15 reasons you're not getting a full night's sleep

Doctors recommend that adults get at least seven hours of uninterrupted sleep per night, but not everyone can manage that. From not being able to fall asleep to waking up numerous times during the night, getting a full night's sleep can be difficult for some people.
There are many reasons for insomnia and sleep deprivation: a poor mattress, allergies, stress, and side effects from medication can all create problems. It seems as though there are more ways not to rest than there are to get solid sleep, but many of these problems are correctable.
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1. Stress
Stress activates and increases the amounts of adrenaline and the hormone cortisol in the body. Cortisol affects blood glucose, and adrenaline speeds up the heart rate. Long-term exposure to these and other stress hormones can result in sleep problems.
2. Shift change
If you go to bed and wake up at the same time for months, the body will adjust to the routine. Working a night shift for a while and then switching to a day shift, and vice versa, wreaks havoc on the body's internal clock. A job with variable shifts during the week is even worse.
3. New baby
Granted, most new babies don't sleep seven hours straight. But frequent checks even on a sleeping baby cut into the time you need to rest, too. Worrying about the baby at night also prevents restful hours.
4. Time change and jet lag
Internal clocks don't like daylight saving time (DST). Originally created to allow farmers more time in the fields, DST creates a mini shift change, to which the body needs to become accustomed. Jet lag has the same effect of throwing off the body's clock.
5. Too much light
Any light coming into the bedroom can affect sleep. This includes nightlights, bright alarm clocks, and windows without room-darkening shades, which let in streetlight and moonlight. Light tells the brain that it's time to be active, even if it's a normal bedtime.
6. Bad mattress
Comfort is essential to a good night's rest. A mattress should support the body. A lumpy or too-soft bed or a mattress with springs starting to poke out can cause a sleeper to toss and turn. This prevents deep sleep and often brings aches and pains in the morning.
7. Allergies
Snuggling with the cat or dog might be relaxing, but if you're allergic, it will interfere with breathing. Clogged nasal passages and dripping noses prevent restful sleep.
8. Bad pillow
Like a good mattress, a good pillow should be supportive, whether it's soft, hard, or in between. The neck requires support for comfort's sake. If the head is tilted awkwardly, the position can affect breathing, causing a sleeper to wake up repeatedly throughout the night.
9. Wrong room temperature and humidity level
A dry room can parch the throat, making swallowing painful and staying asleep difficult. A room that is too hot or cold causes discomfort that interferes with sleep too.
10. Medications
Some medications have side effects that include insomnia. Not everyone on the same medication will have the same problems, but if you've started a new medication and suddenly have difficulty resting through the night, that may be the cause. Check with the doctor before making any medicine adjustments.
11. Distractions
Distractions such as using electronics before bed stimulate the brain into behaving as though it's still time to work and be active. A bright computer screen in a dark room has the same effect.
12. Poor nutrition
A lack of vitamins and minerals can cause the body to run down, which doesn't help with sleep. Some studies show that a lack of vitamin D results in a poor night's sleep. Check with a doctor before taking supplements.
13. Eating before bed
A light, healthy snack an hour or so before bed is fine, but a large meal will make sleep uncomfortable. Lying down with a full stomach can result in acid reflux or indigestion. Heavy or fatty foods such as cupcakes and hamburgers don't provide the nutrition bodies should absorb while sleeping.
14. Caffeine
Even a small bit of caffeine right before bedtime can make falling asleep difficult. Large amounts of caffeine, even if they're consumed over time during the day, can make drifting off hard when it's finally time for bed.
15. Melatonin imbalance
Humans produce the hormone melatonin in response to darkness. Melatonin helps us sleep, so not getting enough of it is going to cause trouble with falling and staying asleep. Consult a doctor before taking melatonin supplements.
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