Legs of sleeping woman under a gray blanket

What Could be Affecting Your Sleep Today?

Not getting enough sleep can be frustrating, but even more, it is figuring out why. 

There is a long list of internal factors that could affect your sleep quality:

  • daily habits,
  • diet, 
  • aches and pains,
  • stress and anxiety,
  • exercise, and 
  • medical conditions. 

External factors affecting your sleep include:

  • your sleep environment,
  • lighting,
  • shift-work,
  • jetlag

Here are some everyday matters that might be hurting your sleep.

1. Treat Insomnia and Stress Properly

First up is stress. Stress impairs sleep because when stressed, the body produces hormones that increase alertness. Excessive alertness, in turn, impairs sleep.

Stress affects your emotional and mental health, but your physical health as well. You must grasp your anxiety levels or just about every area of your life is going to hurt, including your sleep.

Try to find ways to reduce your stress if you have been experiencing sleep deprivation

This might mean: 

  • practicing more self-care, 
  • cutting hours at work, 
  • reducing time with toxic people in your life, or 
  • just finding simple stress relievers like exercise (walking is good) or 
  • taking a day off every week.  

2. Good Environment for Sleep

People now understand more about sleep quality and sleep hygiene, including where you sleep and your bedroom environment. 

Your bedroom should be an attractive and comfortable place to sleep.

The temperature should be set up for sleep – not too cold or too hot, but suitable.

The bedroom should be well ventilated before going to bed. Keeping the window open at night does not improve the quality of sleep.

The room should also not be too bright or noisy. The bed attracts you to sleep more easily if it feels comfortable. Take some time to update your room to be calming and peaceful.

3. What Should I Do Before Going to Bed?

While all the activities you do during the day affect falling asleep, the most important things are the very things you do just before bed.

These have the most significant impact on the quality and length of sleep.

Many people follow certain rituals before going to bed. The way you prepare for sleep is just as important as your mattress’s quality and having a proper sleep environment. 

If you watch TV on the couch and fall asleep there, you will probably wake up with neck and back pain, and you have trouble falling back asleep.

Before going to bed:

  • prepare for bed an hour or so before your actual bedtime by winding down
  • relax with tea or a bath
  • do some quiet, relaxing activities like reading or journaling

Make sure you do this consistently every night to get your mind and body ready for bed. 

4. Smartphones and Other Electronic Devices

What do you do before going to bed? Is the last thing browsing social media with your phone? Do you use your phone until you finally fall asleep, or do you keep your TV on at night? 

If so, this might be the reason for your sleep problems. 

These distractions can seem like they are helping you fall asleep, but they also cause many disturbances every time you wake up.

Putting aside work should also apply to shutting down equipment used for work. 

Scientists have long proven that looking at electronic devices just before falling asleep has adverse effects

Light emitted from a computer, smartphone, or television screen impairs melatonin production, a hormone responsible for fatigue and sleep, in our brains. 

Prolonged exposure to artificial light sources can lead to severe sleep disturbances, anxiety, depression, and vision problems. 

If you are checking your phone when you wake up to roll over to your other side, your brain is becoming more alert from whatever notifications or emails you have. This is screwing up your sleep. 

Keep the phone away from the bed where you can’t reach it, turn the light off, and turn off your television and laptop. 

Ideally, such devices should not be in the bedroom.

5. Medical Conditions

Certain medical conditions might also be contributing to your lack of sleep, like Parkinson’s, diabetes, arthritis, fibromyalgia, and heart disease. 

If you suffer from any medical conditions that cause discomfort or stress at night, talk to your doctor about treating them. 

6. Good food, better sleep

Finally, it would be best if you considered your diet. 

Avoid eating just before going to bed. Aim to eat dinner two hours before going to bed. 

Especially avoid fatty foods and alcohol. Rich foods and fast-absorbing carbohydrates, when eaten late, quickly gain weight. They may also refresh, which drives sleep away. 

Alcohol, on the other hand, increases snoring, lightens, and interrupts sleep. It could keep you from ever reaching that deep, REM sleep everyone needs each night.

The Bottom Line

Try to adjust your sleep habits, sleep position, experiment sleeping with or without a pillow, set your bedroom up to be prepared for sleep, and stop taking your phone on your bed. These small changes might be enough to improve your sleep quality.

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