10 Most Common Causes of Poor Sleep

common causes of poor sleep
Poor sleep is a common problem that can have serious consequences for your health. There are a few reasons why you might not be sleeping well. It could be just one thing, or it could be a combination of factors. Here are the 10 most common causes of poor sleep, according to our sleep experts.
Taking sleep for granted
Many people don’t fully appreciate the importance of sleep and even can begin to think of sleep as a waste of time. On the contrary, the time you spend in bed asleep is actually time well spent. The brain does many important things for your body while you sleep including forming memories and going through the events of the day. The body also uses sleep as an opportunity to heal and recover from any ailments.
Too much caffeine, alcohol and sleeping tablets
If you’re having trouble sleeping, it’s best to avoid caffeine, alcohol and sleeping tablets before bed. All of these can disrupt your sleep patterns and make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. Sleeping tablets can be an ok short term solution when used with guidance but used too often they can stop working and you risk addiction.
Shift work
Working shifts can be tough on your body, especially if you’re constantly changing the hours you work. Shift work is often associated with a number of health problems, including poor sleep. This is because shift work can disrupt your natural sleep patterns and make it difficult to get enough rest.
Jet lag

If you’ve travelled to a different time zone, you might experience jet lag. This is when your body is out of sync with the new time zone and can result in disrupted sleep, fatigue and even illness. Your internal body clock will readjust to the new time zone but may take some time.

Eating and drinking late
It’s best to avoid eating and drinking late at night if you’re wanting a good night’s sleep. Eating late can lead to indigestion and heartburn while drinking alcohol can make it harder for you to fall asleep.
Not taking time to wind down before bed
If you’re trying to go to bed straight after watching TV or working on the computer, you’re not giving your body enough time to relax and prepare for sleep. It’s best to wind down for 30 minutes before going to bed by reading a book or taking a bath.
Stress and anxiety
Stress and anxiety are two of the most common causes of poor sleep. When you’re stressed or anxious, your body goes into “fight or flight” mode, which makes it hard to relax and fall asleep. If you’re finding it hard to switch off at night, try some relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation.
Sleep disorders

There are a number of sleep disorders that can make it hard to get a good night’s sleep. These include insomnia, sleep apnoea and restless legs syndrome. If you think you might have a sleep disorder, it’s best to see your doctor for a diagnosis and steel a referral to a sleep specialist.

Medical conditions and pregnancy

There are some medical conditions that can make it hard to sleep. These include arthritis, depression, heart disease and Parkinson’s disease. If you’re finding it hard to sleep, it’s worth seeing your doctor in order to rule out any underlying medical conditions. 

During pregnancy, your body goes through a lot of changes which can lead to poor sleep, especially in the final months.

Medication side effects

Some medications can have side effects that make it hard to sleep. These include some antidepressants, beta-blockers and blood pressure medication. If you think your medication is affecting your sleep, it’s best to see your doctor for advice. 

As you can see, there are many potential causes of poor sleep. If you’re struggling to get a good night’s rest, you should see your doctor for a health check in case there are any underlying medical conditions or sleep disorders. Once you’ve ruled these out, there are a number of things you can do to improve your sleep and, of course, our sleep experts are always on hand to answer your sleep health queries by phoning 1800 717 566.

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Queensland Sleep is an accredited sleep service. We are proud to have experienced doctors, nurses and sleep scientists on our highly specialised team.