Which really helps now
Restless sleep can make us feel exhausted in the morning. Here we reveal why sleep is sometimes so bad and what helps.
Restless sleep – what is it actually?
Who does not know it: You go to bed and toss around for hours, do not fall asleep until late and / or wake up several times during the night. Such restless sleep can often be attributed to stress or minor illnesses and then disappears on its own after a short time. But if you sleep poorly at least three times a week for more than four weeks, you should seek the causes of the nocturnal sleep disorders with the help of a doctor.
Causes: How do you get restless sleep?
Our sleep is very complex and extremely susceptible to disturbances – therefore there can also be many different causes for sleep disorders. Some are only temporary, others are a permanent burden and lead to a persistent lack of sleep (“insomnia”), which can have a negative impact on our health. The following causes can cause restless sleep:
- Worries, fears, hardships
- shift work
- Bad sleeping environment, e.g. B. by noise or light or a bad indoor climate
- Bad mattress
- Nervousness / excitement / tension (also positive)
- Diseases, e.g. B. Infections such as colds or flu
- (chronic pain
- Sleep apnea (pauses in breathing during sleep)
- Too much consumption of luxury foods such as cigarettes or alcohol
- Jet lag after a long journey
- Exercise later in the evening
- Certain medications
- Restless legs syndrome
What happens when sleep is restless for a long time?
Restless sleep reduces the quality of our sleep – which is almost more important than how long we sleep. Because only when we go through all of the so-called sleep cycles four to six times at night and reach the deep sleep phase several times do we feel really rested the next day. Only in the deep sleep phase can the body begin to regenerate and the brain shifts what it has learned into long-term memory. In addition, the immune system is strengthened during this sleep phase, which helps us to fight off infections.
If we suffer from such sleep disorders for a long time, the body can no longer recover sufficiently. This can have the following physical and psychological effects on the patient:
The longer the sleep problems go untreated, the more unpleasant symptoms can become noticeable.
How can restless sleep be treated?
As diverse as the triggers for bad sleep are, so are the possibilities to do something about sleep disorders. If there is an underlying disease that makes sleep restless, the first step is to treat it. Otherwise, the following tips can help:
- Relaxation Techniques:Autogenic training, progressive muscle relaxation, breathing exercises, meditation and yoga are great ways to let go of the stress of the day and “shut down” the body to sleep.
- Home remedies: Natural sleep aids such as lavender, valerian or hops can gently relieve sheep problems, soothe irritated nerves and relieve nervousness.
- Ban electronic devices: Cell phones, laptops and the like can become a burden for sensitive sleepers because they emit blue-wave light that inhibits the production of the sleep hormone melatonin. These devices are better banned from the bedroom. Anyone who knows that they are sensitive in this regard and have insomnia should also turn off all devices about 90 minutes before going to bed so that the body can switch to night mode and fall asleep.
- Optimize sleeping environment: Noise and light sources in the bedroom should be eliminated, the room climate should be comfortable (most people find a sleeping temperature of around 18 degrees comfortable). If it is too warm under the duvet, it is time for a thinner one.
- Introduce sleep ritual: Whether you just read a few pages in a book or prefer to take a bubble bath is ultimately up to you, but an evening sleep ritual can help the body adjust to sleep. Sleep disorders can thus be avoided.
- Movement – at the right time: We need some exercise to get tired – but it shouldn’t be done right before bed. Sport is best done in the afternoon or early evening.
- Seek distraction: If you lie sleepless in bed for hours, the brain forgets that the bed is there for sleeping. If sleep does not come, it is therefore better to get up and distract yourself, for example with rope or a boring night program on TV. The tiredness will come back over time, even if you suffer from general sleep disorders.
- Eating light meals: If you still eat pizza or snacks later in the evening, your stomach is busy and can disturb your sleep. Therefore, prefer to eat easily digestible meals in the evening.
Troubled sleep in babies and toddlers
Babies and toddlers very often have light and restless sleep. They are sensitive to their surroundings, and infants in particular quickly suffer from separation anxiety if they do not feel the closeness of their parents. Studies have shown that babies also adopt their parents’ sleep patterns when everyone sleeps in the same bed. It is often easier for children to sleep when they feel the calming presence of the sleeping parent. If the parents roll back and forth a lot due to insomnia, the child can do that too.
The same applies to babies as to adults for a good sleeping environment: They like a quiet environment without disturbing light sources and noise and with a good room temperature. Babies are also very sensitive to smells: small fragrance lamps or intrusive perfume from their parents can make the child restless and cause sleep disorders.
The following applies to children: Fixed rituals help you best, to prepare for bedtime. For example, the child can brush their teeth together with the father every evening and then the mother reads a quiet story to them.
Reading tips: We explain even more tips for falling asleep here. We’ll also tell you what you should know about sleep apnea and how sleepwalking comes about.