Sleep Wrecker 4: Medicine, Vitamins, and Supplements continued...
Botanical supplements can cause sleep loss, too. Supplements like ginseng and guarana are stimulants. Even vitamins aren't free of risk.
"Vitamins B6 or B12 can give people vivid dreams, and that can wake people up," says Mindell. "It's much better to use those in the morning."
If you're having chronic sleep problems, go to your doctor with a list of all the medicines, vitamins, and supplements that you use. Ask if any of them could be causing your sleep problems.
Sleep Wrecker 5: Pain -- Even Mild Pain
Just about any painful condition can cause disrupted sleep. Headaches, back pain, arthritis, fibromyalgia, and menstrual pain are all common causes.
What you might not realize is that the pain doesn't even have to be particularly severe to cause sleep loss. In fact, it doesn't even have to wake you up.
Pain signals sent out by your body can fragment your sleep, reducing the amount of time you spend in deep, restorative sleep. You might not wake up, but your sleep will be less restful.
"People with chronic pain often wake up feeling more tired than they were when they went to bed," says Roth.
Even if you have only mild chronic pain, it's worth checking it out with a doctor.
Sleep Wrecker 6: Being Exhausted -- as Opposed to Sleepy
Here's a common scenario. You come home from a long day at work, completely exhausted. You stumble into the bedroom, fully expecting that as soon as your head hits the pillow, you'll be out.
But somehow, that's not what happens. 45 minutes later, you're still staring at the ceiling. What's gone wrong?
"Contrary to what people think, being exhausted doesn't necessarily make people sleep better," says Roth. "There's actually a big difference between being exhausted and being sleepy." Roth points out that if you ran 50 miles and then dropped down in bed, you would unquestionably be exhausted. However, your body might be far too revved up to sleep.
Regardless of how worn out you feel, always take some time to unwind. "Don't rush to bed after a stressful day," says Roth. Instead, spend some time sitting quietly first. It could save you lots of tossing and turning later.