Ask The Pharmacist: 7 reasons you don’t sleep like a baby

Suzy Cohen

Chronic sleep deprivation causes you to crave more junk food, skip your exercise routine and deflate your mood. The only real way to cure insomnia is to find out why it’s occurring in the first place. Don’t just take sleeping pills to knock yourself out, consider the impediments to sleeping like a baby and fix those.

Here are 7 reasons you don’t sleep like a baby.

1. Timing

If you’re accidentally taking stimulating medication at night instead of the morning, you will not sleep well. A fellow gym-rat told me she takes her Synthroid at 7 p.m. and my neighbor uses his Albuterol (ashtma inhaler) at bedtime.

Both of these medications are ideally taken in the morning because they will keep you up at night. That said, if you wake up some nights coughing, or with a chest tightness, you could certainly use your inhaler at night, but bronchodilators that are prescribed for general maintenance are best used during daytime hours.

2. Medical conditions

What if you have Hashimoto’s or Graves’ disease? Both of these conditions cause erratic changes in thyroid hormone which can block sleep.

Untreated acid reflux is another common cause for poor, unrefreshing sleep.

More:Ask The Pharmacist: How to get more energy without coffee

Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease cause disruptions in the natural sleep-wake cycle and if you are in the beginning stages, you may not even realize you have these conditions brewing.

Type 2 diabetes will disturb your sleep due to the frequent urges to urinate.

3. Allergies

You might think I’m simply referring to hayfever, and while that certainly will keep you up at night, I’m thinking bigger. When I say allergies, I mean everything that could possibly annoy your immune system from the warm milk you drank before bedtime, to the goose down duvet, to the flannel sheets, and the polyester rug under your bed, to the dust on your fan blades, to dust mites in general … to cat or dog fur and so on.

Histamine release will keep you up at night, not to mention the miserable symptoms.

4. Temperature

Personally if it’s too hot, I can’t sleep. I like the bedroom cold, but Sam likes it warm and cozy, so on cold snowy Colorado nights I leave our window open but I give Sam a microwaveable hot pack.

5. Chronic pain

Only 36 percent of chronic pain sufferers enjoy regular, good sleep according to the National Sleep Foundation.

6. Green tea

It makes some people alert due to the minor caffeine content. It doesn’t make everyone sleep like you may have thought.

7. Drinking coffee

Most of you know not to drink coffee at night for obvious reasons (the caffeine), but what you don’t know is that coffee is a drug mugger of magnesium. This mineral is a natural chill pill, and it helps your muscles relax.

Magnesium is thought to be a calming mineral so coffee drinkers are up against potential mag deficiency, and therefore more prone to migraines, insomnia and sadness. Drinking decaf doesn’t matter because decaf coffee still contains chlorogenic acid, which is the compound that mugs the magnesium.

Suzy Cohen is a registered pharmacist. The information presented here is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose any condition. Visit