Sleep is an important function that we need to survive. Sleep is what restores our bodies after each day, by helping us to process memories, and refresh our health. We even sleep when we are sick because it does wonders to improve many conditions.
Our brains are remarkable organs that process very complicated internal mechanisms while we
sleep. Without sleep, you start to feel restless and grumpy, but it can affect you physically as well.
If you have trouble sleeping at night or getting a good night’s rest, there could be external factors such as these six common causes.
The Environment Isn’t Right
A lot of sleeping problems happen in the summer because your body temperature is too hot to reach REM sleep. The body needs to be a cool 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Try to regulate the heat in the bedroom and the house overall so that you sleep snuggly. Put a fan on overnight during the summer, but make sure that you don’t get too cold.
Another reason is that there is too much light or noise in the bedroom. Your brain tells your body when it’s ready to sleep when the sun goes down, but if there is too much external influence, you won’t get the proper rest you need. Ideally, you want to black out the windows or curtains and get a thermometer in the bedroom that can turn the heat up or down.
Your Circadian Rhythm is Out of Whack
The circadian rhythm is the body’s natural internal clock, which tells it when to wake up and when to start feeling sleepy, working on the standard 24-hour period in a day. Evolution has forced this biological process to indicate that when it’s light outside, we should be productive, and when it’s dark, it’s time to rest. When your sleep schedule and circadian rhythm are out of sync, you have problems falling and staying asleep.
Modern life has caused many people to develop a circadian rhythm disorder because people are working longer hours, sometimes at night, and we spend more time in front of artificial lighting.
It’s a part of our TVs, our cell phones, and we have multiple lights on inside the house at night. There are ways that you can manage a circadian rhythm disorder with certain apps, such as Rise Science. Their website has a mobile application that you can download to track your sleep cycles. It can help determine how well you rest at night and suggest ways to improve your sleep.
If you have a partner, and you snore, your snoring is likely keeping them awake more than you. If you live alone, you may not know that you snore at night, and how bad it’s affecting your sleep. Everyone snores a little bit, but too much snoring can disrupt your sleep, especially if you are particularly loud since you may wake yourself up often without realizing it.
Excessive snoring can also be a symptom of something more serious, like sleep apnoea or a deviated septum. Both of these conditions are easy to diagnose with a quick check-up with your regular GP. Your snoring could also be caused by the position in which you sleep. Sleeping on your stomach can block airways, making it harder for air to pass through. Sleeping on your back is also not ideal, so you should try to stay on your side each night.
Exercise Routine May Be Too Late
Exercise gets your blood pumping and your body moving, but it’s not a great idea to do your daily routine close to bedtime. Your body’s clock has a big impact on this, and the best thing is to exercise during the day when you have more energy. If you cannot get away from exercising at night because you work all day, make sure to schedule it at least three hours before you plan to go to bed. Even short 10-minute bursts of exercise three times a day can achieve the daily recommendation, so you may not have to work out late at night. For exercising at night, just make sure that the activity isn’t too strenuous. Incorporate more light walks or an evening swim rather than pumping iron.
Everything from stress and anxiety to obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression can wreak havoc on your sleep cycle. Anxiety and depression for one are linked to a lack of quality sleep. You may be taking short naps throughout the day because of the depression, but you’re never in full REM mode. If you’re always anxious about your life, you keep your mind so busy it cannot put itself to sleep.
Other health conditions such as thyroid disease can interfere with your body’s internal clock. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, more physical problems will start to present themselves. Obsessive behaviour can keep a person from resting fully because the body is constantly moving. You may need a therapist if the insomnia is due to a mental condition like this.
Apart from the common caffeine that can keep a person up all night, some other foods and drinks can affect your sleep. For some people, milk helps them, especially if it’s warm, but for others, it can be the reason a person isn’t getting a proper night’s rest. Milk contains tryptophan, which acts as serotonin to induce sleep, but it isn’t enough for everyone.
Another culprit is tobacco and alcohol. Tobacco, like caffeine, is a stimulant and even makes the heart work harder. Alcohol, although used by many as a sleeping aid, only works for a few hours. That nightcap may cause you to wake up in the middle of the night, and then you can’t get back to sleep.
The only way to correct your sleeping is to calculate and measure the quality of sleep you get each night. Are you waking up because there is an outside light disrupting you, or are you subconsciously anxious every day? The answer could be a very simple fix.
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