Why Do I Toss and Turn When I Sleep?

January 15, 2021 · Mattress Warehouse

If you find yourself wondering, “why do I toss and turn at night?” you may have learned of this unfortunate habit from waking up your partner. If not, your excessive movement during sleep may be jolting you awake at night and disturbing your own rest.

While reasons for tossing and turning differ depending on the person, there are many factors that could be influencing your restless sleep. If one of these factors resonate with you, there are simple steps to help combat the issue.

Why Do I Toss And Turn At Night?

It might sound strange, but you could be experiencing tossing and turning at night because of your choices during the day. Here are some possible factors affecting your sleep:

  1. Alcohol or Caffeine Consumption
Depending on your tolerance, drinking even a small amount of caffeine can negatively impact your sleep. Some may think coffee in the afternoon is harmless, but due to its energy boosting effects, it can actually reduce your amount of time spent in deep sleep that night.
Similarly, when alcohol is consumed excessively — especially close to bedtime — it has a stimulating effect and the quality of your sleep may take a hit as a result. You can find yourself waking up more frequently throughout the duration of the night and spending less overall time asleep and reduced time in REM (the only stage where sleep paralysis temporarily occurs), impacting your deepest and most restorative phase of sleep.
  1. Stress or Anxiety
Stress and anxiety don’t magically disappear when you fall asleep. You carry these feelings with you into sleep and often into dreams, making it difficult to rest peacefully.
If your stress is severe, it can even result in short-term insomnia due to the hyperactivity in your body and mind. Insomnia, of course, leads to sleep deprivation which can further stress you out, resulting in a brutal cycle of tossing and turning.
  1. Strenuous Exercise
Working out gets your blood pumping, heart racing and increases your core temperature. There is no exact science to post-exercise insomnia, but working out stimulates your body into an excited state that may take a while to level back down to its normal conditions.
When it’s time for bed, your body’s core temperature naturally cools in preparation for sleep and your heart rate slows down. If you workout shortly before attempting slumber and your core temperature is still elevated, it may take longer than you’d like for your body to relax into a calm, cool state that’s ready for sleep.
On top of that, if your workout is particularly difficult or exhausting one day, your cortisol (aka stress) levels may increase and make sleep difficult shortly thereafter completion of your workout.
While your decisions and activities during the day can affect your sleep at night, there are also reasons you may intrinsically toss and turn in bed.
  1. Avoiding Stiffness
To some degree, it’s healthy to toss and turn while you sleep! This is your body’s way of getting comfortable and avoiding stiff limbs throughout the night. It’s never good to sit, stand, or lay in one position for too long whether you’re awake or asleep.
If you sleep on your stomach, beware that it is widely considered the unhealthiest sleep position and the most harmful to your spine, back, and neck due to the awkward angle of your body. This position may prompt tossing and turning due to neck and back pain that calls for frequent readjustments of your body.

Solutions For Excessive Movement During Sleep

If you believe you’re tossing and turning at night due to one of these factors, reduce your chances of excessive movement during sleep with these simple solutions.

  1. Avoid alcohol and caffeine consumption — especially in excess and especially before bed.
  2. If your day is stressful, try to unwind before jumping into bed. Take a warm bath, meditate, light candles, play relaxing music, or do whatever is necessary to lower your cortisol levels. It can also help to make your room your oasis by keeping stress out of the bedroom. Study or do your work elsewhere in the house, and train your body and mind to feel relaxed when stepping into your room.
  3. Exercise is crucial for your health and proper sleep can even help you reach your weight loss goals. However, you should avoid an intense workout right before bed as it may take you longer to fall asleep.
  4. If you’re a stomach sleeper, placing a pillow beneath your pelvis will help better align your spine throughout the night and act as extra stability and support. This should help decrease back pain and reduce excessive movement.

Don’t Lose Sleep Over A Bad Mattress

Sleeping on a mattress that isn’t customized to fit your sleep preferences, needs, and body type can contribute to restless nights.

At Mattress Warehouse, we have a diverse selection of the highest quality mattresses on the market. With the help of our experienced salesmen and our diagnostic sleep system bedMatch™, we’ll help you find the perfect mattress to reduce excessive movement during sleep and ensure your mattress lends to a peaceful night’s sleep.

Visit a local Mattress Warehouse near you to find your dream mattress today!