Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at night? More often than not, sleeplessness or sleep deprivation is caused by poor sleeping habits or bad sleep hygiene. Certain activities could be delaying sleep and you might not know it! Below are some of the most common reasons why you are not getting enough rest at night:
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Regular exercise is known to improve sleep. However, too much of a good thing can be bad for you too. Working out causes adrenaline and endorphin rush, which can be a good thing or a bad depending on the time of the day!
If the time you work out is close to bedtime, the body doesn’t have enough time to recover from the adrenaline rush, hence, you’ll have trouble sleeping at night.
Image used under Creative Commons from Quinn Dombrowski
Late Night Coffee
Taking a cup of coffee or several cups of tea before bedtime can disrupt sleep. Caffeine contains a stimulate called caffeine, which prolongs mental alertness. This stimulant works by blocking the adenosine in the brain, a chemical that triggers sleepiness. Studies show that even a small cup of coffee is enough to shorten sleep and reduce sleep quality. Worse, caffeine causes wakefulness from frequent urination.
Common Aches and Pains
Common aches and pains – including muscle soreness, back pain, temporomandibular joint syndrome, migraine, and other causes of chronic pain – delays sleep at night. A study published in the Health magazine noted that about 15% Americans that suffer from chronic pain have sleep problems.
To relieve pain and improve the chances of sleep, take a warm shower before bedtime. You can also use a massage roller or a heated pad to alleviate muscle pain. If none of these solutions help, it’s time to talk to your doctor and have yourself checked.
The mind has to be calm and peaceful to induce sleep. If you are tensed, it’ll be hard to fall asleep. Depression, anxiety, and other mental problems are some of the most common causes of stress and tension, leading to sleep deprivation and/or insomnia. To enjoy a restful slumber at night, incorporate mindfulness and holistic activities to keep the mind calm and ease tension. Light stretches, yoga, massages, meditation, all these will lift the spirits, ease stress and promote better sleep.
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Wrong Sleep Temps
The wrong sleeping temperature may disrupt sleep. If a room if too hot, the body produces sweat, which can make sleeping uncomfortable. A freezing bedroom may seem ideal for sleeping but it’s not. Apart from causing muscles to tense up because of the cold, you’re more likely to wake up in the dead of night if the sheets fall off during sleep. The ideal room temperature for sleeping should be between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit so set your thermostat accordingly.
Giving in to your sugar cravings can affect the quality of your nighttime rest. While the body can process simple sugars quickly, the rising blood sugar level will make it hard for you to fall sleep. If say, you cannot sleep without taking a snack, skip the donut and go for light snack comprised of lean meat with a little fat. A filling, nutrient-rich snack won’t cause your blood sugar level to rise thus, it won’t cause sleepless nights.
Do you take your mobile phone to bed? Do you spend hours each night scrolling through your smartphone or tablet? Do you use your personal computer at night, right before you go back to bed? All these activities are causing you sleep issues.
Apart from raising brain activity, which leads to heightened alertness, using your mobile devices in bed delays sleepiness because of the blue light. The body’s internal clock depends on darkness and natural light to trigger sleepiness and wakefulness respectively. Exposure to white or blue light upsets the body’s internal clock, making you feel more alert when you should be sleeping. To prevent sleep issues, do not use your mobile devices an hour before bedtime.
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Pre-menstrual syndrome refers to a variety of physical and emotional symptoms that signal a woman’s upcoming menstrual period. These symptoms can be felt a week or two before a woman’s period. Studies show that women are more likely to lose sleep a few days leading up to their period due to pain and mood changes. Eating healthy meals, drinking at least 8 glasses of water daily and working out help reduce PMS symptoms.
Lack of Social Interactions
Healthy relationships are natural stress busters. When you have a solid support system, you feel more at ease and this will show on your overall health and well-being. A UCLA study found that women who have healthy friendships sleep better. They are also less likely to be stressed out because banding together increases the oxytocin level in the body. Oxytocin is a biochemical that blocks stress hormone cortisol. The lack of social interactions has the opposite effect. With no healthy relationships, a person feels vulnerable, stressed-out and mental distress will inevitably lead to sleepless nights.