According to the CDC, 1 in 3 adults don’t get the sleep they need. While we’re supposed to get anywhere from 7-9 hours per night (and more for children!), there are plenty of factors that could be getting in the way. Most people know the main culprits impacting your sleep. Things like too much screen time before bed, caffeine, or even drinking alcohol can have a negative impact on your sleep.
However, there are a few unexpected things that are impacting your sleep that you might not be considering. Understanding little “habits” and actions that could be interrupting your family’s sleep can make a big difference. Once you know what they are, you’ll have an easier time making healthy adjustments and ensuring you all get the rest you truly deserve.
Unexpected Things Impacting Your Sleep and Your Family’s Sleep
With that in mind, let’s dive into five unexpected things that could be impacting your family’s sleep.
Your Oral Health
What does your oral health have to do with getting a good night’s rest? More than you might think. Your oral health has a lot to do with your overall well-being, and sleep is no exception. If you have certain oral health concerns, they could be causing pain, discomfort, or irritation that keeps you from experiencing a restful night. Some of those concerns include:
- Canker sores
- Snoring issues
- Dry mouth
- Gum disease
- Jaw pain
Thankfully, most oral health conditions can be remedied with proper care. If you’re dealing with issues like cavities or gum disease, it’s essential to work with your dentist on a treatment plan that gets to the root of the problem (no pun intended) so you can feel better and get more sleep.
Your body has natural circadian rhythms it wants to follow on a daily and nightly basis. These rhythms essentially tell your mind and body when it’s time to sleep and when it’s time to be awake.
Unfortunately, working long hours or even working “odd” shifts can throw off these rhythms and make it hard to sleep. If you have teenagers or college-aged kids, they might also experience this by staying up late or sleeping in every morning.
Working long hours away from home can have plenty of negative side effects, including losing precious sleep. That can lead to serious potential health risks, including hypertension, depression, and diabetes. It can also make you a public health concern if you’re commuting and you’re drowsy behind the wheel.
While you might not be able to change your work schedule, you can adjust your sleep habits (and your circadian rhythms) to fit that schedule. Try going to bed and waking up at the same times each day, and establish a sleep routine that gets your mind and body in the mood for rest before you finally go to bed.
Most people understand the importance of Vitamin B for energy and cell health, but it also could be impacting your sleep. If you can fall asleep easily but have a hard time staying asleep, it could be the presence of too much Vitamin B in your system.
Try taking your vitamins first thing in the morning, rather than before bed. This will give you an energy boost when you need it, and make it easier to stay asleep all night.
You’ve probably heard the saying “you are what you eat,” but did you know that what you eat can actually have a big impact on how well you sleep? Eating large, heavy meals before bed can cause discomfort and leave you tossing and turning all night. Foods high in saturated fat and sugar have also been linked to less restorative sleep.
While you don’t need to completely change your diet, focus on eating as many whole foods as possible, and prioritize getting plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
Your sleep environment can play a major role when it comes to how much sleep you actually get. For example, most people tend to sleep better in cooler temperatures. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the ideal sleep temperature is 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
In addition to making sure your room is at the right temperature, you can improve your environment and make it more conducive to a good night’s sleep by:
- Reducing clutter
- Getting rid of as much light as possible
- Using calming scents like lavender
- Only using your room for sleeping
If you feel like you’re not getting enough sleep each night, or you’re concerned that your family isn’t getting the rest they need, examine whether it’s one of these unexpected things. Take them into consideration as you try to improve your sleep hygiene, and you’re bound to experience a more restorative sleep experience.
About the Writer: Miles Oliver is an independent writer with a passion for tech, psychology, sustainability, and simply helping people live happy and fulfilled lives. When he is not writing or working, he is most likely mountain biking or kicking back with a cup of tea.