We all have times when we have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, but it can be even more frustrating when you think you’ve gotten a good night’s sleep, but you still wake up groggy and exhausted. Here are some things that could be keeping you from feeling rested and revitalized like you should:
- Acid Reflux: If you’re waking up unrested and you have a bad taste in your mouth, it could be a result of acid reflux while you sleep. You might not even notice the normal symptoms of heartburn, so you could be experiencing it without knowing it. Reflux can cause your body to partially wake up resulting in a disrupted sleep cycle. To prevent this, stop eating at least two hours before bed and avoid acid-causing foods like spicy foods, chocolate and alcohol. Eating too much can also result in acid reflux.
- Getting Up to Go: Most of the time, your body is supposed to send signals to your bladder to suppress the urge to urinate in the middle of the night so that you can get your necessary 7 to 9 hours of sleep. However, especially as we age, these signals weaken and we’re more likely to feel the need to get up and go. To help avoid this, don’t drink anything for at least 3 hours before you turn in for the night and make sure to take time to completely empty your bladder right before bed. If you’re still experiencing problems, ask your doctor to check you for conditions that may cause frequent urination.
- Teeth Grinding or Clenching: You may not even know you’re doing this until a sleeping partner or dentist points it out, but if you wake up with a sore or clicking jaw, pain or stiffness in your neck or notice that your teeth are wearing, most likely nighttime grinding is the culprit. This kind of tension does not allow your body to achieve total relaxation necessary for sleep. To fix this issue, you’ll need to see your dentist. Usually they’ll prescribe you a guard that can help protect your teeth and mouth. Also, some experts suggest that you cut down on the amount of gum chewing you do during the day as this habitual chewing can resurface at night.
- Tossing and Turning: If you wake up tangled in the covers and you aren’t sure how you got there, you could very well be moving in your sleep and not even know it. Some causes may be restless leg syndrome (RLS) or periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD), so the best thing to do is to see your doctor to figure out the underlying cause. Also make sure you’re getting enough iron and B vitamins as they have been linked to restless leg syndrome. These nutrients are found in red meat as well as green veggies.
- Mouth Breathing or Snoring: Waking up with dry mouth or morning breath may be a sign that you’re snoring or breathing with your mouth open throughout the night. This incorrect breathing pattern makes it difficult for your body to fully relax. Experiment with sleeping positions, try over-the-counter nasal strips and readjust your pillow support. Also, avoid sedatives like sleeping pills and alcohol right before bed as they can heighten your snoring risk.
Always consult your chiropractor or primary care physician for all your health related advice.
Image Credit: Sleeping by RelaxingMusic. Used under creative commons license.
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