1. You’re getting neckache or tension headaches
Likely cause: You’re using the wrong pillow.
Waking up with neck pain or a headache can be incredibly frustrating, especially when the ache lingers through a busy day of meetings or catch-ups with friends. And although you shouldn’t rule out other medical factors, there’s a chance your pillow is the culprit.
A pillow that’s as stiff as cardboard or too high-up can cause those all-too-common morning aches and pains. Similarly, using two pillows instead of one can increase the stress on your neck and back through the night, leaving you aching come 7am.
2. You wake up in the middle of the night
Likely cause: Bad mattress.
It’s sheer torture, isn’t it? Endlessly tossing and turning through the night, or waking up at 2 or 3 a.m. wondering “Why am I awake?”. If you find this happens to you more than a couple days a week, your mattress could be the problem.
Any sort of lumps, bumps and valleys in your mattress can cause discomfort in your neck and back while you’re trying to sleep. And over the course of seven or eight hours this tension can really build up, ruining your chances of getting the soothing rest you need.
How to fix it:
Next time you’re about to hop into bed, quickly scan your mattress for any wear and tear, gaping holes or sharp springs sticking out. Make sure there aren’t any bumps or troughs that could be rubbing up against your neck or spine either and keeping you awake at night.
If your mattress isn’t in great shape, don’t be afraid to swap it for a new one. Experts recommend we change our mattress every ten years, so if you’ve had yours for longer than that, now’s the time to think about upgrading to one that takes better care of your back.
Not sure which mattress to choose? Some sleep experts recommend the Goldilocks approach. Nothing too soft or too hard – so you don’t sink into your bed or get a rock-hard mattress pushing into your back. Something like a pocket sprung mattress is the perfect go-to if you’re looking for a nice middle ground.
3. You’re waking up early even when you’re tired
Likely cause: Curtains and blinds letting in too much light.
Our bodies need a certain amount of darkness to achieve a decent night’s sleep. Too much light can upset your body’s natural clock by reducing the sleep-inducing chemical, melatonin, in your body – something no-one wants when they need to be alert and on top form the next day.
So, if you find yourself waking up early, especially when you want nothing more than a lovely lie in, it could be a sign you’re letting too much light into your room.
How to fix it:
Investing in some room-darkening blinds, shades and curtains is the easiest way to banish light from your room and stop any light pollution from seeping in. Even a small bit of sunlight or street light can cause your body to wake up, so make sure your curtain or blind set-up is as light-proof as possible, to get the right amount of darkness your body craves.
5. You can’t get to sleep until late
Likely cause: Gadgets and electronics in your room.
We all know our bodies need a certain amount of darkness to get a good night’s rest, but did you know that light emitted from TVs, smartphones and tablets can be particularly harmful to our sleep?
The blue and green wavelengths from your phone or laptop trick your brain into thinking it’s daylight, preventing the release of sleep-inducing chemicals, and making it harder to have a restful snooze. So if you find it’s taking you longer than usual to drift off to sleep, take at look at whether the gadgets in the bedroom are to blame.
How to fix it:
Most experts recommend keeping electronics out of your bedroom all together, as the blue and green light they emit can play havoc with your sleeping cycle. But if you can’t resist cheekily checking your Facebook feed when tucked up in bed, one option is to keep phones, computers and other gadgets face down or out of sight once you actually go to sleep. Having a gadget-free hour before you go to bed can work wonders too, and will help you enjoy that relaxing period of winding down for bed, in blissful peace.
The benefits of getting a good night’s sleep are immeasurable, so don’t let your sleeping set-up get in the way of your chances. Try a few of the quick fixes above and you might just nip your sleeping problems in the bud, leading to seriously satisfying slumber… every single night.