It’s easy to lose track of how much zzz we’re getting. We’re busy all day, and when we finally get some downtime at night, it can be hard to notice the toll our schedules take on our bodies. But if you’re feeling tired all the time or if you have trouble getting up in the morning, there’s a good chance that your sleep quality needs improvement.
Sleep is important because it helps us to focus, be productive, and feel better overall. But if you’re not getting enough sleep, your health can suffer in a number of ways—including weight gain and memory loss. And that’s just the beginning!
Here are five signs that your sleep quality needs to improve:
You Wake Up Often During the Night
We all have those nights when we wake up in the middle of the night and can’t fall back asleep. It’s not uncommon to be awakened by some noise or an itch that needs attention. But if this happens often, it could indicate that your sleep quality needs improvement.
Waking up is a natural part of our biological rhythms—we all do it multiple times per night. However, waking up four or more times per night can lead to poor quality sleep and an increased risk of developing health problems like heart disease and diabetes.
To improve your sleep quality and reduce the number of times you wake up throughout the night, try taking a magnesium supplement before bedtime or adding more magnesium-rich foods (such as avocados) to your diet.
You Are Chronically Fatigued
If you’re chronically fatigued during the day, it’s likely that your sleep quality needs a tune-up. It’s normal to feel tired after waking up from a full night of zzz. But if fatigue lasts all day and interferes with your ability to be productive during waking hours, that’s a sign that something is off.
Sleep is a vital part of your body’s energy-recovery process. If you’re always tired, your sleep quality may be to blame. If you feel chronically fatigued during waking hours and it’s been going on for more than a few days, try sleeping in a completely dark room without any electronics running nearby. You might also want to take melatonin supplements before bedtime.
Your Skin Is Breaking Out
If you’re having trouble sleeping and your skin is breaking out, it could be a sign that your sleep quality needs to improve. The hormonal changes that occur during the night can profoundly affect your skin. And, if you’re not getting enough restful sleep, these hormonal changes can become more pronounced.
While some people are blessed with clear skin, others have to deal with acne and other issues. Acne can be caused by many things, including stress and poor nutrition. But one of the main culprits is lack of sleep. When you don’t get enough rest, your body doesn’t produce enough sebum—the oil that keeps your skin smooth and supple. The result? Pimples galore!
Your Feel More Stressed Out
If you’re feeling more stressed out than usual, it might be time to start looking at your sleep quality. Not getting enough sleep can put your body under stress and make you feel like you’re constantly running on fumes.
Sleeping well can help your body and mind recover from the day, improving how well you cope with stress. When you don’t get enough sleep, you’re more likely to feel stressed out and overwhelmed. Your body’s response to this is to release cortisol, a hormone that helps us deal with stress.
However, when we’re constantly releasing cortisol (as we might be if we’re not getting enough sleep), the body becomes less sensitive to it. This means that even though we’re releasing more of it, our bodies aren’t able to respond as well as they could if they weren’t so tired.
You Can’t Concentrate
If you find yourself struggling to concentrate and focus, it might be time to reevaluate your sleep quality. When you’re well-rested, your brain operates on all cylinders—you can easily recall information, problem-solve in new situations, and make good decisions. But when you’re sleep-deprived? Not so much.
You may find yourself unable to focus, forgetful, and more prone to making mistakes. So if you’re feeling like your “brain isn’t working as well” as it normally does, consider how much sleep you’ve gotten over the past few nights.
Why You Might Have Poor Sleep Quality
There are many reasons why you may be experiencing poor sleep quality. Some of them are related to your environment, some are health-related, and some are lifestyle choices.
Here are a few of the most common reasons for poor sleep quality
Lack of exercise
Lack of regular exercise can lead to trouble sleeping, as it can cause your body to release a hormone called cortisol, which is known to affect your sleep cycle.
Nicotine is a stimulant that keeps you awake at night and can also cause you to wake up earlier than normal in the morning.
Drinking too much caffeine
The stimulant properties of caffeine make it hard for some people to fall asleep after consuming it, which can lead to poor-quality sleep or even insomnia.
Eating too late at night
Eating late in the evening has been shown to disrupt your circadian rhythm (internal clock), which can negatively impact your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night.
Chronic Health Conditions
If you have a chronic health condition, like diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, and cancer, it can be hard to get a good night’s sleep. Whether it’s pain or discomfort, or the side effects of medication, you may have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep.
Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that affects many people all over the world. It can cause you to stop breathing while you sleep. This can disrupt your sleep quality and make it hard to fall asleep. Sleep apnea can also lead to other health issues, including high blood pressure and obesity.
How to Improve Your Sleep Quality
You’re not alone if you’re having trouble sleeping. In fact, about 70 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders, and 20% of people have insomnia. This can be a symptom of other conditions, but it also has its own set of causes.
Luckily, there are some things you can do to improve your sleep quality. Here are some tips:
Get enough sun during the day.
Sunlight exposure helps regulate your circadian rhythm and helps you fall asleep at night. If you work late or don’t get much sun during the day, consider wearing a hat or doing some indoor activities that involve bright lights, like reading or playing video games with the brightness turned up on your TV/computer screen.
Create a bedtime routine
This will help relax your body and mind before bedtime, so you don’t stay awake for hours thinking about everything you need to do tomorrow (or yesterday). Try taking a bath before bedtime so that when it comes time for bed, you feel relaxed and ready for sleep!
Make sure your bedroom is dark and quiet
If you want to get the best sleep possible, you need a dark, quiet room. Light exposure is one of the biggest ways our bodies are disturbed and prevented from falling asleep.
To ensure a dark and quiet bedroom environment, consider using blackout curtains. These will block out light from outside and prevent it from entering the room at all times of the day. You might also consider investing in an eye mask or earplugs if you need something more than just curtains to block out external light sources while sleeping at night.
Avoid naps during the day
Naps are a great way to refresh your body and mind but can also mess up your sleep schedule. If you have trouble falling asleep at night, try to avoid taking a nap in the afternoon or early evening. If you need to nap, make sure it’s at least four hours before bedtime.
Get up at the same time every day
Your body has internal clocks that will regulate your sleep-wake cycle if you keep it on a regular schedule. If you go to bed at different times every night or wake up at different times every morning, your body won’t know how to rest and recharge when it needs it most.
Don’t drink coffee or alcohol right before bedtime
Both of these substances can keep you awake later than expected and make it harder for you to fall asleep when you go to bed. Try drinking tea instead! It’s a great alternative that helps relax your mind and body, so they’re ready for a good night’s rest.
Sleep is an important part of your health, so if you’re not getting enough, it’s time to make some changes.
The signs above are just a few of the ways that sleep quality can be improved. If you’re experiencing one or more of them regularly, it’s probably time to start changing your daily routine.
Even if you don’t think you need more sleep, it’s important to take care of yourself and make sure that your body is getting what it needs. If you’re still unsure about how much sleep is enough for you or how to improve your sleep quality, talk with your doctor or visit a sleep clinic for more information on how to get better rest.