If you’ve always had trouble sleeping, you might well have just got used to it. But it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, there is highly likely to be a particular reason that you’re struggling to catch your 40 winks. Read on for eleven common factors than can be detrimental to your sleep.
Alcohol makes us sleepy because it is a mild sedative. However, that sleep can’t then be undisturbed or peaceful because of the other effects alcohol has on the body. As well as being a sedative, it is also a diuretic, meaning it increases the amount we need to use the toilet. Once our bladder is full, our body wakes us up to let us know. Alcohol also makes the heart beat faster, and can make breathing more difficult than usual. Both of these things can wake a sleeping person, as can the fact that alcohol dehydrates us. We wake up thirsty, in need of water to counteract the side effects of dehydration, like headaches.
In the same way, that alcohol can disturb sleep, so can drinks that contain caffeine. This includes tea, coffee, energy drinks and some soft drinks. Research has found that an intake of more than 600mgs of caffeine can cause insomnia. If you consider that a standard coffee contains up to 150mgs of caffeine. It’s easy to see how easy it would be to go over that threshold in an average day. A caffeine intake tracker app might help. If you can’t bear to give up your caffeine fix, have it as early on it in the day as possible, so its effects have some time to wear off.
Your evening meal
Ensuring what you’re eating at night isn’t affecting how you sleep can be tricky. In fact, it might well be what you’re not eating. Eat too much and your stomach will still be trying to digest it. Eat too little or nothing at all, and your blood sugar may drop to distracting levels. Balance is the key here. Or, if you do want to eat a big meal, consume it as early as possible.
Napping during the day
This one can become a vicious cycle, fast. If you’re tired from not enough sleep, it can be tempting to have a short nap during the day. However, doing so could well be making the problem worse. Never nap after 2.30pm-3.00pm. If you do want to nap before then, keep it to between 20 and 30 minutes.
It’s not an easy feat to eat the recommended amount of fruit and veg and drink all that water. It’s even harder to maintain this day after day. Thankfully, there are things you can do to make it easier, or tide you over if you miss a day. Vitamins and minerals, like bio care vitamins, contain essential nutrients. A nourished body will sleep far more peacefully at night, fully able to replenish itself effective. Replace the chocolate on your work desk with fruit and unsalted nuts and seeds. These six foods are said to promote healthier sleep. A better diet during the day leads to a more restful sleep at night.
An irregular sleeping pattern
Everybody has an internal body clock that monitors when we sleep and how long we sleep for. If you continually interfere with your body clock, it is going to start to struggle. Wherever possible, fall asleep and wake up at the same time every day. Resist the temptation to nap on the weekends or days off.
Stress and worry
It’s not just the things we’re putting into our body that can have a detrimental effect on our sleep. It’s also what is going on in our heads. Worrying about problems and issues not only stops us from falling asleep, but it can also wake us up once we do drop off. Similarly, stress and issues like depression can mean we wake up earlier than we should be doing in the mornings. If you live a stressful lifestyle or suspect you may be suffering from a mental health issue, it is crucial to see a health professional. They will be able to get to the root of the problem, and help you take steps to improve things.
You might think you have adapted to interfering noises in your home, but that doesn’t mean they don’t affect your sleep. This could be passing planes if you live under a flight path, noisy neighbours or a snoring partner. Consider investing in an effective pair of earplugs. You might like standard foam ones, but there are also wax earplugs on the market. These mould to the exact shape of your ear, reducing the amount of sound that can get in. If you don’t want to wear earplugs, see if there are other ways to block noise. If it’s coming from outside, for example, consider investing in double-glazed windows.
It’s obvious that exercising helps you sleep. However, beware of exercising too vigorously in the evenings. Exercising makes your body release hormones that stimulate you and raises your metabolism. Falling asleep with these things still happening in your body is very challenging. If exercising in the evenings is the only time you can do it, ensure you have finished your workout within four hours of when you want to fall asleep. The National Sleep Foundation has some more information on how exercise can help insomnia here.
An underlying medical condition
There are various medical conditions that can be highly detrimental to your sleep. Sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome are just a couple of these. If you suspect you might be suffering from a condition that is affecting your sleep, speak to a Doctor.
Your prescription medication
If you’ve discounted all of the other potential reasons for being the cause of your lack of sleep, look towards any medication you take. Common antibiotics right through the specialist heart drugs can have an adverse effect on sleep. This goes for antidepressants too. Speak to a health professional if you suspect that your medication might be negatively affecting you at night. They might be able to prescribe a suitable alternative.