Why Can’t I Get a Better Night’s Sleep
Having trouble sleeping can be one of the most frustrating – and irritating – issues a person can have to deal with. People who can’t sleep well end up suffering from many negative consequences, including increased anxiety, injuries and depression. When you can’t sleep, getting through each day is a very difficult task; many people report feeling like a zombie, as if they are not actually present in their day to day life due to incredible fatigue. There are many possible causes for being unable to sleep at night; fortunately, there are also many treatment options.
If we don’t sleep well it can be one of the most frustrating and anxious times of our lives. Increased anxiety is the number one symptom caused from lack of sleep and this can quickly lead onto more serious conditions such as depression.
Tackling daily tasks can become extremely difficult when you find yourself deprived of enough sleep. In certain circumstances this can present a very clear danger to both yourself and others around you, including members of the public.
For example, you only have to do a quick search in Google to see how many work related, driving related or stress related deaths have been caused by over tiredness and lack of sleep.
For some of us getting a good night’s sleep can be something of a challenge, however there is scientific evidence to support theories that by simply following some simple tips and tricks for a better night’s rest can make an enormous difference to our sleep patterns and wellbeing.
It is considered widely that getting a good night’s sleep is just as important to our bodies as regular exercise and eating healthily. Without it our bodies and brain function react adversely, and it can affect our hormone balance, brain activity such as concentration and inevitably our mood.
There are many reasons we may not be getting a healthy amount of sleep and in recent years it appears that our fast-paced lives are a major contributing factor towards this. Family life may be hectic, work may be overloading you with stress and sometimes it may be that it is just not possible to switch your brain off when everything goes quiet.
Here are some of the best tips for a better night’s sleep
- Exposure to bright light
It is obvious to most of us that if we have a good sleep pattern it is because our body clocks are in sync with our daily routines. Daylight generally means being awake and when it gets dark we usually associate this with sleep time. It has been scientifically proven that exposing yourself to bright, or natural light can significantly improve sleep. By subjecting yourself to longer periods of bright natural light during daylight hours you can positively affect the brain. This effect on the brain can not only help sleep quality but also sleep duration.
Natural daylight is the best source of exposure to bright light and this can be combined with our next tip for a better night’s sleep, exercise.
- Regular exercise can help improve sleep
Not only is regular exercise a great way to improve your overall health and wellbeing but it has been proven that with a sustained pattern of exercise you will significantly improve your nights rest.
Studies have shown using Insomnia sufferers that exercise not only nearly halved the amount of time it took people to fall asleep, but also increased the amount of time they were able to sleep continuously by up to nearly 1 hour.
It is important to point out that exercise should not be undertaken too close to your expected sleep time, for example late at night. This is due to the endorphins that are released that act as a stimulant which can adversely affect you when it comes to trying to sleep.
Try to exercise early in the evening, a wonderful time is an hour or so after work. Not only does it help clear your mind of the stresses of the day it also helps burn off any excess energy you may still have.
- Sleeping at consistent intervals
Your body clock, also known as it’s circadian rhythm should be attuned to aligning itself with both sunset and sunrise. This is a perfectly normal function for most of us and our body does it without thinking.
For many people who sleep well it is a known fact that their body clock is so in tune with their daily patterns that they may not even need an alarm clock to wake up in the mornings.
If you are struggling to sleep, then going to bed at a set time every evening and waking yourself up at another set time consistently over a period should eventually start to show a positive effect on your sleep quality.
Combine this tip for a better night’s rest along with the others we detail, and you should quickly see the results.
- Consuming caffeine
Caffeine is a stimulant, and while it may have its benefits in other areas it most definitely is not a useful aid when it comes to sleep.
If you drink fluids containing caffeine such as coffee or energy drinks you are going to significantly lessen the chances of getting a good night’s sleep. The caffeine can stay in your blood stream and still influence your brain for up to six hours after consumption. So, our advice to improve your nights rest would be to not drink any fluids containing caffeine after around 3-4pm.
