For most people, getting 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep is easy but there are others who just can’t fall asleep or stay asleep at night no matter how hard they try to set the mood. If you are one of the unlucky few who spends most nights tossing and turning in bed, you’re probably desperate for shuteye. The fact, some habits may be decreasing your chances of getting zzzs at night. Below are some of the likeliest culprit for your sleepless nights:
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Apart from your lifestyle, your diet plays a major role in your sleep habits. Indulging on greasy, fatty, carbohydrates-rich meals an hour or two before bedtime will lead to disturbed sleep. Eating a heavy meal before bedtime makes you uncomfortably full and the body needs more time to process your meal, all these factors can impede a restful slumber. To promote better sleep, do not set bedtime too closely to dinner time.
Do you take your work with you at home? Do you obsess about the littlest details or does an argument with your best friend leave you anxious at night? Anxiety is one of the most common causes of insomnia and sleep deprivation. When you’re stressed and anxious, you think too much and this causes the brain to remain alert thanks to the flood of cortisol in the system. While you have very little control over your own thoughts, it’s important to ease the mind to prep the body to sleep. Light stretches, meditation, yoga, listening to soothing music, massages, all these activities help ease anxiety and melt stress away.
Waking up at 1 in the afternoon during the weekends instead of the usual 7 AM during the weekdays will ruin your sleeping pattern. And when your sleeping routine is ruined, the body will struggle to adjust to the changes, rendering you unable to sleep right away at night. We all could use an extra 20 to 30 minutes of sleep during the weekends but if you’re serious about developing better sleep hygiene, always sleep and wake at the same time every day to set your body clock.
Image used under Creative Commons from hans van den berg
An innocent 1-hour nap in the afternoon may seem harmless but making a habit out of taking long siestas could ruin nighttime sleep for you. When you sleep too much in the afternoons, it will be hard to fall right back to sleep in the evening because the body has rested enough. It’s okay to take a 20 to 30-minute cat naps to refresh the body during the day but taking 1 to 2 hour-long siestas is a no-no!
Estrogen and progesterone levels among women would spike and dip every month and these changes could wreak havoc to sleep, causing sleeplessness, trouble staying asleep, or wakefulness during the night. To minimize the effects of hormonal imbalance, take a warm soak a couple of hours before hitting the sack. If you suffer from muscle cramps, take painkillers so the pain won’t keep you up all night.
A Messy Bedroom
A cluttered bedroom does hamper sleep at night. From messy floors to disorganized vanity, a cluttered sleeping environment reflects a cluttered mind, which elevates stress level in the body causing sleepless nights. To sleep better, your bedroom must be conducive to sleep. Tidy up, pick your dirty clothes off the floor, get a couple of bins and organize your table, all these will help you create the perfect sleeping environment!
Anything that glows in a dark room feels light a spotlight when you’re trying to sleep. Ambient lighting can ruin sleep because it upsets the internal clock, making you feel more alert when you should be sleeping. To get rid of ambient light from streetlights, use black out curtains. Do not use night lights, glowing alarm clocks, or mobile devices if your eyes are sensitive to light.
The next time insomnia hits despite doing everything right, consider what types of medications you took a few hours before bedtime. Certain types of vitamins – such as B6 and B12 – as well as steroids, may cause sleep deprivation. If you suspect that the meds you’re taking are affecting sleep, we highly suggest talking to your doctor about your current prescriptions.
Image used under Creative Commons from Clare Black
Mentally Stimulating Activities
Most people would read books, solve puzzles, or indulge in binge-watching in hopes of getting a better night’s rest. But these activities will not help you fall asleep at all. Any emotionally and intellectually demanding activity can trigger the brain to stay alert. Engaging in these activities will lead to poor quality sleep. To get a good night’s rest, do bits of light reading or read a lighthearted magazine and skip tearjerkers.
Studies show that the ideal bedroom temperature is around 65 degrees Fahrenheit. If a room is too stuffy or warm, it induces sweating which can make falling asleep difficult or it could rouse you from sleep. Swapping regular pillows with stay-cool pillows helps maintain the perfect sleeping temperature for a reinvigorating rest.
On the other hand, if the room is too cold, the muscles tense up as you pile on the blankets, which make sleeping hard too. Keep the room temperature at the ideal level to increase the chances of a restful slumber.