Chronic sleep deprivation affects approximately 40% of Americans according to the most recent Gallup Poll recorded on sleep habits.
That means 40% of people are getting 6 hours or less of sleep a night.
You probably already know that drinking caffeine too close to bedtime or how keeping the lights on too late can keep you up late into the night.
But these are some of the oddly common, and surprising, reasons you may be tired all the time.
1) You keep hitting snooze
It’s better for you just to get up and out of bed in the morning. The reason you initially feel groggy when you wake up is because you didn’t go to bed early enough. But hitting your snooze button won’t fix that.
According to former president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, Timothy Morgenthaler, “most sleep scientists believe snooze alarms are not a good idea.” Every time you try to extend your sleep, your body restarts another sleep cycle. Breaking these sleep cycles can throw off your entire day.
Instead of setting your alarm clock to go off early, set it to the time you finally force yourself out of bed — as long as it’s not too close to the time you need to leave the house. Additional stress first thing in the morning is not good and, you guessed it, can lead to tiredness.
2) You slept in on the weekend
You might think it’s OK to sleep on the weekend to “catch up” on lost sleep, but it only works partially, at best.
Subjects in a study simulated a work week with restricted sleep hours. On the weekend, they slept for 10 hours in order to recover. Researchers discovered cortisol levels improved (lower levels make it easier to sleep), but the ability to focus and maintain attention did not improve.
Plus, if you keep relying on recovery sleep during the weekend, you’ll never be able to catch up.
3) Your bedroom is messy
It’s obvious that a mess that physically affects your bed can affect your sleep. What’s less obvious is that the stress of a mess can also have an impact.
A cluttered room may be due to lack of time to adequately address it. Whether or not you realize it, constantly seeing it, wondering if you’ll ever get to clean it up, and the regret that you didn’t clean it up can affect your brain’s ability to shut off.
4) You’re dehydrated
While you should avoid drinking too much water before bed, not drinking enough water throughout the day can lead to poor sleep quality.
First, consider that when you lay down, you’re about to go 5-8 hours without water. You’re going to be dehydrated when you wake up no matter what.
But by getting adequate water during the day, you can help prevent muscle cramps and waking up with a dry mouth or nose.
Generally speaking, you should try to drink half your weight in ounces of water every day. If you weigh 160 pounds, that’d be 80 ounces. Of course, physical activity and other factors can increase that amount.
5) Lack of vitamin B12
B12 is known as the energy vitamin, but not getting enough can cause you not to get enough sleep.
Vegans and vegetarians usually have to supplement with vitamin B12. The only dietary sources of B12 are animal-based. Foods fortified with B12 and supplements use a version that is from micro-organisms.
If you’re over 50 or had gastrointestinal surgery, your ability to absorb B12 also may be lower, so chances you’re deficient are high.
Vitamin B12 is also an integral part of producing serotonin. Serotonin is then used to manufacture melatonin, the sleep hormone. Ultimately, this means having a B12 deficiency can throw off your circadian rhythm and keep you up longer than you want.
6) You missed a workout
It’s well-known that exercise is beneficial to sleep. In addition to better sleep quality, exercise can benefit your health in dozens of other ways.
But every now and then, it might be difficult to get to the gym—whether it’s because of time, lack of motivation, or something completely unavoidable.
When you skip a workout, it can cause you to have difficulty falling asleep. That said, you should never skip sleep to workout. You’ll only make the situation worse.
7) You watch TV in bed
At our core, we are creatures of habit. If you watch TV in bed, your brain is going to assume that’s what you’re going to do.
So if you try to lay down instead of watching TV, chances are good your mind won’t let you fall asleep quickly. The blue light from your TV or cell phone can also interfere with melatonin production, making it even more difficult to fall asleep.
If you only use your bed for two activities, you’ll sleep better for it. Of course, one is sleeping.
Getting a good night’s sleep
Doing the opposite of everything on this list can help you rely less on that first cup of coffee every morning.
- Reserve the bed for sleep
- Exercise consistently
- Get enough vitamin B12
- Drink enough water every day
- Keep your bedroom clean
- Get enough sleep during the week
- Stop hitting the snooze button
You’ll also be happier, healthier, and possibly even wealthier.