Health & FitnessWhat’s keeping you up at night

What’s keeping you up at night

The artificial blue light emitted from the screen delays your circadian rhythm and suppresses melatonin, a natural chemical that tells your body it’s time to sleep

We all know how brutal the morning after a miserable night of sleep can be. Not only do you feel cranky and irritable throughout the day, poor sleep also results in many long-term health risks from weight gain to weakened immunity and low blood pressure.
Many people grapple with some form of insomnia and the reasons for this could be certain habits that you do before sleeping.

Studies show that at least one third of people wake up in the night and this is actually a form of insomnia which can be caused by any number of things. Insomnia doesn’t always need medical attention though and can be treated with lifestyle changes.

Some common causes of interrupted sleep include the following:
Bathroom trips in the night
If your bladder wakes you up at night try cutting down fluid intake in the evening. Don’t drink anything two hours before bedtime especially not alcohol or anything with caffeine which are diuretics, making you go to the bathroom more.

Sleep apnea
Another reason that you may not be able to sleep is due to sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a medical disorder where breathing starts and stops throughout the night. If you wake up with a dry mouth, you may be suffering from sleep apnea. This causes restless nights, fatigue and many other health issues.

This does affect sleep and like a chicken and egg situation, sleep deprivation, in turn, makes depression worse and affects mental health. If you wake up at night, sometimes racing thoughts can make it impossible to sleep.

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There are ways to combat this including relaxation and stress-relief exercises such as meditation or even taking up hobbies that you enjoy.

A simple hack like making your room cooler or switching on the air-conditioning before bed can also help you to sleep better. This is because your body temperature falls at night when it is time for bed and if your room is too warm it signals that it is time to be awake.

Put away your electronic equipment
Quit the habit of scrolling or checking your phone before going to sleep. These days people often sleep with their phones in the room and even on or near the bed. The artificial blue light emitted from the screen delays your circadian rhythm and suppresses melatonin, a natural chemical that tells your body it’s time to sleep. When you stare at the phone before bed it causes your body to wake up and become more alert disrupting your natural sleep rhythm.
Try to avoid using any of your gadgets for at least an hour before bed, two if possible.

An acidic stomach
Avoid spicy or oily foods at your last meal which is usually dinner. A queasy stomach and heartburn or indigestion are not a good recipe for sleep at all.

Cigarettes and alcohol just before sleep
There is this misconception that a nightcap consisting of alcohol before bedtime can help you sleep. The converse is in fact true alcohol, as well as cigarettes, disrupt sleep patterns. Avoid this as much as possible and it may help you fall asleep faster and enjoy deeper sleep.

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