How to fix your sleeping problems with science


There are few things more frustrating than laying in bed, wide awake, tossing and turning for hours, desperately hoping that that elusive mistress, sleep, will come and take you away. Perhaps you are reading this article at 3 am on a Tuesday morning because you are exhausted, and you just want to sleep, but it isn’t happening for you – and you know that your 9 am presentation is really going to suffer because of it. Maybe you can sleep just fine but you wake up sore and uncomfortable, and you don’t know why. Whatever your issue, thankfully, science has got your back. Here is how you can fix your sleeping problems, scientifically.

Woken up with a sore shoulder?

Unless you’ve been doing some sort of a sleep workout, this is probably down to the position you have been sleeping in. It is not advisable to sleep on your belly as this misaligns your shoulders and can cause a lot of pain. If possible, sleep on your back with a thin pillow under your head. Use another pillow to put on your belly and hug it, as this will help your shoulders stay aligned. If you struggle to lay on your back, do it on the side that does not hurt, bend your legs and put a pillow between your knees – do not put your hand under your head as this will create discomfort in your shoulder.

Suffer from regular heartburn?

Believe it or not, the position you sleep in has a lot to do with heartburn, so try to sleep on your left side where possible. This way your stomach contents are less likely to come back up your esophagus and cause uncomfortable heartburn. Who knew that sleeping on the wrong side was causing us heartburn?!

Need to stop that snoring?

This might be less of a problem for you, and more of a problem for whoever you share a bed or room with! Snoring mostly occurs when the perpetrator is laying on their back as their tongue tends to fall backward and narrow the airway, causing the annoying sound. Look for a supportive pillow that won’t allow this to happen if you do lay on your back, or ideally, try to sleep on your side.

Can’t seem to fall asleep?

There is no real quick fix for this, and it actually involves making some lifestyle changes throughout the day. Make sure you set a time to stop using any backlit gadgets such as phones and tablets as the lights from these really mess up our sleeping patterns. At least six hours before bed, stop drinking caffeine – you’ll have to make that bedtime tea a decaf! Finally, regularly exercising in the morning and afternoon and doing a bit of yoga before bed will really help too!

Struggle to stay asleep?

If getting to sleep is fine but you tend to wake up randomly in the middle of the night, there are a few things that you can do. For example, avoid alcohol and using any backlit gadgets before bedtime. Make sure your room temperature is between 68 – 71°F for optimum sleeping and get rid of any noise or light stimulus that might wake you up.

Whatever your sleep issue, there is a scientific reason for it, which means there is a scientific solution for it too! Don’t resign yourself to unrefreshing or unfulfilling sleep – fix the problems with science!