You probably have fond memories of the times when you could fall asleep at the drop of a hat and sleep well until you woke up the next day around lunchtime. Now, you may experience lighter, more fragmented sleep and less consistent morning rejuvenation.
Alterations in sleep-wake cycles are a normal part of the aging process, and they may contribute to a decline in sleep quality. There’s also a good chance the problem is physical and, therefore, solvable. However, there are many causes of sleep disruption, and these concerns need to be heard and addressed as soon as possible because sleep deprivation has far-reaching consequences. Read on to find out why you might find it hard to get to sleep so you can take steps to change things for the better.
Photo by cottonbro studio
Too Much Napping
When it comes to sleep, good habits are just as important as they are in other parts of your life. A good night’s sleep comes from good sleep habits, while a bad night’s sleep comes from bad sleep habits.
Many of the things you like to do before bed, and even some of the things you like to do during the day, can mess up your sleep cycle and make it harder for you to get the good sleep you need. For example, a nap in the middle of the afternoon can help you finish the day strong, but a nap in the evening can leave you wide awake when you actually need to be asleep.
This throws off your circadian rhythm, which means you might not feel tired and ready to sleep at your usual bedtime. To avoid this, don’t take a nap after 1 pm, but if you have to, try to sleep for no more than 30 minutes. If you can keep going even though you’re tired until your usual bedtime, your body will thank you by giving you a deep sleep and a well-rested day the next day.
Using Electronics Too Late
Using electronics right before bed is another bad habit that can keep you from getting enough sleep. Smartphones, laptops, tablets, and TVs have become important parts of our lives, but the blue light they give off can stop your body from making its own melatoninwhich can make it hard to fall asleep.
As you get ready for bed each night, your body makes more melatonin on its own. And every morning, when the sun comes up, your body makes less melatonin to help you wake up and get ready for the day. This natural production of melatonin can be easily thrown off by too much blue light, so avoid using your devices 60 to 90 minutes before your usual bedtime to avoid the effects of blue light on your sleep.
Eating Too Close To Bedtime
If you work long hours or have an unpredictable schedule, eating a full meal might be something to look forward to when you finally get home. But if you do this too close to bedtime, it can cause problems later on. If you eat too close to bedtime, your body will be too busy digesting your food to help you sleep. Instead, make sure to stop eating at least a few hours before you plan to go to bed so your body has time to digest.
If you do need to eat close to bedtime, a smaller, nutrient-dense snack before bed could be a better option. Make your lunch a larger meal to ensure you are getting all the nutrients you need throughout the day.
Also, don’t eat anything spicy before bed. Spicy foods eaten right before bed can cause heartburn and acid refluxwhich can keep you from sleeping and make you feel uncomfortable.
A messy bedroom
Although it’s easier said than done for some of us, the bedroom should be a tranquil space where we can leave the stresses of the day behind and enjoy a restful night’s sleep. However, recent research suggests that the cleanliness of your bedroom may have an impact on the quality of your sleep and, by extension, your mood, productivity, and mental health.
A study found that people who have more stuff in their bedrooms take longer to fall asleep than those whose rooms are neat and tidy. Of course, if you understand the benefits of antifragility, this might not be such an issue, but if not, it could be what is causing you to have sleep problems. The problem is, you might be too tired from lack of sleep to tidy up – try to make the effort to do so, as it could make a huge difference.
Both anxiety and depression are frequent mental health diagnoses, and each has its own unique methods of disrupting a good night’s rest. Talk to a medical expert, such as your primary care physician or a specialist your doctor recommends, if you’re having trouble sleeping or are having mental health issues. Insomnia symptoms may improve after receiving therapy for underlying anxiety or depression.
Other problems, such as hyperthyroidism or neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis (MS), could potentially be contributing to your sleeplessness or mental health disorder, which your primary care physician can help you rule out.
Medication is an important part of treating many long-term health problems, such as depression and anxiety. However, some medications have side effects that can make it hard to sleep or even cause insomnia.
Even prescription sleep aids can make it hard to sleep because they lose their effectiveness over time. Even taking a melatonin supplement can stop your body from making its own melatonin in the future.
If you think that any of your prescriptions might be keeping you from getting a good night’s sleep, consult a doctor about adjusting your dosage schedule or even getting a different prescription. Don’t stop taking your medications or take them at different times without your doctor’s permission, however, as this could be dangerous.
Caffeine At The Wrong Time
People often drink coffee when they are tired and need a pick-me-up during the day. But coffee, tea, and other caffeinated drinks may keep you up at night if you drink them in the late afternoon or evening.
The caffeine in these drinks acts as a stimulant which can make it hard to sleep. Instead, try to stay away from caffeine 6 to 8 hours before bed. This may seem like a lot, but it will make sure that all of the caffeine is out of your system by the time you’re ready for bed.
Something that can be helpful when trying to get better sleep is having a bedtime ritual. When you pick a relaxing activity to practice regularly before bed, it can help signal to your brain and body that it is time to rest, which can make it easier for you to fall into a deep and restful sleep. A bedtime ritual can be especially powerful when you pick a calming activity that you enjoy.
Journaling, reading a book, and gentle stretches can all be great examples of calming activities that can help you get in the right mindset for bed. While some may think that scrolling through social media feeds on their phone or watching TV can be good options before bed, the reality is that these activities can actually keep you up later, so opting for something that doesn’t involve a screen can be ideal. .
The bottom line
Good sleep is a huge part of maintaining good health. That being said, many suffer from either a lack of sleep, or poor sleep quality. The good news is, though, that there can be many simple ways to improve the quantity and quality of sleep you get and start feeling healthier today.
In all honesty, there are many reasons to have a sleep study done, especially if you or your loved ones are suffering as a result. Treatments for sleep disorders have a high rate of success for patients willing to take the leap in getting diagnosed. Within a short time of getting treatment, many patients find themselves feeling more alert and invigorated during the day and report an amazing change in the quality of their life.
The Alaska Sleep Clinic specializes in diagnosing and treating a variety of sleep disorders. If you live in Alaska and are ready to get your sleep disorder under control, sign up for a sleep study today by clicking the link below and take the first step towards more fulfilling sleep.