The quality of your sleep can make a big difference in how well you feel during the day. A good night's sleep can improve your mood, energy levels and productivity, while bad sleep can lead to feelings of fatigue, depression and anxiety. It's important to understand the reasons behind why some people have trouble sleeping, so that we can all make small changes to our lifestyles that improve the quality of our nights (and days).
Blue Light: This is the wavelength of light we are exposed to when we use electronics before bed. The artificial blue light tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime, which can prevent us from being able to fall asleep. It also affects our circadian rhythm, making it more difficult for us to get enough sleep at night and during the day.
Insomnia: A study showed that people who used electronic devices within an hour of going to bed had more difficulty falling asleep than those who did not use electronic devices before sleep time.
Sleep Disorders: While this isn't a direct cause of insomnia or other sleep disorders, it can be a factor in their development if you're already struggling with those issues!
AVOID BLUE LIGHT BEFORE BED
Blue light is a common disruptor of sleep, and it's something you can control. In fact, you probably already have night mode on your phone which warms the screen in the evenings. You could also use a device called a blue light filter or glasses like these if you're prone to headaches in the morning or just want to be more comfortable while using screens at night time as well!
IF YOU CAN'T AVOID IT, TRY TO REDUCE IT
If the lights are on and you can't keep them off, try to reduce the brightness of your screen. Programs like f.lux will help reduce blue light from computer screens, which can disrupt your sleep cycle by making it harder for you to fall asleep. You can also look into filters for your phone or tablet that will eliminate that harsh glare coming off of your screen at night time.
If you have a TV in your bedroom (which I strongly discourage), consider getting one with built-in dimming options so that it's not quite so bright when trying to fall asleep.
Alcohol is a depressant. It slows down brain activity and can cause you to wake up more often during the night. Alcohol also makes it harder to fall asleep and disrupts your sleep cycle, making it harder for you to get back to sleep once you do finally nod off.
Alcohol changes the way we breathe while we’re sleeping, which can make snoring worse or even cause apnea (a disorder characterized by breathing pauses). This breathing issue can keep you from getting enough oxygen during REM (rapid eye movement), causing fatigue and even drowsiness during daytime hours.
QUIT SMOKING OR USING ANYTHING WITH NICOTINE IN IT
Nicotine is a stimulant, which means it can cause sleep problems. Nicotine is also addictive, so quitting is difficult. However, there are many substitutes for nicotine gum and patches that you can try to help you quit smoking or using anything with nicotine in it.
SKIP SUGAR AND CAFFEINE AFTER 2PM
Many of us are accustomed to having a cup of coffee in the morning, but not all of us realize how much it keeps us up at night. Caffeine is a stimulant that disrupts your sleep cycle by blocking adenosine receptors in our brains, which makes it harder for you to fall asleep. If you drink too much coffee or tea (caffeinated beverages), even just once or twice a week, this can make it difficult to fall asleep at an appropriate time.
Caffeine isn't only found in coffee drinks—it's also added to sodas and many other foods. Sugar intake also affects sleep patterns by causing blood sugar fluctuations throughout the day; when your blood sugar drops too low during the night while you're sleeping, this hinders restful slumber as well.
In addition to making sure you avoid these substances after 2pm each day if possible, try replacing them with healthy alternatives such as green tea or herbal teas like chamomile — these contain antioxidants that promote relaxation without disrupting your circadian rhythm!
CONNECT WITH YOUR SLEEP HORMONES
Your hormones play a big role in your sleep. Here's how:
Sex hormones and stress hormones affect sleep. When it comes to sex and sleep, the two most relevant hormones are estrogen and testosterone. Estrogen is associated with relaxation, while testosterone is more closely linked to wakefulness.
Hormones can be affected by diet, exercise, and other lifestyle factors. For example, people who eat a lot of garlic have been shown to have higher levels of cortisol after eating than those who don't consume much garlic—and you may not know that cortisol can interfere with your ability to fall asleep or stay asleep. Exercise has also been shown to help promote healthy hormone levels that contribute positively to getting good rest at night; however it's important not overdo it because too much exercise will increase adrenaline which will keep you awake later into the night!
EXPLORE YOUR SLEEP ENVIRONMENT
Set your bedroom up for sleep. The bedroom should be used for sleeping and sex only. Prevent any distraction from being in the same room as your bed such as a TV or computer screen, keeping those out of the bedroom entirely if possible. This can help to reduce blue light exposure at night which is known to disrupt circadian rhythm and make it harder to fall asleep quickly.
LONG DISTANCE TRAVEL
Jet lag can cause sleep problems.
Traveling eastward causes jet lag while traveling westward will help to alleviate it.
The rumbling of an airplane can disturb your sleep, even if it's not loud enough to wake you fully.
MAKE SMALL CHANGES TO YOUR LIFESTYLE TO IMPROVE YOUR SLEEP QUALITY
Sleep hygiene is the practice of maintaining a regular sleep schedule and avoiding disruptive behaviors before bedtime. If you want to get better sleep, start by reading this article on how to fall asleep faster and better.
Once you’ve got some tips on how to improve your sleep hygiene, follow these tips:
Create a relaxing nighttime routine. Try taking a warm bath or shower before bedtime. Read a book in dim lighting—or better yet, try reading from an e-reader with LED lights (these are great for reducing eye strain). Relax with some soothing music or even white noise machines that help drown out distracting noises in your home (like those pesky neighbors). Be sure not to watch TV right before going to sleep; research shows that blue light emitted from electronic screens can interfere with the body’s production of melatonin, one of the chemicals associated with feeling sleepy at night!
So what can we learn from all these sleep disruptors? Well, first and foremost, it’s important to recognize that getting a good night’s rest is crucial for your body. If you don’t get enough sleep or have poor quality of sleep, there can be negative consequences on your physical and mental health. In addition to the tips I mentioned above (treating blue lights like books before bedtime; avoiding blue light right before bed; etc.), here are some other helpful suggestions:
Put on a sleep playlist to help you relax before bedtime (this is my favourite one)
Use a salt lamp as your nightlight in the bedroom so it reduces any blue light in the room
Try using a Lumie light to help you wake up, but also help you go to sleep (you can actually set some of them so that the dim as they night goes on.
Drink some herbal tea that can help with a restful night's sleep such as my Time Out Tea from Tsui Apothecary
Try using an eye mask at night to block out any light that might disrupt your sleep
I hope you've found this useful,
Thank you so much for reading,