Having Trouble Sleeping?
We've got expert shut-eye solutions to six surprising sleep wreckers that might be keeping you up at night.
Eating and Sleep continued...
Walsleban also recommends elevating the head of your bed with a brick or block of wood to combat the effects of reflux. Gravity helps hold stomach acids down where they belong, making it easier to get sleep. But don't try this trick with pillows, she warns. "Pillows just cause more grief because they slip and you roll off of them. You kink your neck and stomach, putting you into a worse position," she says.
Tried everything and still feel the burn at bedtime? Check with your doctor to find out if you have an undiagnosed case of GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disorder, a condition that causes food or liquid to leak backward from the stomach into the esophagus.
Healthy Bedtime Snacks
Although eating too close to bedtime can disrupt sleep, eating too little can wreck sleep too. Walsleban says she commonly sees this among women who are trying to lose weight. "They'll eat very little during the day and have a salad at night, and then they don't sleep well. So if you had a light meal at dinner time, you might need a snack before going off to sleep." Small portions of crackers and cheese, fruit, cereal, or yogurt are all good choices an hour or so before bed.
A few lifestyle tweaks should go a long way toward peaceful slumber and a happier outlook. But if sleep still eludes you, talk to your doctor about what might be standing between you and a restful night of sleep. Sweet dreams!
Be a Sleep Sleuth
Be on the lookout for other things that can disturb sleep. These include:
Medications, vitamins, or supplements -- with an agitating effect, such as respiratory inhalers used to treat asthma, blood pressure medications, and oral contraceptives.
Undiagnosed or low-level chronic pain.
An old, uncomfortable mattress -- be sure to replace your mattress every eight to 10 years.
Pets in bed -- that thrash throughout the night or that cause your allergies to flare up.
A restless, snoring, or otherwise disruptive bed partner -- who might have his or her own sleep issues.
A sleep disorder -- always rule out that possibility.