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» Surprising Reasons for Your Restless Nights

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If you wakeup in the morning only to find yourself feeling more exhausted than when you went to bed, you’re not alone. Millions of Americans suffer from chronic sleep deprivation, according to studies conducted by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. While busy schedules and increased demands of personal and professional lives can make finding enough time to sleep at night difficult, there are a number of nightly habits that can make getting a quality night’s rest elusive.

Some explanations for sleep loss can seem pretty evident- crying babies, cups of coffee after 10, loud neighbors- but others might not seem so obvious. To help you get a better understanding of what could be keeping you up at night, here are four surprising reasons why your sleep keeps getting interrupted.

Pets in Bed

While many people allow their pets to snuggle next to them at night in bed, a growing amount of research has started to suggest that pets in the bed can make sleeping more difficult at night.

According to a study conducted by the Mayo Clinic Sleep Disorders Center, 53 percent of study participants who admitted to letting their pets sleep with that night claimed their animals disturbed their sleep. Even if your pet seems to do little but sleep, animals don’t have the same wake and sleep cycles as humans. So while you might be deep asleep at 4 a.m., your furry companion might consider that an excellent time to start rolling or pouncing around on the bed. Even more subtle disturbances like the rattling of dog tags can cause you to wake up at night.

If you feel frequently exhausted in the morning or find yourself waking up periodically at night because of something your pet did, you might need to consider shutting the bedroom door at night.

Nightcaps

Even though having a few drinks can make you feel drowsy over the course of an evening, enjoying an alcoholic beverage right before bedtime can actually make it more difficult for you asleep in the end. Alcohol affects the body’s sleep rhythms, acting first as a sedative. However, once your body has processed out the alcohol after a few hours, you’ll find yourself waking up more frequently during the night. To help maintain your sleep rhythms, make sure you stop drinking at least two hours before going to bed.

Supplements, Vitamins, and Medications

You can find some of the most common causes of sleeplessness right inside of your medicine cabinet. Commonly prescribed medications, such as beta-blockers for high blood pressure and steroids for asthma, can cause restless sleep at night, and while pain medication can help you feel drowsy, they can also lead to the development of sleep apnea, a condition that causes interrupted sleep.

Certain types of supplements can also cause you trouble when trying to sleep at night. Supplements like guarana and ginseng act as stimulants, and can keep you awake when taken right before bed. Even certain vitamins can also cause restless sleep, as B12 and B6 can give people such vivid dreams they wakeup in the middle of the night.

If you suffer from restless nights, talk with your doctor about the medications, supplements, and vitamins you take on a regular basis to determine whether they may be contributing to your trouble sleeping.

Pain

Even if you only suffer from mild pain, any condition that causes you discomfort can result in disrupted sleep. Arthritis, back pain, headaches, and menstrual pain are all frequent contributors to restless nights. What many people don’t realize is that pain doesn’t even need to be severe in order to cause a loss of sleep. In fact, it doesn’t even need to cause you to wake at night.

Pain signals sent out from the body can cause your sleep to become fragmented, reducing the amount of time you spend in REM or deep sleep. Even if you don’t wake at night, failing to spend enough in deep sleep can cause you feel exhausted the next day. To help reduce your pain so you can sleep better at night, talk with your doctor about treatment options that are right for you.

Timothy Lemke is a freelance writer. To read more of his work, visit the website of Miller Engineering, the sheet metal Portland professionals.

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