If you are feeling tired and suffering from lack of sleep, then you may need to change your lifestyle. However, there are a few ‘sleep stealers’ that, in most cases, can be fairly easily addressed giving you a much better chance of getting sufficient vital sleep.
Sleep Stealer 1: Worries
Excessive worrying is the surest way to rob yourself of a good night’s sleep. While worries can take many forms, some of the most common are money related. This is perhaps particularly pertinent in the current economic climate. In addition, because many people are having to work for less at the moment, they are left with little choice but to work longer hours.
Both the mental and physical overload caused by worrying keeps your brain overactive, which is a sure way to insomnia. The best advice is to set yourself a particular time, preferably early evening, when you can deal with anything that is on your mind. Bad advice is switching the TV on to take your mind off your worries. They will not go away and the flickering light from the TV will not help your insomnia.
Sleep Stealer 2: The Bed
Ensuring your bed is comfortable is vital for restful sleep. While getting yourself a good-quality mattress will go a long way to improving your sleep pattern, it is equally essential to make sure your bed and sleeping environment is at the appropriate temperature.
It’s important that your bed is warm but not too hot. Your body clock tends to control your sleep to a certain extent and so keeping cool at night will ensure your body clock continues to know it is sleep time. On the other hand, if your body gets excessively warm your internal clock will automatically assume it is time to get up and your sleep will be instantly disturbed. Therefore, make sure your bedroom is appropriately heated – a thermostat may help – and don’t cover yourself with too many layers.
Sleep Stealer 3: Gadgets
Using computers, smartphones and iPads before turning in is certain to leave you lying wide awake for hours. These gadgets should be switched off at least one hour before bedtime. Using these devices stimulates the brain and it can take a while for you to wind down afterwards. The best thing to do is to make sure you have sent all your emails or checked your messages early in the evening, then switch all of these gadgets off and forget about them.
Sleep Stealer 4: Bad Air
In addition to the temperature of your room, you should also pay close attention to the room’s air quality. According to recent research, bad air quality can lead to serious breathing disorders, which can severely disrupt your sleep patterns. Pollution increases inflammation, which in turn will cause your throat to close, seriously reducing your oxygen levels. If air pollution is a problem for you, a filter may help.
Sleep Stealer 5: Taking Afternoon Naps
Surprisingly, should you really need to take an afternoon nap, the longer you sleep the worse you may feel on waking. While a five-minute nap is no use at all, a quick ten minutes can be perfect. Although a thirty-minute nap can be relatively effective for some, anything over this is likely to leave you with a ‘sleep hangover’ for the rest of the day and sleeping at night will be seriously impaired.