Good night sleep is important for your health. And sleep deprivation or insomnia has become a serious matter. There are a lot of guides about balanced diet, fitness and exercise, but not so much info about how to improve your sleep.
Sleep deprivation and insomnia links to many conditions, some medical and others are psychological. However, the good news is that these conditions can be reversed according to experts.
So, here are the reasons why you can’t sleep and the best recommendations on how to stop them from depriving you.
It is one of the obvious reasons. I’ve seen a lot of “coffee maniacs” who easily enjoy 6-8 cups of strong coffee per day. Of course, it may be the cause for your sleep deprivation. Most of the people tend to drink coffee late in the day, but keep in mind that the average half-life of caffeine is 5 hours.
So, if you take it late in the day you will still have some dose of caffeine in your system. Drinking coffee late in the day is a bad idea. If you are into coffee, do it early. In fact, too much caffeine not only interferes with your sleep but also leaves you feeling tired. You need to limit your intake of it to ensure that you do not experience a difficult time trying to sleep.
Many smokers equate smoking to relaxing, but as we all know there are so many reasons to quit. Sleep deprivation is actually one of those reasons. Nicotine is a stimulant, therefore, when you smoke before bedtime, you can expect to have inadequate sleep and waking several times throughout the night. This is similar to drinking coffee just before sleep. The best remedy to this is very obvious – just quit smoking.
When you sleep, your body and brain want to cool down. However, if your room temperature is too warm, it will interfere with the cool down process of your organism.
Trying to catch some sleep at night when it is too warm is troublesome. Try to keep your room cool, open window, turn on a fan or something like that.
Did you know that your body may desire to sleep at the wrong time? It can be a symptom of a circadian rhythm disorder, and that could be the reason why you can sleep.
Circadian rhythm means the natural pattern of the body’s function which includes the urge for hunger and sleep. Most of us want to sleep overnight, but there are people who may experience a shift in their circadian rhythm. The rhythm could shift early (sleep phase syndrome) or late (delayed sleep phase syndrome).
If you happen to have delayed sleep phase syndrome, it might be difficult for you to fall asleep at an earlier time. Therefore, you will likely stay in bed awake for several hours at the beginning of the night. After this you sleep late in the night, which makes it difficult for you to wake up in the morning. There are several treatments for this condition including melatonin, phototherapy also known as a light box and behavioral therapy.
Hunger could be the reason that you can not fall in sleep. There has been evidence prove people who are trying to lose weight may wake up several times in the night. If you are on diet, you should try to eat with high protein and low carbohydrates and sugar. It will let you have higher sleep quality without gain weigh.
Pregnancy also can lead to sleep deprivation. This is due to an increase in the hormone progesterone which gets you waking up to get to the bathroom, especially in your first three months in your pregnancy. Also, when you’re in your last trimester, your belly may cause some discomfort during your sleep.
We fall asleep overnight partly because of the darkness. You should not sleep when the lights are on. When your eyes expose to lights during the night, your brain gets tricked into thinking that it is time to wake up. This leads to a reduction in the production of melatonin, a hormone that releases by the lineal gland. Melatonin induces sleep and lowers your body temperature, therefore, when its production decreases at night you lack sleep. Don’t try to sleep with lights on – it can be a bad habit.
Today, there are so many addictive apps, they can actually tie us to them all day long and even at night. We tend to keep on checking our emails, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. Especially for teens, it is becoming a massive issue. Seems, you just can’t fall asleep without checking up an Instagram feed for the tenth time. All that can deprive your quality sleep. Remember when using your gadgets at night, your eyes exposes to lights which triggers the brain to induce a reduction in production of melatonin, thus you lack sleep. If you want a good night’s sleep, it is better to keep your laptops, mobile phones, iPads out of the bedroom.
Most of us do a lot of household chores, finish some work-related project or are on the internet just the hour before bed. This can actually make it difficult for you to catch some sleep. Working right up until bedtime does not allow you to relax and prepare your body for sleep. Just an hour before, you need to settle down and change the mode to a person who wants to have a good night sleep. You can take a bath, read a book or simply do anything that will make you feel relaxed.
There are certain medications that can affect your ability to catch a good night sleep. Some over-the-counter drugs, especially painkillers contain caffeine which can affect your night sleep. When buying such drugs you need to make sure to read the ingredients on the box or consult with your doctor. Certain medications for medical conditions such as high blood pressure and asthma can also affect your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. There are certain antidepressants, especially SSRIs such as Lexapro, Paxil and Prozac which continually release serotonin and can keep you alert. It is important to talk to your doctor if you think that your medications are taking a toll on your sleep.
Regular exercises, fitness and gym obviously can improve your sleep and overall health a lot. However, exercising too late about three hours to bedtime might disturb your sleep. Exercise keeps your brain alert which means that it will be difficult for you to catch some quality sleep. If you’re one of those people who like to exercise in the evening, do it at least four hours before bedtime.
Having too heavy dinner or spicy foods three hours before bedtime can be the reason why you can’t sleep. Late food can stimulate the body keeping the brain awake making it difficult for you to fall asleep. Try to have dinner at least three hours before bedtime. We recommend not to eat a lot after 6 pm. Also, try to avoid spicy foods for dinner. If you happen to feel hungry closer to bedtime, have a small snack that consists of protein and carbohydrates such as an egg with a cracker.
Sometimes you might go to bed thinking about a problem you need to solve. Maybe, it is some stressful project, you encountered on your job. We tend to wake up at times during the night, and then the problem just pops into our heads. To avoid this, you need to leave your bedroom and get to another room, just to redirect your thoughts to something else less stressful in another environment. When you feel less stressed, get back to your room and be sure to catch some good sleep. You should never try to think deep through a problem in the middle of the night. Just let your thoughts to go away, don’t “debate with thoughts”.
Many people think that alcohol can induce sleep, but alcohol actually disrupts it. After you drink alcohol, you might feel sleepy, but that only lasts for a short while. Taking alcohol close to bedtime causes your sleep to be lighter and waking up several times throughout the night.
On Friday and Saturday nights, we tend to stay up late and sleep in on Saturday and Sunday mornings. This is what many people do after a hard week at work. Staying up late and then sleeping in can ruin your biological clocks. Our biological clocks are controlled by a cluster of nerve cells in the brain that also regulate appetite and body temperature. So, even if you try to get to bed early on Sunday night it becomes difficult for you to catch some sleep, and you will feel tired on Monday morning. To avoid this make sure you don’t sleep more than an hour longer than usual even after you’ve been staying up late.
Having a messy bedroom can affect your sleep too. Having a cluttered nightstand, desk or floor leads to a bad sleep environment. With a cluttered mind, you can’t sleep well. Your room should be very well-organized and free of excess items.
Clockwatching, though hard to avoid, can disrupt your sleep. The habitual clockwatching can disorient your circadian rhythms, and within a short period of time, you will find yourself waking up at a time you don’t want to every night. This will deprive you off enough sleep. So, always place your watch in a direction that’s not facing you.
Watching TV until late in the night is always a bad idea. TV emits light that stimulates your brain activity something that you don’t want to happen if you want to have a good sleep. Also, the TV light tricks your brain into waking up.
This is just an overview of possible reasons why you can’t sleep. Of course, you should discuss these problems with your general practitioner first, to get to the root cause of the problem. Any other suggestions or reasons we missed? Join the discussion below.