Understanding Restless Sleep
By Dr. Wei-Shin Lai, Cofounder & CEO of SleepPhones®
If you toss and turn in bed and wake up frequently, you probably experience restless sleep.
Causes of Restless Sleep
There are several restless sleep causes. Some of the most common are:
- Diet: Common offenders when it comes to causing restless sleep include caffeine, alcohol, sugary foods, refined carbs, and salty foods.
- Poor sleep hygiene: Sleep hygiene refers to habits that help promote good sleep. Common sleep hygiene offenders include using electronics close to bedtime, not creating a dark, quiet space for sleep, and going to bed at different times each night.
- Sleep apnea: Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition that causes your breathing to stop and then start again while you're sleeping. It often causes you to wake up throughout the night.
- Anxiety: Stress and anxiety can prevent you from not only falling asleep, but staying asleep.
- Restless legs syndrome: If you suffer from restless leg syndrome, you'll feel tingling sensations in your legs that keep you from sleeping. Often the only thing that relieves restless legs syndrome is moving your legs.
How to Fix Restless Sleep
While there is no bulletproof solution for restless sleep, there are steps you can take to help fix restless sleep issues. They include:
- Watching what you eat. You can often significantly reduce restless sleep by avoiding caffeine and alcohol close to bedtime; eating small, healthy dinners; and avoiding salty or sugary snacks close to bedtime.
- Practicing good sleep hygiene. The chances of experiencing restless sleep are reduced if you go to bed at the same time every night; avoid electronics and their blue light before bed; maintain a dark, quiet bedroom; and have a calming bedtime routine like meditating or reading a book before drifting off.
- Maintaining your health. Eating well, getting enough exercise, and taking care of your mental health all help reduce restless sleep.
- Seeing a doctor if all else fails. If you try all these tips and still suffer from restless sleep, it's worth visiting a doctor. He or she can rule out any underlying medical issues like obstructive sleep apnea or restless legs syndrome.
Many people who regularly experience restless sleep find it helpful to listen to soft music, meditation tracks, audio books, podcasts, and more in bed. SleepPhones®, the world's first and most comfortable headphones for sleeping, are a great option for listening to relaxing content in bed. They feature flat speakers in a soft headband, so you can even lie on your side. Check out the most popular models below!