Tossing and turning all night long? Feeling exhausted but can't seem to fall asleep? We've all been there before. Whether it's a stressful job, a new baby or a time change, plenty of things can interfere with getting the recommended seven to nine hours of shut-eye. Keep reading to learn about some potential causes of restless sleep and how to stop tossing and turning at night once and for all.
1. Reduce Screen Time Before Bed
The sleep-disrupting effects of electronic devices are widely recognized. Studies show that using smartphones, tablets and other light-emitting electronics before bedtime can suppress the body’s production of melatonin — the hormone that lulls us into a sleepy state and helps us achieve high-quality rest.
Avoid using electronic devices at least one hour (preferably more) before bedtime. Instead, engage in relaxing activities that don’t involve a screen, such as reading a physical book or taking a warm bath.
2. Use a Weighted Blanket
Anxiety is one of the sneakier causes of tossing and turning at night. You can feel completely exhausted, and yet the moment the lights go off, your brain starts fixating on everything you did wrong that day or stressing over tomorrow’s to-do list. To make matters worse, anxiety has a bidirectional relationship with insomnia, meaning that one can worsen the other (and vice versa).
Snuggling under a high-quality weighted blanket — either shortly before bedtime or all night long — may help break this vicious cycle. Weighted blankets decrease anxiety and heightened levels of stress by applying gentle pressure to the body. This comforting pressure has been shown to calm the autonomic nervous system, which is the system responsible for the body’s “fight or flight” response.
Gravity Blankets carries an array of weighted blankets for kids and adults. For best results, we recommend picking one that’s 10 percent of your bodyweight.
3. Cut Back on Caffeine and Other Stimulants
If you’re having difficulty winding down for bed at night, caffeine may be to blame. Caffeine is a stimulant, meaning that it increases the activity of the central nervous system and makes you feel more alert. It accomplishes this by blocking the sleep-promoting receptors in the brain (known as adenosine receptors).
For better luck falling asleep at night, try cutting back on caffeine during the day. Opt for decaffeinated versions of your favorite drinks. Watch out for other sneaky stimulants, such as theobromine (commonly found in chocolate) and ginseng.
4. Get Exposure to Sunlight During the Day
Start your morning off by taking a 15-minute power walk around the neighborhood, ideally without sunglasses. When sunlight hits the photoreceptors in the retinas of your eyes, it signals to the brain’s pineal gland to suppress melatonin, making you feel more alert during the day. When you dim the lights at night, melatonin production goes up, making you feel sleepy. If you live in an area that doesn’t get much sunlight, consider using a light therapy box in the morning.
5. Make Your Room Pitch Black
In a similar vein, try to avoid bright lights in the evening. In response to the darkness, the pineal gland in the brain will increase the output of melatonin, making you less likely to toss and turn at night.
If you’re looking for an easy way to avoid light in the evening, consider wearing a weighted eye mask to bed. On top of creating pitch black darkness wherever you sleep, our weighted eye mask delivers soothing pressure to the face to encourage a more restorative night’s rest.
6. Write a To-Do List Before Bed
Is tomorrow’s workload keeping you up late at night? Grab a pen and paper and create a to-do list. In a 2018 study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, researchers had half a group of healthy young adults write down things they needed to do in the next few days and the other half write about things they had accomplished in the previous few days. According to their results, people who wrote a to-do list fell asleep nine times faster than people who wrote about things they had already accomplished.
7. Keep Your Bedroom Cool
Overheating is another common cause of restlessness at night. When your body’s core temperature is too high, you’re more likely to toss and turn, resulting in a fitful night’s sleep.
The next time you’re having a rough night, try turning the temperature down by a few degrees to see if it helps. You can also try switching to slightly cooler blankets, such as our cooling weighted blanket. Made specifically for hot sleepers, our cooling weighted blanket features revolutionary moisture-wicking fabrics that allow for maximum breathability and airflow.
Your Solution to a Restful Night’s Sleep
With increasing stress levels and never-ending to-do lists, you might think that late-night tossing and turning is just a normal part of modern living. But it doesn’t have to be that way. From weighted blankets to eye masks and robes, Gravity Blankets offers an array of natural sleep aids that help you achieve high-quality slumber. Check out our entire line of sleep-inducing products and get ready for a better night’s rest!