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Why Do We Toss and Turn At Night?

Posted by Emily Bertha
Why Do We Toss and Turn At Night?

None of us have a perfect night’s sleep every night. But why do some of us toss and turn nearly every night?

The Eight app uses data from the sensors in the Sleep Tracker to tell you how much you toss and turn each night. If you toss and turn for a minute, it is recorded. Anything under a minute is not recorded because it does not significantly impact sleep. In the past week alone, the average person tossed and turned 37-40 times each night.  


If you find yourself constantly moving during the night, alcohol or evening coffee may be the cause. Alcohol and caffeine before bed can lead to a restless sleep. Another possibility is that your bedroom is too warm or there is too much light in it.

Pain can also make it difficult to sleep, so if you’re experiencing chronic pain in any part of your body, it may be the reason you’re tossing and turning so much.

Other possible culprits? Restless leg syndrome or sleeping on your stomach. Stomach sleeping can lead to neck and back pain that causes tossing and turning.

Everyday worrying can also lead to feeling restless at night. However, tossing and turning could be the result of something more serious, like sleep apnea or depression. Consult your doctor if you have serious concerns.

Tossing and turning can lead to an interrupted sleep and not enough time spent in deep sleep. You can wake up feeling like you didn’t sleep at all. There are a number of steps you can take to reduce the amount of time you spend tossing and turning each night.


Start with these easy fixes if you’re not sure the reason for your restless sleep.

-Avoid alcohol and caffeine after early afternoon

-Monitor the temperature of your bed and bedroom. The Eight app allows you to view this information. Adjust the temperature until you find you’re sleeping better.

-Invest in thick blinds or wear a sleep mask

-Avoid sleeping on your stomach or use a pillow under your stomach

-Write your daily worries down in a journal before bed

If your restless nights are the result of pain, talk to your doctor about medication to reduce your pain.

If you’re one of the 15% of Americans with Restless Leg Syndrome, massaging your legs before bed and alternating between a warm and cold pack on your legs can help improve sleep.

Remember it’s better to get out of bed if you can’t sleep and do a relaxing activity than to lay there awake for hours. For a smarter sleep, use the Eight App to track your tosses and turns and follow these tips to combat them.