There’s a long list of factors that can prevent you from getting a good night’s rest. Whether you’re suffering from anxiety, allergies or a chronic form of insomnia, losing sleep can greatly affect you physically and mentally. Here are six common reasons why you’re not getting enough sleep, and what you can do to avoid them.
1. CONSUMING CAFFEINE – Caffeine (whether it’s a dark chocolate bar or “decaf” coffee) during the morning is one thing. But there are many people who do so late in the day and/or a few hours before going to sleep. A recent study showed that after consuming caffeine a few hours before bed can disrupt the body’s internal clock, which can lead to jet lag-style sluggishness during daylight hours. Phyllis Zee, MD, PhD, director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, states that “Caffeine can affect you for six, seven, eight, maybe even more than 10 hours”.
2. DRINKING ALCOHOL – According to Laura Cipullo, RD, author of the “The Women’s Health Body Clock Diet”, “Alcohol is one of the biggest body-clock disruptors out there. It decreases the amount of time you spend in the deepest sleep stages and, consequently, your level of wakefulness the next day.” It’s fine to have a glass of wine with dinner, but alcohol must be cut out within two to three hours before your bedtime. And while the occasional nightcap may help you fall asleep — it won’t be a sound sleep. That wine or gin will make you wake up during the night, experts say. In addition, since alcohol is a potent muscle relaxant, it can also increase your risk of snoring. Snorers — and their bed partners — often experience restless sleep leading to sleepiness and difficulty concentrating during the day.
3. USING ELECTRONICS – Melatonin is a sleep hormone (one of the most essential produced by your brain) that controls your body clock, and those levels typically increase as it gets darker in the evening. Blue light sources like those from your phone, tablet, and laptop suppress the production of melatonin, and as a result, you won’t feel sleepy. Make it a point to unplug about an hour before bedtime (which can also help with the anxiety issue). However, if you’re not ready to put your smartphone, tablet or laptop down, we suggest that you use a program like f.lux or app like Night Mode. They change the color of your screen to more of a warmer, reddish tone closer to bedtime. This is easier on your eyes and may help with sleep.
F.LUX (free download for Windows, Mac, Linux, iPhone/iPad & Android) – https://justgetflux.com/
NIGHT MODE (for Android) – https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=pt.bbarao.nightmode&hl=en
4. WATCHING TV – According to Phyllis Zee, “the amount of blue light your television emits depends on the type, but no matter what, the light is bright”. And while you sit farther away from your big screen than you do your phone, you still want to avoid any kind of bright light because it all impacts your melatonin levels. In addition, we recommend that you turn off your television an hour before you go to bed.
5. EXERCISING – In one study of more than 2,600 adults, those who did at least 2.5 hours of moderate-to-vigorous activity per week saw a 65% improvement in sleep quality. They also said they felt more alert during the day. However, a study in the journal Sleep looked at how the time of day women sweated impacted their sleep. Those who exercised in the morning had less trouble falling asleep, whereas those who worked out at night had more trouble dozing off. While it’s been proven that working out can help you sleep better, you do have to time it correctly.
6. EATING SPICY FOODS – Spicy foods before bedtime can give you indigestion that makes it nearly impossible to get a good night’s sleep. But even if you can eat spicy foods without discomfort, they are still linked with more time spent awake during the night and taking longer to fall asleep. In general, you should stop eating about three hours before sleep, but if you’re worried about hunger keeping you up, a light snack (preferably cereal, fruit and nut butter or crackers with hummus) is fine.
For additional assistance in getting a good night’s sleep, check out these products. The Sleep Ready Light Bulb simulates a sunset every night with low blue light output and a soothing amber glow. With this cut in blue light, it helps prevent sleeping disorders and gives a natural good night sleep!
Or the Langkou sleeping eye mask headset, that blocks out all other noise and gives you the ability to play peaceful, relaxing music and melodies while you go into an uninterrupted slumber.
And if you want even further information on getting a good night rest, check out Shawn Stevenson’s acclaimed book, Sleep Smarter: 21 Strategies to sleep your way to a better body, better health and better success. Available on Kindle, physical hardcover and softcover books as well as Audible (to be played with your Langkou sleeping eye mask headset perhaps).
Thanks for reading! Feel free to share your thoughts on our list, along with ways in which you ensure that you get the good night’s sleep that you rightfully deserve. Don’t forget to share this article, as well as subscribe to our Peace of Mind Facebook page for the latest updates on our blog.