The Bigger Picture: What Is Affecting Your Sleep?

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The Bigger Picture: What Is Affecting Your Sleep?

In our article ‘Sleep and Mental Health: How Does Sleep Relate to Fitness and Mental Health, we discussed how sleep deprivation, or insomnia, can affect your mood. Individuals who are not able to get sufficient rest are crankier and more irritable compared to those who have had sufficient rest. What’s worse is that this can cause psychological disorders, including anxiety and depression. We also said in a previous post here on Thirsty 4 Health that a lack of sleep can also cause obesity and heart ailments. Fortunately, you can regulate many of the factors keeping you from getting a good night’s rest.

Light

Harvard’s Healthy Sleep states that light is one of the most critical factors that affect sleep. Regardless of the actual time, bright surroundings serve as a cue to your brain that it’s daytime, tricking it to remain awake and alert. Furthermore, exposure to light can prevent your body from producing melatonin, which lulls you to sleep.

If you want to improve the quality of your sleep, try to eliminate all sources of light in your room. Refrain from using your mobile phone or similar gadgets in bed, because the light emitted by the devices can keep you from falling asleep. It’s also advisable to shut the curtains if it’s too bright outside.

Temperature

Harper’s Bazaar suggests that room and body temperature when sleeping play a role in determining whether you get proper rest at night. The warmer the temperature of the two, the more difficult it can be for you to sleep. The article goes on to says that the ideal temperature for a person to be able to nod off is between 65 and 72 degrees.

Exercise

As strange as it might seem, the amount of exercise that you get may determine whether you can get a decent night’s rest. In fact, exercise has a holistic and positive effect on your body, according to a blog post by Leesa which explained the many benefits. The post revealed that working out not only helps you shed excess weight, it can also help lower blood pressure, improve mood, manage stress levels, and enhance the quality of sleep. A study published by Sleep Med was also cited in the article, wherein it was discovered that doing aerobic exercises can help adults with insomnia rest better. Furthermore, the participants of the study showed fewer signs of depression and were less likely to be sleepy during the day.

It’s also important to make sure you don’t exercise right before going to bed, as this can actually make you more alert, which is the last thing you would want if you are trying to get some sleep.

Medical conditions

Nightmares are not the only things that can cause you to wake up in the middle of the night. Men’s Health discussed how heartburn may be the culprit. If you wake up in the middle of the night coughing or choking, go and see a doctor because this is a symptom of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), in which your stomach acid rises up to your esophagus causing irritation.

Similarly, pain can also affect the quality of your sleep, as your aches and pains can keep you up throughout the night.

Medication

Certain medications also have an effect on your sleep. Some drugs, such as antihistamines and beta blockers can deepen sleep or at least make you more drowsy, while other substances that contain caffeine can do the complete opposite, increasing your alertness and making it more difficult for you to sleep.

Alcohol

Forget what they say about drinking alcohol to help you get some sleep. In fact, it does the exact opposite. While it can make you drowsy, it can also cause you to wake up multiple times in the middle of the night. If it does, it will be harder for you to sleep and make you feel dehydrated.

For a seemingly simple act, falling asleep isn’t easy for everyone. This is because sleeping is a bit more complicated than simply closing your eyes. As you should understand from this article, there are actually several factors that determine whether or not you will be able to get a good night’s rest. Try to see which elements are affecting the quality of sleep you are getting so you can make the necessary adjustments to eliminate or mitigate the negative factors.

 by Andreas Michaelides

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  • Jill McKay

    Great tips! Sleep is so important…it’s time for our body to heal and repair <3 Now, if I can only convince the little ones in my house! 🙂