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The Mental - and Physical - Causes of Nighttime Restlessness

Nighttime restlessness is when you have trouble falling asleep at bedtime. If you experience nighttime restlessness on a frequent basis, it could have a negative impact on your health. When the negative impact on your health is serious enough, it becomes full-blown insomnia. You will need medical intervention once it advances to this stage.

Thankfully, there are proactive steps you can take to protect your health if you have been experiencing nighttime restlessness. The first step - which we will talk about here, at length - is to figure out why you are experiencing nighttime restlessness in the first place. It's good that you know you have a problem. But you won't be able to fix it unless you know where your problems are coming from.

Nightime Restlessness

Exploring the Mental Causes of Your Nighttime Restlessness

We're talking about the mental causes of nighttime restlessness first because, for most people, this is the main issue. Raise your hand if you've ever laid in bed, physically exhausted, but unable to sleep because your mind is spinning at a million miles an hour? Whether it's overstimulation or anxious thoughts, our minds can be our own worst enemy when it comes to our sleep. Sleeping pills may help calm your mind in the short-term, but they are disconcertingly detrimental in the long run. So you should make an effort to find natural ways to calm yourself down a bedtime.

If you're experiencing any of the following, your nighttime restlessness is likely the result of mental stress:

Anxiety, loneliness, stress, and depression all interfere with your ability to calm your mind at bedtime. If you can't quiet your mind, you won't be able to fall asleep. Or if you do, you'll only experience shallow, less restful sleep. But there are some fixes which we strongly suggest you look into if you want to eliminate your nighttime restlessness:

The occasional restless night isn't much to worry about. It's not uncommon for some people to have trouble falling asleep even as frequently as once a week. But if it happens more than once a week - or even on a nightly basis - that is something you should definitely talk to your doctor about.

Examining the Physical Causes of Nighttime Restlessness

Your mind isn't the only thing that could be keeping you up at night. The rest of your body can just as easily do things that will disturb your nightly rest. In some nightmare scenarios, it's both. But for simplicity's sake let's assume that your stress levels and mental clarity are not the source of your problems.

For all the ladies out there, menstrual cramps are a very common and very painful cause of sleeplessness. It's not exactly easy to relax and fall asleep when it feels like an invisible hand is squeezing and twisting your guts inside out. The easiest solution is to treat the pain with over-the-counter analgesics and a heating pad. But if those aren't strong enough to get rid of your cramps and if your cramps are consistently keeping you awake on a regular basis, that's when you need to pick up the phone and give your doctor a call.

An uncomfortably hot bedroom can also keep you up at night. "Cool but comfy" is what you want to go by when adjusting the nighttime temperature of your room. For most people, this is around 68° Fahrenheit. But some people run hotter or colder than others and require a different temperature. Cooling your body signals your brain that it's bedtime and that it needs to start producing melatonin. That's why a cooler bedroom makes it so much easier to sleep.

Various physical activities can help you get better sleep. And a lack of them can cause restlessness. Exercise and sex are two specific physical activities that most people don't get enough of. Unsurprisingly, this lack of activity is keeping a lot of people tossing and turning at night. Whether it's hiring a personal trainer at the gym, taking more walks during the day, or having a conversation with your partner about your sex life, getting more physical activity in during the day - both inside and outside of the bedroom - will help alleviate nighttime restlessness.

You should also look at your daily habits and how they may be physically interrupting your nightly rest. Lots of people who experience nighttime restlessness are also coffee junkies who are drinking caffeine at all hours of the day. Any caffeine you put into your body within 6 hours of bedtime will likely keep you awake, so stop doing that! Also, if you feel your body begging for a nap during the day, do your best to indulge it. Even a busy office worker can try and squeeze in a quick 20-minute power nap in the backseat of their car during their lunch break if they really need to break the cycle of nighttime restlessness. You'd be surprised how effective it can be.

The Final - and Surprising - Cause of Nighttime Restlessness

The last thing people think about when trying to fix their nighttime restlessness is whether or not they are taking the right sleep aid. You should probably stay away from over the counter or prescription sleeping pills because, as we mentioned earlier, they can do serious damage over the long-term. Herbal sleep aids are definitely the better way to go. The majority of them contain safe, natural ingredients like 5-HTP, valerian root, and melatonin. We've collected data on the most effective herbal sleep remedies available for purchase, and we strongly encourage you to check them out here on our site.