After a long, chaotic day, chances are all you want to do in the evening is hop into bed and visit the land of nod. But what happens when it just doesn’t happen? Despite being exhausted, you’re staring at the ceiling into the wee hours and counting sheep well into the thousands. It can be frustrating, and it can even start impacting your performance at work or school as well as your health after a while.
Here are a few reasons why you might be struggling to sleep:
Your Bedroom Is an Unhealthy Environment
There’s nothing more satisfying than falling into bed after a long day. Your bed is like your fortress against the world, the place where you feel most relaxed and comfortable. However, there are a lot of things that are potentially wrong about your sleeping space which can affect sleep.
First, an unsupportive mattress and pillow can lead to pain and tossing and turning during the night. This can both prevent you from dropping off, and mean you’re waking up often. Replace your mattress every seven years, and choose carefully. It should fully support your weight and feel comfortable without any pressure points. I personally love my Casper mattress. Your pillow should be supportive and the right height to avoid pain along the spine. Feather pillows are a good investment, but do you know what’s inside your down pillow? Do your research and read the label to make sure you’re getting the best quality for your money.
Another way your bedroom can affect your sleep is that dust mites, and other nasties that make their home in your bed might be setting off allergies and causing breathing issues. Thoroughly cleaning, washing bedding on the hottest cycle and keeping your room tidy can all be very helpful.
You could even go a step further and paint your room in a relaxing color. Psychologists have shown that color has a big impact on our mood, so it’s worth giving it a try.
You’re Consuming Caffeine
Even if you keep away from coffee after a certain time or avoid it altogether, caffeine may well be the cause of why you can’t sleep. Lots of fizzy drinks are very high in the stuff, and even chocolate contains it. Caffeine lasts for a ridiculously long time in the body — up to fourteen hours. And even if you don’t feel pumped or feel the effects from it, it could well be enough to stop your brain from shutting off. So that can of Coke you had with lunch or that chocolate after dinner may be the cause of your inability to sleep.
Keeping a food diary can be useful, that way you can work out where any hidden sources are coming from so you can eliminate them from your diet.
It’s no secret that stress can lead to poor sleep. If you believe you have a mental health issue, it’s important to speak to a doctor about this. Lack of sleep over time causes a range of health conditions on the body, so it’s not something to ignore. Anxiety, depression and other illnesses can all result in not being able to sleep well or switch off at night.
Just overworked? Practicing relaxation techniques is useful in some people. You could try putting a meditation app or an audiobook on your phone to listen to as you drift off. Having something to focus on instead of letting your thoughts spiral might be all that you need.
You’re in a Bad Sleep Routine
It’s always tempting to stay up in the evenings, even when you know you shouldn’t. If there’s something good on tv, or you’re chatting on social media the hours can slip by in the blink of an eye. But going to bed late isn’t good news, you’re much better off setting a realistic bedtime and sticking to it. That way your brain knows when it’s time to wind down and switch off.
It’s best to avoid screens right before bed since the light they emit can affect the production of melatonin which is what’s needed to sleep. Try reading a traditional paper book instead which will help you to drift off.
What helps you sleep? Let us know in the comments below!