If you’re like most people, a bad night’s sleep is the set up for a whole day of yawning, too much coffee, sneaky naps, lack of concentration, and general moodiness. Sometimes we don’t get the sleep we need because going out with our friends seemed like a priority, and sometimes it’s because our periods are giving us grief and we have hot sweats! Sleep is important, and if we’re not getting enough of it, we’re not our best selves. But, the good news is, if you know to avoid certain things, you’ll be getting your seven hours of beauty sleep much more easily. Here are seven things keeping you up at night:
Watching Stranger Things (or anything scary)
Netflix may have some terrifyingly addictive shows, but when they put you on edge or scare you, they’re the worst thing you can watch before bed. The thing is, when something scares you, your body is programmed to go into a ‘flight or fight’ mode, which causes adrenaline and other chemicals that make us alert to prevent you from sleeping. So try something less thrilling when you turn out the lights.
Getting too cozy at night
We all love getting warm and having a nap, it makes us so sleepy, but sleeping in a hot room will negatively affect your sleep, even if it makes falling asleep easier. The best temperature to sleep in is 22 or 23 degrees Celsius, and higher temperatures will cause less ‘slow wave sleep’ (the time when your brain rests the most), and REM sleep. Which is why you’ll notice in the summer you’re restless and can’t sleep properly.
Your coffee intake
It’s not a myth that drinking too much coffee stops you from sleeping. Coffee gives you a boost because it blocks the chemical your brain produces that makes you feel sleepy. Even after four to six hours, half of the caffeine will remain in your system, and the rest of the caffeine can last even longer. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends avoiding coffee at least six hours before you go to bed, but if you’re sensitive to coffee or don’t drink it often, we would suggest skipping it after lunch. Even for regular caffeine addicts, steering clear of coffee after 3 pm will give you a better night’s sleep, so stick to green tea after lunch, which has around 20% the amount of caffeine, plus it contains an amino acid, L-Theanine, that helps your brain to concentrate.
We’ll be honest, the last thing we do before we clock off for some zzzs is do a final check of our IG stories. As we’re sure you’ve heard, the blue light from your phone can hugely mess with your melatonin levels (what controls your brain’s sleep cycle). So, because we doubt you’ll skip your nightly scrolling fix, make sure you turn your phone onto ‘Nightshift’ if you’re an iPhone user, or install the ‘Twilight’ app if you’re on Android: These settings minimize the blue light from your phone screen, allowing your brain to ‘switch off’ more easily.
Having a nightcap
A glass of wine may make you feel all sleepy, but it can negatively affect your sleep pattern and the quality of your sleep. Not to mention alcohol is a diuretic, so you’re more likely to wake up to pee during the night – and we all know how annoying that is!
Stress and worry
Worry about work, family or money are the most common reasons for sleep deprivation, and when your head hits the pillow, it’s all you can think about. If stressing is keeping you up or waking you up, you need to address the situation head-on. Instead of lying in bed imagining the worst, write down whatever it is you’re worried about and make a plan of action on how you can solve the problem; this will be both a release, and it often makes the issue feel less intimidating. Finally, write down the steps you need to take to resolve or make the best of the situation. You can also try meditation (check out meditation site and app Headspace) or the old school reading a book method, which will engage your brain elsewhere – whatever you do, don’t go on your phone! If the problem persists, consider seeing your doctor.
Not getting enough exercise
We’re not suggesting you run a marathon every day, or even hit the gym, but if you’re not getting your heart rate up for at least ten minutes, it could be why you find sleeping difficult. Not only does exercise release endorphins that can help your body to deal with stress and feel better about yourself, but the natural exertion of energy simply makes you feel more tired at the end of the day. If you’ve been at your desk all day, make an effort to walk some of your way home, take the stairs or go for a brisk walk. You’ll notice the difference! (Check out our easy tips for getting your booty in shape at work).
Sleep is the time your body does most of its regeneration – how else do you think Sleeping Beauty managed to wake up looking so flawless after 100 years? So, try to get more of it! We love the This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray, which not only helps us fall asleep quicker with its amazing blend of lavender, chamomile, and vetivert essential oils but sleep better too. Let us know if you have any tricks for better sleep in the comments below.