After a long and busy day, we all just wanted one thing in common – to sleep. But most often than not, due to too much overthinking and other inevitable bad habits, we often lay in bed until the wee hours of the day.
There are actually quite a number of reasons why you can’t always have a good night’s sleep. Check out this list I’ve compiled just for you.
You don’t have a night routine.
It is important to establish a consistent nightly routine as it signals both your brain and body that it is near bedtime. Relaxed nighttime routine tricks the brain into starting the release of sleep hormones and chemicals essential for a good sleep. Here are some tips on how you can set up your body to a good night’s sleep:
- Listen to a podcast or an audiobook.
Spend an extra hour before bedtime to listen to some audiobooks or podcasts in your gallery. For sure it is a good time to sit back and relax after a good day as you listen to a file of your choice. You can choose from a wide range of topics from storytelling to fiction to personal development.
If listening to audiobooks and podcast won’t do the work for you, then try a more intimate, relaxed time to yourself – meditate. You can start by turning your bright light into a slightly dim one, sit comfortably in your bed, and focus your mind on a particular positive thought, object, or activity. Your goal is to achieve a mentally and emotionally calm state.
You can also try to spend the few minutes before bedtime reflecting how your day went. You can channel your thoughts into journaling or write any creative outputs that can help you ease your worries away.
- Skincare or hygiene routine.
This is, of course, an essential one that everyone must always stick to.
2. You have an inconsistent schedule.
Believe me, consistency is the key. If you have successfully established your nightly routine, you better be good at keeping it consistent. Ever heard of the neuroplasticity? It’s the ability of the brain cells to form connections based on repetition. And according to a theory by a psychologist named Thorndike, the connections are strengthened with practice and are weakened when practice is discontinued. So if you want your body and brain to learn when to shut down properly at night, you need to be consistent in your routine.
Aside from that, keep your sleep time consistent. Don’t go to sleep at an interchanging time off too early and too late. As you all know, everyone has a biological clock. You have to set a consistent time when your body should get tired at night and wakes up in the morning.
3. You are taking too much caffeine.
Another reason if you have a difficulty with sleeping is that you had a bit too much to drink. This could be both the alcoholic ones and the non-alcoholic ones.
If you just had an afternoon coffee earlier, chances are you will be having trouble sleeping. Caffeine can actually stay as long as 12 hours in your body. Keep in mind, though, that caffeine is not just found in coffee but soda, chocolate, and even tea contains caffeine. However, when it comes to tea, there are various types of tea that have different caffeine content. White tea is recommended as it has the least amount of caffeine among all the other types of tea.
4. You exercise a bit too late.
It is ideal to exercise not later than three hours before bedtime. Performing any kind of exercise three hours close to bedtime can be very stimulating for you. Exercise is something you do to start your day feeling energized, thus it actually wakes up your brain and warms up your body. This can be quite a disadvantage when you are trying to get a good night’s sleep. According to experts, the best time to exercise when your goal is to improve your sleep is four-to-six hours before bedtime.
Additionally, exercising close to bedtime has the same effect when you take a shower too close to bedtime. Doing this can actually warm up your body even more. Also, the sleeping temperature matters at most. When your room is too warm or too cold, it can cause multiple awakenings at night leading to further sleep disruption.
5. You had a late dinner.
If going to bed is a problem, having dinner too late and too heavy can also cause you sleeping problems. Heavy foods, especially spicy ones, within three hours before bedtime can be too stimulating for your body. Also, eating late increases the chance of gastroesophageal reflux disease. If you sleep right after eating, you are more likely to wake up tired. This is because instead of resting, you are letting your body digest the food that you eat before bedtime. Additionally, as bad as having a late dinner you should also never go to bed feeling hungry.
6. You are stressed.
No question about this one. When you are too stressed, you tend to overthink things and before you know it you spent 4 hours thinking it through. Stress is the number one cause of short-term sleep problems.
We all have bad days and we all can’t help but be caught up in such an unproductive stance. However, there are few tips that can actually help you calm down and ease your stress a bit.
- Try to eat something healthier when you know you are stressed. Check out these foods that can help turn off stress hormones and try to add it to your daily diet.
- Try consuming a cup of chamomile tea three hours before bedtime. Aside from white tea, herbal teas have lesser caffeine content. This type of herbal tea is a known anti-anxiety and helps you calm down.
- Write your thoughts away. This can help you clear out your mind of useless clatter. You can also a write a to-do list before going to bed so you can organize your thoughts so you don’t need to worry about the next day.
- Try performing some relaxation exercises within an hour before bedtime to calm your anxious mind. You can try some yoga techniques to help your mind and body relax from a stressful day.
7. You have a thyroid condition.
Having an alarming thyroid condition can affect your body’s release of important hormones for sleep. When your thyroid is overactive, it can make your adrenaline surge and create hormonal imbalances. As a result, anxiety and insomnia kicks in making it very hard to fall asleep and stay asleep.
8. You have an acid reflux.
Gastrointestinal issues can also affect your sleep patterns, especially acid reflux. When you have acid reflux, the acid back up from your stomach into your esophagus with a burning sensation. To avoid this, losing some weight can actually help and of course, do not eat too close to bedtime.
9. You are often too exposed to blue light in the night time.
The blue light that most screens give off when you watch late night TV shows makes your brain think that it is still daytime. Because of this, the melatonin hormone doesn’t come out making you feel less sleepy. To avoid this problem, you should be able to turn off your smartphones, laptops, TV, and other screens within an hour before bedtime. Instead, you can spend few hours before sleeping by grabbing the closest book and reading it under a slightly dim light. Aside from electronic gadgets, you can try to turn off other unused light around the house before bedtime.