If you are not getting enough sleep, some of your daily habits and activities may be to blame. Do you do any of the below 7 things?
Sleep is a critical restorative and therapeutic process for the mind and body. A lack of sleep results in lowered cognitive function, as well as fatigue. The brain eliminates toxins from neural pathways while we sleep. When we are not getting enough sleep, we place our physiological and psychological state in jeopardy.
Our behavior and habits during the day determine our body’s ability to fall asleep.
Here are 7-reasons why you’re not getting enough sleep.
1. Eating and Drinking Before Bed
Our gastrointestinal system requires energy to digest the food we eat. When we eat meals or snacks within a few hours before retiring to bed, digestion affects our circulation. Ensure that you eat as early as you can in the afternoon or morning.
Intermittent fasting is a process where you eat during a set time window for 6 to 10-hours, and then fast throughout the duration of the day. Fasting improves blood sugar and cholesterol levels, improving circulation. Set your eating window from breakfast and restrict calorie consumption after the 10-hour restriction period ends.
Avoid drinking any fluids in the 2-hours before bed. This strategy prevents you from getting up in the night. Broken sleep reduces its therapeutic value.
2. Too Many Stimulants
Drinking coffee or energy drinks in the afternoon will keep you awake at night. The stimulants and caffeine in these beverages reduce the brain’s ability to fall asleep.
You’re more likely to toss and turn, unable to switch off your mind. As a result, you may find yourself not getting enough sleep.
3. Drinking Alcohol
Overindulging in alcohol will affect your sleep. As we sleep, or body metabolizes the alcohol metabolites and sulfites in beer, coolers, spirits, and wine. The metabolic activity results in sleep disturbance, and you’re likely to wake up frequently in the night.
4. No Set Sleeping Routine
Circadian rhythms control our sleeping cycle, changing brain wavelengths from waking to a sleeping state. Make sure you go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
Training your body into this habit is critical to achieving the rest you need to function optimally during the day. A regular sleeping cycle ensures that you don’t experience broken sleep and receive as much benefit from your time between the sheets.
5. An Active Mind
More than 40-million Americans suffer from a sleeping disorder. Insomnia, restless leg and apnea affect the ability to fall and remain asleep. Before you go to bed, establish a pre-sleep ritual to calm your thoughts.
Stretch your limbs and run a hot bath with Epsom salts or essential oils. Drink a cup of chamomile tea to distress and calm your mind. Meditate for a few minutes and clear your mind of any anxious thoughts before you retire to bed.
6. Poor Sleeping Environment
Your bedroom is the final frontier of sleep. Trying to fall asleep in a loud, lit environment is tremendously challenging. Purchase blackout curtains and a sleeping eye mask to keep out the light. You can use a white-noise machine or ear-plugs to reduce noise.
7. Mobile Devices
Mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets emit blue light from the screen. The brain interprets this as daylight which affects your circadian rhythm, preventing you from falling asleep. Avoid staring at your phone or tablet for an hour or two before going to bed.
Set your notifications on silent or turn your phone to airplane mode. This strategy prevents interruptions in your sleep from message alerts at night.
Speak to Your Doctor about Sleeping Aids
If you implement the above strategies, you’ll notice a dramatic improvement in your ability to fall asleep and your sleep quality. However, if you still find that it’s challenging to drift off and you are not getting enough sleep, you may be suffering from a sleep disorder.
An estimated 35-million Americans report their quality of sleep as “fair or poor.” Further statistics show that more than 50-million people in the United States suffer from a chronic sleep disorder. Insomnia, restless legs, or obstructive sleep apnea (OSA,) are all such examples.
Sleeping disorders are a severe health issue that you need to address immediately. Research shows that people who receive less than 7-hours of sleep a night put themselves at risk of developing a mental or physical illness.
Sleep deficiency results in the onset of depression or anxiety disorders that exacerbate sleeping disorders. Auto-immune diseases like adrenal fatigue are also a concern for individuals that don’t receive enough sleep.
Speak to your doctor about a natural or pharmaceutical sleep aid. These compounds work to assist your sleep. Your physician will assess your situation. If they think you have a mild sleeping disorder, they’ll recommend an over-the-counter remedy.
Anti-histamine sleep aids and Melatonin supplements are examples of OTC products that don’t require a prescription. These supplements increase production of melatonin in the brain, making it easier to fall asleep.
“Z-drugs” are stronger pharmaceuticals used for severe sleep disorders. These drugs may create user dependency. Your doctor won’t recommend their long-term use.
The Final Thought – Get in Rhythm
The purpose of sleep aids is to help you establish a sleeping cycle and regular circadian rhythms. These compounds are a tool, rather than a crutch. Follow your physician’s guidelines and don’t misuse or abuse the supplements or your prescription.