel free to contact us at any time. We look forward to hearing from you.

We'd also love to see you in one of our showrooms! Our staff is friendly, non-pushy, and knowledgeable.

See us soon!

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