Do you spend hours trying to fall asleep at night? Or perhaps you keep waking up in the night and never seem to get into a deep sleep? Insomnia can be frustrating and can have an effect on everything from your general mood to your physical health. There could be many reasons as to why you’re struggling to get to sleep – here are just a few possible reasons and how I can help you solve your sleep issues.
If life is stressing you out, you’ll likely have too much cortisol flowing through your body to get to sleep. Cortisol makes your mind and body more alert, which is good is a dangerous situation, but not good when you’re trying to sleep. You may not be able to remove stress triggers from your day to day life, but you should try to take the time to destress before going to bed – activities such as taking a long hot bath, listening to music or meditating will lower your cortisol levels and help you get to sleep.
Dehydration will cause you to keep waking up in the night with a dry mouth. If you’re drinking lots of water throughout the night and constantly waking up thirsty, consider whether you’re drinking enough water during the day. Ideally, we should all be drinking 2 litres (half a gallon) a day – which is about 8 glasses of water.
Your general diet can have a big impact on your sleep quality, but you should pay special attention to what you eat before you go to bed. Foods that are high in carbs or high in fat will give you lots of energy before going to bed, which you won’t have time to burn off. Coffee and dark chocolate meanwhile are full of caffeine, which will also keep you awake – these culprits should also be avoided. Good things to consume before bed that will help you sleep include milk, cherries, bananas and turkey.
If you’re not getting enough exercise during the day, your body and mind won’t feel as tired. A lack of exercise can also make it hard for you body to differentiate between night and day. Start being more active during the day and you could find it easier to sleep.
Bright screens from TVs, mobile phones and laptops can trick our brains into thinking that it’s still daytime, preventing the production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Try to not look at any bright screens an hour before bed and sticking to activities such as reading, meditating or having a bath.
A bright colour scheme or too much light from outside could be similarly tricking your brain into thinking it’s day. Choose cool colours and consider blackout curtains that prevent outdoor light from getting into your bedroom.
An uncomfortable mattress could be preventing you from getting a good night’s sleep. Mattress comfort can be a matter of personal preference – some people prefer a hard mattress, whilst other prefer something soft and springy. Consider looking into new mattress materials reading this mattress toppers guide. Never use a mattress for more than 8 years as its likely to lose its comfort after this period and become unhygienic.
Your sheets may also be keeping you up at night. Certain materials are better at staying cool on a hot night, whilst others are better at retaining heat in the winter. Some materials are also rougher than others such as fleece, whilst others are smooth like silk. This again is likely to be a matter of personal preference so consider trying out new sheets and seeing the difference.
If your bedroom is too stuffy, it could be causing you to wake up a lot in the night. Consider opening a window or growing houseplants in your bedroom to keep a fresh supply of oxygen in the room. If you’re getting mould in your bedroom, you may also want to consider investing in a dehumidifier to soak up moisture – mould can cause headaches and respiratory problems, which will keep you up at night.
Last but not least, you should consider what items you keep in your bedroom and for what other purposes you use it. Try to limit reminders of work or personal projects – put your laptop in another room. You may even want to consider doing without a TV and putting your phone in another room if this is a distraction that is likely to keep you awake.