What Keeps You Up At Night?
By Sandy Schroeder
Sleeplessness is rampant in today’s world. Ask anybody what keeps them up at night and they might say worry, work deadlines, their smartphone, or indigestion, but there may be other answers out there.
Harvard Health suggests three simple steps to sleep better. See if you agree.
Cut down on caffeine - The caffeine in coffee, energy drinks or ice tea can make it more difficult to fall asleep, and may make sleep lighter. Caffeine impacts adenosine, a neurotransmitter that encourages sleep. Caffeine may also keep you up at night with frequent urination. If you just can’t give up your caffeine, switch it off in early afternoon to limit the effects. If you decide to give up coffee and other caffeinated drinks, do it gradually to avoid headaches and feelings of exhaustion.
Drink moderately - Hold the wine, beer or brandy down. Many believe alcohol is the perfect nightcap as they drift off to sleep, but alcohol inhibits REM sleep, and can cause nightmares. It can also aggravate snoring and affect other breathing problems. Alcohol can also make a sleep-deprived person very drowsy, creating a serious risk for driving.
Don’t smoke or use tobacco - Nicotine thwarts sleep from several angles. It stimulates the central nervous system, raises blood pressure, creates wakefulness and makes it harder to fall asleep. The ongoing need for it can wake a sleeper, creating an ongoing cycle of sleeplessness. People who stop smoking report better sleep. For people who continue to smoke, not smoking one to two hours before bedtime will help.
How to Turn Sleep Around
Once you control caffeine and limit smoking and alcohol, there are some more things you can do to encourage sleep.
- Set a regular bedtime every night, including weekends
- Avoid napping during the day
- Make sure your mattress and pillows are comfortable
- Leave electronics, including the TV, outside the bedroom
- Use light-blocking drapes
- Create white noise with air filters
- Add plants to remove toxins from the air
Getting 7 to 9 hours rest every night can make a huge difference in your work performance and enjoyment of life. As you start to get a grip on your sleep, you might also consider having a quiet time in the evening before bedtime. This will help kids settle down, too, as they get into a routine of having stories read and talking about their day. Once they are in bed, a good sleep ritual might be reading, writing in a journal, or taking a warm bath. You can also leave the tensions of the day behind with soft music or gentle yoga poses.
To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Flower Mound, Tex.