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What Are Environmental Causes of Poor Sleep?

Learn some common environmental reasons people have trouble sleeping from sleep specialist Janet Kennedy, Ph.D. in this Howcast video.


"Hi, I'm Janet Kennedy. I'm a licensed clinical psychologist and sleep specialist in New York City. You can find out more about me and my work on my website,

If you're looking for ways to improve your sleep you can start by taking a look around your bedroom. The first culprit is usually your bed, if its old or lumpy or it creaks every time you move around you might consider investing in a new one. You don't have to break the bank to find a comfortable mattress these days, just find something that works for you and gets you a better nights sleep. Something as simple as clean sheets can improve the quality of your sleep as well.

Another culprit is noise and if you're woken up by nose or troubled by noise inside or outside of your home consider adding white noise to your room, either with a white noise maker or an app that you can download for you phone or iPod. White noise creates a buffer and I prefer plain white noise as opposed to raindrops or ocean waves. What it does is it just creates a constant noise that allows you to relax and it also provides a sleep cue so that your body associates it with sleep.

Light is another one and your body responds to light whether your eyes are closed or not, so the quality of your sleep is going to be improved if it is dark in your room. Your temperature of your room is also important and something between 68 and 72 degrees is ideal.

Pets are also another source of problems in the night, so if your pets make a lot of noise waking around or they jump on your bed in the middle of night or if their just hogging your bed you might want to consider keeping them out of your room at night. They are wonderful companions but in the middle of the night they may be keeping you awake.

Your partners sleep habits are another one. Some of those habits your partner can control and some of them he or she might not be able to. If your partner is watching TV in bed or reading in bed with the lights on when you want to be sleeping, it's worth it to have a discussion about how that is impacting your sleep. If your partner snores or moves around a lot in his sleep, or her sleep you can encourage your partner to go and see a doctor to see if there is treatment available for those problems."

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