- Consuming alcohol
Most of us like to have a drink to relax after a hard day’s work, the day has ended, the kids are all in bed and now it’s time to sit down and enjoy a glass of wine or two.
Whilst this may be a wonderful way to help forget about the days woes it almost certainly contributes to a poor night’s sleep. It has been scientifically proven that alcohol consumption, especially before bedtime can significantly increase conditions such as snoring, sleep apnea and disrupted sleep. Although you may feel you have slept well, especially if you have consumed excess alcohol, your body is telling you a completely different story as it has been unable to shut down and regenerate fully due to the alcohol in your system.
- Drinking any fluids before bedtime
If you find yourself with interrupted sleep patterns due to the need to awaken and use the lavatory to urinate during the night this could be due to a condition known as Nocturia, it is the medical term for excessive urination during the night. If severe enough it can negatively affect sleep time and quality.
Staying hydrated is an important issue and being well hydrated before you go to sleep is actually a great tip to a better night’s rest, however, drinking fluids too late in the night or too close to your rest time can result in a broken night’s sleep.
Try not to consume any fluids one to two hours before turning in to bed for the night.
- Getting a comfortable mattress and pillow
This may sound like one of the more obvious tips to a better night’s rest but ensuring you have a comfortable mattress and pillow can make the world of difference. While this might not always be a practical solution due to the cost involved it may need some thoughtful consideration depending on how negatively lack of sleep is affecting you.
An excellent quality mattress can aid in reducing back pain and other joint aches, it can also have a positive effect on our psychology. A new mattress, pillow and bedding can give us a sense of ease which will help relax you into a deep sleep.
Although costly, replacing your mattress can be an easy and quick fix to improving your nights rest.
- Indulge in a relaxing bath or shower
Recent studies have proven that a warm relaxing bath or shower can significantly aid in a good night’s rest. This is especially so in the elderly. It has been shown that not only will this tip for a good night’s rest help you fall asleep quicker, it can also improve the quality of sleep that you get.
If you find that you don’t have the time for a bath every night, then studies have confirmed that by taking a nice warm foot soak each evening can also help to relax your body and improve your nights rest.
- Avoid consuming food too late in the evening
Eating late at night or just before you go to bed is most definitely going to have a negative impact on your sleep pattern. If your body is too busy processing the food you have just eaten then it won’t have time to ensure that you are sleeping correctly.
Many people agree that eating a high carb meal shortly before going to bed can aid and improve the time it takes to get off to sleep, this is because you have expended a lot of energy consuming and now digesting the food making you feel tired, however carbohydrates are a slow release energy food and it will not be long before your body is feeling the effects of that stored energy.
The bottom line here is that consuming any food, but especially high carb, high calorific value food stuffs can cause severe disruption to your hormone balance and result in poor sleep quality.
- Bedroom temperature
We have all been there, it is the middle of summer, the air outside is sticky and hot. There is no way you can get to sleep like this. One minute you are kicking the duvet from you, the next a cold chill runs down your back as the sweat starts to chill.
Getting your room temperature right is a critical trick to ensuring a better night’s rest. Without a constant comfortable temperature in the room it is going to have a profound effect on your night’s sleep.
It has been shown in studies that the temperature of your room can adversely affect your night’s sleep more than any background noise.
Try and experiment with differing room temperatures using your thermostat on your heating during the winter months or using your air conditioning if you have it during the hotter months. Most people are more comfortable around the 20-degree Celsius (70 Fahrenheit) mark.
- Sleep Disorders
Finally, if you continue to struggle with attaining a good night’s rest and none of the above tips or tricks help improve your sleep pattern then you should consult your local GP to rule out any more serious sleep disorder such as severe Insomnia, sleep movement disorder or any other underlying health issue that may be causing your inability to sleep.
Our health and wellbeing are centred around many factors but sleep and getting a good night’s rest are an extremely crucial factor and contributor to our overall physical and mental condition.
Lack of it can lead to depression, obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
If you have any concerns at all you should always refer to your local GP.