Surprising Reasons Why You Can’t SleepMonday, December 19, 2016
Are you feeling tired, ill and find yourself nodding off at your desk even though you love your job? It can sometimes be obvious why you’re not sleeping, staying up till three am to binge watch your favourite tv programmes for example is probably not going to do you much good. But on other occasions, it can be harder to pinpoint what’s causing you to spend hours counting sheep, instead of catching the sleepy train to dreamland.
Your Bedroom Looks Like An Apple Store
We sit at our desks all day staring at a screen and then we pack up, take the train home and eat dinner while watching another screen. Then, we’ll head up to bed, and before we go to sleep, we’ll stare at one more screen while checking emails, using the Kindle app and Skyping friends and family before finally shutting our eyes. Unless they’re all switched off, each one will be emitting a pale blue light, flashing, or buzzing periodically. This can jolt you awake or prevent you from falling asleep when you're just drifting off. The light interupts the natural sleep cycle too, since light is a powerful 'wake up' message to the brain.
A Few Drinks Turned Into A Party
Any liquid consumed before bed will lead to more trips to the bathroom, thus disturbing your rest, but alcohol is especially bad as it leaves your mind alert, wide awake and buzzing at precisely the wrong time. Try to limit all liquids three hours before bedtime although if you’re suffering from a dry throat or a cough then pour a small glass of cold water for overnight. Alcohol that’s consumed in the late evening will also lead to lighter, broken sleep as your system is dealing with the effects of the drink. You might believe that a couple of glasses of wine makes you sleepy and indeed they do but they also lower the quality of the sleep. This then means you aren’t getting enough REM sleep which is what our bodies need the most in order to feel relaxed and refreshed the next day.
The Duvet Needs Changing
If you’re someone who complains that the room is either too hot or cold, tosses and turns all night, or hogs the covers just to throw them off then it may be that you have the wrong duvet on. Duvets actually have a warmth rating so the higher the heat, or tog, the warmer the duvet will be. There are also duvets for certain times of the year so it could be worth seeing if you’ve been shivering under a summer one or sweating under a winter one all this time.
You’ve Had An Evening Workout
While exercise is vital for our overall health and wellbeing a workout to close to sleep will mean your brain is still firing on all cylinders, pumping endorphins through the body and leaving you feeling twitchy, restless and far too awake. It’s even worse if you’ve combined the gym with a warm down shower at home as the lukewarm water helps to stimulate the skin and raises your body temperature. Sleep happens quicker when the body's cooler, so it’s paramount you give it a chance to cool off before you hit the covers.
The Mattress Has Saggy Springs
If you wake up feeling more like you’ve gone a few rounds with Mike Tyson than having just enjoyed a blissful night’s sleep your mattress may be the culprit. A mattress that has noticeable springs, has a dip in the middle or feels softer than it should certainly won’t be doing your quest to get rest any favors. Any mattress where the springs are poking through is very dangerous and should be immediately discarded. Look to replace it with a medium firm one with a good guarantee, or consider buying a pocket spring mattress or memory foam one which will greatly increase how comfortable you are which, in turn, should help those troubling bouts of insomnia in no time.
Dinner Was Like A Banquet
If you’ve eaten a big meal, your body then has to work overtime to digest the food, as well as dealing with bloating if you’ve eaten too much or any water retention if you’ve not drunk enough during the day. Spicy food like an Indian or a large meal of pasta can stimulate the body even further leaving you feeling more like an overblown beach ball than a human being. If you are hungry in the evening aim to have small, healthier snacks that have a combination of protein and carbohydrates for instance, a banana, some natural popcorn or peanut butter on toast.
There's Too Much Light Entering The Room
Even having the hall or landing light on can dilute the quality of sleep as the best rest happens when your body is in the dark, or even pitch black room. If you have street lights shining in through the window, it can disrupt you, make it harder to fall asleep and even wake you up again. Make sure to shut the curtains or blinds and block out as much light as possible. Not all kids like the dark, in fact, it’s quite a common childhood fear, so buy your children night lights or low light lamps that are safe for use overnight and are light enough to comfort them but not enough so that they can’t sleep.
You’ve Got Your Priorities Wrong
Feeling overwhelmed? Worried about everything you need to do? Not sure where to start? If we’re feeling stressed out our minds tend to start working overtime as we lie awake thinking of everything we need to do, while’ we’re resisting the urge to get out of bed, and get on with something. Once you’re in bed try not to get out again, as any work you do will be of an inferior quality because even though your mind is awake your body is tired. During the day make sure you write lists to keep on top of things as well as breaking down tasks into small, manageable chunks instead of trying to deal with everything at once.