January 21st, 2020 by
There are many reasons why you might be sleeping poorly and lack of sleep can cause more severe health problems. Although both mental and physical health can be huge factors in why you may be sleeping poorly, we’ll be exploring other factors that contribute towards a lack of sleep and what you can do to change them. Here are 5 reasons you may be sleeping poorly...
What you eat plays a huge role on how well you’re sleeping. It goes with saying that eating a fatty meal late at night can negatively impact your sleep, with the heavy food sitting on your stomach whilst your body tries hard to digest the fatty and salty food. The link between our diet and sleep is closely related to our brain – in that whatever food we eat during the day creates the right or wrong environment for our brain to enter the deep sleep cycle. In order to enter into the deep sleep cycle, your brain needs to be able to transmit neurotransmitters and this is only possible if the correct nutrients and protein are available in the body. Therefore, eating a healthy and well-balanced diet and sticking to light and healthy meals/snacks near bedtime will help you to sleep easier and deeper – leaving you much more refreshed and rested the next day.
Caffeine is a drug that promotes alertness. This means that every bit of caffeine that you drink makes your body more likely to be awake and alert – which is definitely not something you want to close to bedtime. It’s been noted that your body takes 3-5 hours to remove half of the caffeine that you consume, with the other half taking a lot longer to be removed. This means that even if you stop drinking tea or coffee 3 hours before bed, it would still be present in your body and therefore, could easily keep you awake. If possible, we recommend that you switch to decaf, but if you really need that caffeine kick, try and have your last cup at midday. That way, your body has a few hours to really remove the caffeine from your body and you can have a rested and peaceful sleep.
If you’ve ever drunk alcohol (perhaps a little too much!) then you know that it can actually make you feel drowsy and sleepy. As a result, this has lead many people to wrongly believe that alcohol can help us get a good night’s sleep. However, although alcohol is good at getting us to sleep, the quality of sleep we get is poor. That’s because alcohol disturbs your sleep cycle and is then unable to enter the deep sleep stage – causing us to wake up feeling tired and grumpy, which when combined with a hangover, really isn’t a great start to the day!
Exercise is one of the main factors that can have a huge impact on our sleep. It’s no surprise that on average, those who exercise regularly fall to sleep much quicker than those who don’t. Exercise not only promotes better mental and physical health but working your muscles regularly makes it much easier to sleep as your body needs sleep and time to repair. However, doing a late-night workout will increase your heart rate significantly and this can lead to poor sleep – so make sure that you get your workout routine in a few hours before you’ll be going to sleep!
Our bodies have a natural ‘sleep cycle’ that relies on light to tell it when to be awake and alert and when to be preparing for sleep. This works through a hormone that’s found in the brain’s pineal gland called Melatonin- aka the sleep hormone. Melatonin sends a signal to the body when it’s time to sleep and it does this by sensing when your surroundings are dark! That’s why if you’ve had a lot of sun exposure during the day you may find you’ll sleep better, as the stark contrast between light and day helps melatonin to work better. As a result, you may want to turn off those bedside lamps and stop yourself from going on your phone just before you sleep, as the light around you can really interfere with your brain’s natural sleep cycle.
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