Lifestyle

The Non-Obvious Things That Affect Your Sleep

Are you getting enough sleep?

The National Sleep Foundation recommends that healthy adults should get seven to nine hours of sleep every night. A good night’s rest is suitable for your memory, heart, mood, and your overall health.

Unfortunately, many of us don’t prioritize sleep. And some of the things that may be contributing to keeping you awake at night may even surprise you.

Your lifestyle is probably the biggest culprit when it comes to poor sleep. For instance, mobile phones and drinking coffee before bedtime are two common causes of restless nights.

Your sleeping environment may also be negatively affecting the quality of your sleep. For example, if you sleep on dirty bedding, you need to stop. You also need to invest in bedding that promotes quality sleep, such as a weighted blanket or hypoallergenic sheets.

Fortunately, you can upgrade your bedding as early as today at your local Home Depot store. This home improvement retailer has many quality and affordable bedding solutions. And for every purchase you make at Home Depot, you get a chance to win a $5000 gift card in the Home Depot survey.

Now, before we get carried away, let’s look at five surprising reasons why you may be struggling to drift off at night.

1 Caffeine

Many of us take a cup of coffee at night to stay awake. While caffeine can improve your mental performance and alertness, daily uptake of this stimulant can disrupt your sleep.

Overuse of caffeine can lead to insomnia, anxiety, and frequent awakenings during the night. Caffeinated sodas have also been shown to cause sleep-disordered breathing, a key symptom of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).

If you want to enjoy the positive effects of caffeine, you should limit your daily caffeine consumption to between 300 and 400 mg. Further, resist the urge to take pure powdered caffeine, especially in the afternoon and evening.

bad effects of caffeine
Overuse of caffeine can lead to insomnia, anxiety, and frequent awakenings during the night.

2 Using a Cell Phone in Bed

Many of us are guilty of using our cell phones after lights out. The blue light that your smartphone and other electronic devices emit reduces the production of melatonin. Melatonin is the hormone that controls your sleepiness and wakefulness.

 Further, using a cellphone in bed increases your alertness during bedtime, as it keeps your mind engaged as you scroll away. This tricks the brain into believing that you need to stay awake. The constant buzzes, notifications, and alerts from your phone also disrupt your rapid-eye-movement and deep sleep cycles.

Some of the measures you can take to reduce the disruptive effect of your cell phone on your sleep include:

  • Keep your smartphone in another room other than your bedroom
  • Use an alarm clock instead of your phone’s alarm to wake you up
  • Reduce your exposure to cell phone blue light at least an hour before you go to bed
  • Avoid using phone’s sleep tracking apps
Using a Cell Phone in Bed
using a cellphone in bed increases your alertness during bedtime, as it keeps your mind engaged as you scroll away.

3 Your Bed

A creaky bed or a worn-out mattress can ruin a good night’s sleep.  Similarly, lumpy pillows and a stinky duvet can make drifting to sleep impossible.

Start by replacing your worn-out mattress as an old mattress can be a source of dust, bacteria, molds, and dust mites. If you have constant neck and back pains, consider buying a mattress and a pillow that offers you the best back and neck support.

You’ll also need to invest in breathable and comfortable sheets and duvets. Bedding is made of hypoallergenic materials such as silk, wool, cotton, and the goose is soft, moisture-wicking, and breathable.

Bedding solutions such as weighted blankets have been shown to promote quality sleep in people with sleep issues. A weighted or gravity blanket can help calm a restless body, improving sleep troubles. The gentle pressure provided by a weighted blanket also relieves the anxiety that may be keeping you awake at night.

Finally, don’t forget to wash your bedding regularly. Sheets should be washed once a week, while pillows, blankets, and duvets should be washed at least four times annually. Vacuum clean your mattress at least twice a year to keep it clean and free of allergens.

mattress cleaning
Vacuum clean your mattress at least twice a year to keep it clean and free of allergens.

4 Alcohol

Alcohol is another frequently used as a sleeping aid. Unfortunately, drinking only disrupts your sleep, especially when you do it a few hours before bedtime.  Alcohol as a depressant will relax you and make you sleepy, but for only a short period.

Drinking large amounts of alcohol also delays the time you require to sleep. If you must drink, avoid doing it 4 to 6 hours before you sleep.

Alcohol
Drinking large amounts of alcohol also delays the time you require to sleep.

5 Too Much Time Indoors

If you love to coop up inside, maybe you should try and visit the outdoors more often. Too much time indoors can build up restlessness and anxiety, which can lead to sleep problems. Spending a lot of your time indoors may also mean increased screen activities, which contributes to poor sleep.

Exposure to sunlight helps regulate your body’s sleep cycles.  Early morning light is essential in organizing your sleep-wake body cycle. Taking time to view the natural beauty outside also helps release stress and anxiety. So, get out and go for a 30 to 60 minutes’ walk as you enjoy some sunshine.

Early morning light
Early morning light is essential in organizing your sleep-wake body cycle.

In closing, sleep is a vital part of your life. Sleep-deprived individuals often have poor physical and mental health. Simple things such as coffee, bedding, cellphones, and spending too much time indoors can negatively affect the quality of your sleep.

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