Insomnia or lack of sleep is a modifiable risk factor for various conditions including obesity and cardio-metabolic disease.
A good 7 to 8 hours of rest each night does the mind and body good. Yet, statistics show that most Americans don’t get nearly as much sleep as they should. As a result of this insomnia, more people struggle with weight issues, cognitive trouble, slowed energy, frequent sickness, an increased risk of long-term illnesses like diabetes and heart disease, and mental health problems ranging from chronic stress and anxiety to depression.
There are two essential reasons you need to sleep. Your body needs time to repair and restore your organs and balance your hormones. You may not notice any changes after a night of little sleep, but if this becomes a pattern, your mind and body will begin to break down.
The key to eliminating insomnia and getting more sleep is identifying the things that could be keeping you up. Then, you can find healthy solutions to resolving the matter. Just what is keeping you up at night?
Here are a few common factors to consider to improve sleep:
It’s not uncommon for people to have a can of soda or a cup of coffee before going to bed. However, the amount of caffeine contained in these drinks ultimately keeps you up. It gives you a burst of energy, increases your heart rate, and speeds up blood circulation which stimulates the mind and body to remain awake.
There’s nothing wrong with having a beverage before bed to wind down, but try to avoid caffeine. Try decaffeinated herbal teas instead. They’re great to drink cold or hot and has calming properties to help you sleep better.
Much like caffeine, too much sugar before bed will keep you up through the night. Lots of people enjoy a sweet dessert or treat before bed. It’s comforting and appealing to your taste buds. However, sugar gives you a rush that keeps you up at night. Not to mention it can also cause weight problems which lead to weight-related diseases.
Having a light dessert after dinner is fine, but watch how much sugar it contains. Also, try eating it at least two hours before going to bed. A bowl of fresh fruit with a bit of whipped cream, some yogurt with granola, or a slice of pound cake earlier in the evening can soothe that sweet tooth while still allowing you to get some rest.
When you live a hectic lifestyle there are always things to stress about. Trouble in the office, anxieties about parenting, relationship difficulties, financial problems, health issues, and a number of other things can get you all wrapped up in your mind. As you stress, cortisol and adrenaline levels increase making it hard to relax.
The best way to combat stress is to essentially begin resolving your individual problems. Get your finances in order, go to counseling for relationship issues, get support with raising your children, organize and simplify things in the office, etc. However, when stress does arise, knowing how to calm down can help you get to sleep.
Though today’s modern world requires you to be plugged in to do just about everything, too much technology can keep you up at night. First, watching television, playing games on a smartphone, or doing last-minute work on a laptop while in bed after dark causes the light from the screens to illuminate. This reflection sends signals to your brain that you should be up and not sleep. Another note is the content you access using technology. Viewing social media or watching the news before bed can cause you to feel anxious, making it difficult to rest.
You probably need technology to function these days but that doesn’t mean you have to overdo it. The best thing you can do is start unplugging at least an hour or two before you go to bed. Turn off the phone, television, and laptop and find an “old-fashioned” way to unwind before going to sleep.
There are so many things you could be doing that are contributing to your sleep deprivation or insomnia. As your body needs rest to function, it is imperative to start making changes to increase your rest time. If these solutions do not work, it is a very real possibility that something deeper is going on that needs to be evaluated by your doctor.