Ever lay down awake in bed, trying to will yourself to sleep but can’t quite make it there?
It’s a familiar feeling to many, and we sympathise. Getting to sleep, even if you’re bone tired and have stayed away from caffeine and the blue light from your devices all day can still be difficult.
But it’s more than likely that one of these small, seemingly insignificant things is what’s getting between you and a good night’s sleep. Read this and banish them from your nightly routine if you want to squeeze in your restful eight hours.
1. You’ve had too much to drink
You might feel like a drink or two (or more) makes you feel sleepy, but an excess of booze can leave you restless and resolutely awake. The problem with alcohol is that it is the precursor to several little things that make sleep more difficult.
Too much alcohol can make you snore, which can disrupt your sleep. It’s also a diuretic, so you might wake up in the middle of the night desperately needing to go to the bathroom. It’s also an REM blocker, meaning that you’re less likely to enter a dream state if you’ve had too much to drink. Basically, alcohol is the enemy of your must-have eight hours, so drink responsibly before going to bed.
2. You’re too tired
Had a nap this afternoon? If you haven’t, then that might be the reason you can’t sleep. Short naps – around 20 or 30 minutes long – in the afternoon can completely transform your sleep patterns, new studies argue, and with Silicon Valley adopting things like nap pods, businesses are becoming more and more attuned to the role that napping can have in productivity and overall wellness.
The idea is to reduce your sleep debt incrementally so as not to end up in bed exhausted, which will leave you more likely to get stressed about sleeping which, you guessed it, is one of the main reasons for insomnia. Next time you find yourself struggling to nod off consider adding a nap into your daily routine.
3. You’re missing your friends
We all know that stress levels play a huge part in sleep patterns. But how do you get all those cortisone numbers down? Spend some time with your friends. For real.
Studies have revealed that women who have healthy social lives and good relationships with their peers often have better sleep patterns, and it comes right down to how happy they are in their personal lives. Having less stress in your life means that you will have less running through your brain as you go to sleep, which in turns contributes to a healthier nighttime routine.
4. Your Sunday morning sleep in
Everyone loves a lazy Sunday morning sleep in, but be warned that it can come with a price. Because sleep works on a cyclical routine some researchers believe that too many sleep ins on the weekend can impact your Monday-Friday nights.
If your body becomes used to a certain bedtime – and, a certain rise-and-shine time – then having a sleep in can completely throw your body out of whack. Don’t be alarmed if you find yourself sluggish and unable to sleep on Monday after a long Sunday sleep in. Just weigh up the cost/benefits and consider whether or not it’s worth it to hit snooze on the alarm next time.
5. Your bedroom is too cluttered
There have been several researchers who have investigated the links between clutter and your mental health and the results are not good. Basically, if you have a messy house you’re more likely to have a messy, upset mind.
Decluttering, then, is not only good for your interior aesthetics but it’s good for your mind too. In particular, having a messy, over-stuffed bedroom could be impacting your stress levels and preventing you from falling asleep easily. There’s even been a specific study speaking to this, which found that participants with cluttered bedrooms took longer to fall asleep than those who were very clean and tidy.
Next time you’re struggling to doze off consider having a little spring clean on the weekend.
6. You’ve drunk too much water
Yes, you read that correctly.
Staying hydrated before bed is important, especially on a hot summer night. But it’s even more important to strike the balance between making sure your body has enough water and, well, too much. Because too much water will lead to a broken night’s sleep with several runs to the bathroom.
All this can be prevented by having a big glass of water a few hours before going to bed and then heading to the bathroom before going to sleep. Trust us, your bladder (and body!) will thank you in the morning.
If you are concerned about your health, wellbeing or sleep, your first port of call should be your GP, who will advise a correct treatment plan.