Top Reasons And Treatments To Stop Tossing And Turning While You Sleep
Tossing and turning in bed is normal every now and then. It could be due to stress or your diet. Drinking too much caffeine or alcohol and eating salty snacks and refined carbs (like bread or white rice) before bedtime can lead to sleep-interrupting fidgetiness. But if restless sleep becomes a chronic problem, it’s best not to ignore the issue since it could be a sign of one the following more serious conditions:
Rapid Eye Movement Sleep Behavior Disorder (RBD)
Most people remain still during their dreams, but those with RBD act out their dreams, moving their limbs about, walking, and even hitting and punching. Because RBD can lead to injuries and may associated with an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease it’s important to talk with a doctor or sleep specialist if you think you may have RBD.
Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)
Also called Willis-Ekbom disease, RLS causes an urge to keep moving the legs throughout the night due to uncomfortable sensations. Getting up and walking around or stretching the legs in bed can ease the discomfort but, of course, this restlessness also interferes with sleep. Luckily, treatment is available, including leg massage, heat pads or ice packs, and using a foot wrap that puts pressure on certain muscles in the foot. If that doesn’t work, your doctor may suggest taking iron supplements or prescribe medication such as anti-seizure drugs, dopaminergic agents, and benzodiazepines, which have shown some success in reducing RLS symptoms.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
Loud snoring and frequent gasp-like interruptions in breathing throughout the night can be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea, a disorder that, if left untreated, can increase the odds of restless sleep, heart trouble, diabetes, and more. Additional symptoms include drowsiness during the day and waking up with a headache, sore throat, or dry mouth. See a physician if you think you may be affected by OSA. A doctor may recommend lifestyle changes, such as losing weight or exercising more frequently, or prescribe a sleep mask that keeps the airways open throughout the night.
How to Stop Tossing and Turning
Sleep Hygiene was a term that was first coined in 1939 by Nathaniel Kleitman. It became mainstream after 1977 when researchers started performing studies. Bad habits typically cause poor sleep hygiene. Having an effective sleep hygiene program is essential for learning how to stop tossing and turning at night. Good sleep hygiene doesn’t mean you have to take a shower to achieve a perfect night’s sleep. However, you do have to wash off those toxic bedtime habits you have.
Some of the most common factors of tossing and turning while sleeping is associated with lifestyle including:
- A warm temperature in the bedroom
- Alcohol intake
- Blue light from your TV or phone screen
- Drinking too much coffee
- Eating before going to bed
- Lack of activities to do during the day
- Not having a consistent sleeping schedule
- Watching or listening to stressful information before sleep
Having an effective sleep hygiene program is essential for learning how to stop tossing and turning at night. Here are some ways for you to get back to restorative sleep.
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Daily Habits To Help You Get A Good Night’s Sleep
When possible, wake up in the morning and sleep at night.This is a fundamental concept, yet many people fail to follow this routine. Sleep before 11 pm and wake up at 8 am. You need to sleep for at least 7-9 hours every day. This is the body’s natural cycle.
Allow sunlight in your bedroom.Waking up to natural sunlight first thing in the morning can improve your metabolism, enhance your mood, and increase alertness.To achieve this, open your blinds or curtains. Try to dedicate some time outside. Have a cup of coffee or read a book for a while to soak in some sunshine. During the winter when the nights are long, opt for light bulbs that mimic sunlight to give your room a morning feel. To prevent Seasonal Effective Disorder, you can install a therapeutic light box during winter.
Do morning exercises to enhance your metabolism.Morning exercises are great to boost your metabolism. Cycling is a great exercise that boosts circulation, improves your heart, targets your core muscles, and helps a number of joints. If your joints are sore, you can’t go wrong with swimming. You can also walk or jog. Go outside, grab your earphones, and breathe deeply.
Avoid social media when you first wake up.Stay away from your phone when you’re waking up since this can lead to brain drain. When you check your phone first thing in the morning, you get hit with numerous notifications and start the day on someone else’s terms.
Take a cool shower in the morning.Hot showers and warm baths are ideal at night. But for the morning, make it a habit to take a cool shower to wake you up.
Avoid caffeine after 2:00 PM.Your average caffeine consumption should be limited to two to three cups a day. After 2 pm, avoid drinking coffee and stay away from energy drinks, as well. Drinking any caffeinated beverage too late in the day can cause tossing and turning in sleep.
Develop a consistent bedtime routine.Make it a habit to drink decaf or caffeine-free tea, do some light stretches, and write in your journal before you go to sleep. Doing this ritual every evening may help your body sleep at a consistent time and prevent tossing and turning in sleep.
Avoid a heavy lunch to prevent brain drain and fatigue.Eat a light lunch to beat post-lunch fatigue and brain drain. Your meals should include small servings of protein with fewer carbs and sugar.
Afternoon power nap.If you feel sleepy during the day, you can try to sneak in a 30-minute power nap. But if you can’t, there are still alternatives, such as munching on crunchy healthy snacks (nuts), drinking a cold beverage, stretching, sitting outside, sucking on ice, chewing gum, or washing your face with cool water.
Eat dinner before 7 pm and limit alcohol intake.Eating earlier will help your body sleep better at night. Apart from that, you also need to limit your alcohol intake to 1 serving or if possible, skip it. This is because alcohol disrupts the natural sleep and wake cycle of the body.
Adjust your room temperature.Make sure the temperature in your room is at least 60-68 degrees for you to sleep well.
Read before you sleep.Reading can make you sleepy. Make sure you keep some books beside your bed in case you find it difficult to sleep.
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Download a mindfulness or meditation app.There are several calming and meditation apps you can download and try. They can help you get some good sleep.
Make sure you have a proper mattress and bed frame.A good bed frame and mattress are not just for the elderly. Children need restorative sleep for better learning during the day. Adult partners can benefit from a split-king adjustable bed frame so that they can customize their sleeping position, lessening the chance of either partner tossing and turning in bed.
Get a sleep study.If you continue tossing and turning in bed, consider getting a sleep study. Chronic sleep deprivation can be hazardous for you and those around you. Sleep studies can help pinpoint the cause of your sleeplessness.
Learning how to stop tossing and turning at night varies for each person. Only you know your stressors, effectiveness of your sleep hygiene habits, and the state of your bed. Tossing and turning can become a memory once you develop better sleep habits.