By Dylan Foster from HealthWellWise.com
Sleep isn't something that happens to you — it's something you do. As such, when your sleep is suffering, reaching for sleeping pills shouldn't be your first move. While sleep aids have their place, they don't address the underlying cause of sleep problems. If you truly want to solve your insomnia, you have to go to the source. These are five things you may not realize are sabotaging your sleep along with simple solutions that anyone can implement.
Browsing social media or reading the news on your phone seems like a good way to wind down when you're too energized for sleep. After all, reading a book always puts you to sleep, so why wouldn't reading on your phone do the same? Unfortunately, it's not that simple. As the World Economic Forum explains, the light emitted from screens is so powerful that it makes your brain
think it's still daylight. As a result, the body scales back production of melatonin, the hormone that triggers sleepiness, and you have a harder time falling and staying asleep. If you're not tired when it's time for bed, listen to a guided meditation, write in a journal, or read an actual book.
The bedroom is a great place to express your personal style. As a private space, it's ideal for exploring your tastes and creativity. However, go too wild and your bedroom décor might keep you up. Bright colors, busy decorations, and clutter stimulate your mind when it needs to wind down for sleep. When it comes to bedroom design, restraint is key. Choose earthy colors like muted blues and grays, keep decorations simple, and store your extra stuff elsewhere.
Waking up early to hit the gym is a major struggle for many of us, and sleep problems make an early rise even harder. But if you save your workout for the evening hours, your sleep quality could take a hit. Some people find that evening workouts leave them too wired to fall asleep, especially when engaging in high-intensity exercise late in the day. If your post-work gym session is keeping you up, schedule vigorous workouts earlier in the day (morning and lunchtime workouts are great options) and stick to gentle exercises like yoga, walking, and stretching at night so you can get the rest you need.
Everyone knows that too much coffee keeps you up. However, not everyone realizes just how little caffeine it takes to disrupt your sleep — and all the sneaky ways caffeine gets into your diet, like tea, soda, chocolate, and even some over-the-counter medicines. The Sleep Doctor recommends consuming no more than 400 mg of caffeine per day (that's about 32 ounces of coffee) and avoiding caffeine after 2 pm. Caffeine sensitivity is highly individual; if you still have sleep trouble, try drinking even less and stopping earlier in the day.
Turning down the thermostat at night does more than save you a few dollars on the utility bill. Cooler indoor temperatures are also better for sleep. That's because your body's own temperature drops at night and lower indoor temperatures help you maintain this cooled-down state. Program your thermostat to 60-68 degrees Fahrenheit at night. If you're still waking up sweaty, replace your bedding with breathable fabrics and invest in a cooling mattress topper.
Sleep is tied to everything from your energy levels to your chronic disease risk. So, when you can't sleep, it's important to do something about it. Before you reach for sleeping pills or another quick-fix solution, try our suggestions for improving sleep quality naturally.
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