When was the last time you got the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep at night? Even if you manage to push aside your worries, forgo late-night TV or leave the house in less-than-perfect shape and get to sleep at a decent hour, middle-of-the-night worries, your toddler’s nightmare or your own aches or pains wake you at 3 a.m.
Not getting enough sleep makes it dangerous for you to drive, leads to weight gain and raises your risk of developing high blood pressure and diabetes. Try these tips to conquer five common causes of sleep problems:
Sleep stealer: Menstruation
Cramps, bloating and hormonal changes keep you tossing and turning.
The remedy: Over-the-counter pain relievers and medications can dull cramps and relieve bloating.
Sleep stealer: Bad habits
You stay up late, have a late-night snack or cocktail, fall asleep with the TV on or work in bed, leading to less-than-stellar sleep.
- Go to bed and get up at the same time every day—weekends, too.
- Skip nighttime caffeine, nicotine and alcohol.
- Eat at least two to three hours before bed.
- Keep your bedroom cool, dark and quiet.
Sleep stealer: An overactive mind
You lie awake, stressing over money, your to-do list or your job.
- Relax. Read, listen to soothing music or knit until you feel sleepy.
- Make a to-do list before bed. Tell yourself you’ll deal with it tomorrow, then go to sleep, worry free.
- Speak with a healthcare professional if you’re depressed or overwhelmed by stress.
Sleep stealer: Sleep disorders
Obstructive sleep apnea is a common sleep saboteur, and women are more likely than men to cope with insomnia, restless legs syndrome and leg cramps.
Speak with your healthcare provider, who may order a sleep study to determine what’s causing the problem and how to treat it.
Sleep stealer: Pregnancy
If it’s not the constant getting up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, it’s your ever-growing belly and pesky acid reflux that keep you up. And once the baby’s born, his or her middle-of-the-night cries wake you.
- Cut back on beverages before bedtime.
- Place pillows between your knees to help support you as you sleep or buy a pregnancy pillow.
- Sleep on your side with your knees bent to take pressure off your back.
- Avoid spicy foods to prevent heartburn.
- Take turns with your husband getting up with the baby.