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💤Trouble Sleeping? 10 Possible Causes, And What You Can Do To Sleep Better 💤 #tipit
Health & Fitness
Bad news: chronic insomnia/trouble sleeping can increase the risk of chronic disease, and can literally take years off of your life. Good news: there is usually an underlying reason, and it can be changed. I've listed the top 10 reasons sleeping can be difficult (straight from my medical studies).
1) ELECTRONICS: using your phone, iPad, tv, etc within an hour before bed directly inhibits the brain from releasing the sleep neurotransmitter melatonin (the artificial light acts the same as sunlight during the day). Instead of playing with electronics, read a book, do some yoga, talk with your spouse...anything else really.
2) STRESS: being under constant stress releases cortisol and other hormones that increase alertness (think 'fight or flight') so that you have trouble sleeping at night. If you can, try removing whatever is stressing your out during the day, or destress right before bed by listening to relaxing music, doing yoga, praying, or practicing relaxing breathing techniques.
3) MESSY ROOM: this also overlaps with the stress category, but by itself it can be distracting not only to sleeping and relaxing, but it can also negatively affect your sex life. A clean room is a relaxing room.
4) ALCOHOL: sure it's a depressant, but more than one or two drinks and it interferes with the sleep cycle, and decreases the amount of specific sleep you get (the good stuff that promotes body healing and short-term to long-term memory transfer and storage). You might think you sleep better after drinking, but you don't, you only fall asleep faster, and it's a much less restful sleep.
5) FOOD: eating a lot of food, or food that is difficult to digest, right before bed can make it harder to fall and stay asleep. Your body is working hard to digest the food, along with adding feelings of not being able to get comfortable. Even worse: it promotes and worsens acid reflux. Don't eat a big meal less than two-ish hours before bed. Have a small snack instead if you're still hungry.
6) COFFEE: this seems like a no-brainer but I've seen for myself people that say they sleep poorly, but I've witness them continue drinking coffee at 10pm. I love coffee just as much as the next person, but in order to sleep well, I don't drink it past 3pm.
7) HITTING THE GYM: I realize more than most how important working out is (I'm a certified personal trainer), but I don't suggest doing a high intensity or cross fit workout an hour or two before bed. As previously mentioned, the stress will increase hormones that make it difficult to sleep. If you MUST workout at night, only do a moderate intensity workout, and do lots of cool down stretching after.
8) ERRATIC SLEEPING SCHEDULE: if you're getting up at 6:30am all week for work or school, don't screw up the first few days of your week by staying out til 5am all weekend. The body will likely spend Monday through Wednesday trying to recover/adjust, making work or school those days hell, and leaving you exhausted. Also, try not to sleep in more than two hours past when you normally get up on weekend days.
9) DEPRESSION: feeling low all the time, not wanting to get out of bed, having low self-esteem, crying for no reason, etc are a few symptoms of depression which can be due to a chemical imbalance in the brain. Depression can disrupt normal sleep cycles and cause you to wake up too early and not be able to fall back asleep. Not being able to sleep can also lead to depression; a vicious cycle. If anything I've just said raises a red flag, please see your physician.
10) SLEEP APNEA: is more common in men (more so if you're overweight), and is basically when your lungs stop breathing for a few seconds while you're sleeping. The starting and stopping of breathing usually wakes you from sleep, making it very difficult to get restful sleep (it happens dozens of times a night, or even more). Feeling very tired during the day, having insomnia at night, having morning headaches and difficulty concentrating are early signs. Kicking or punching while waking (which your partner would notice) is a sign of severe sleep apnea and you should see your doc immediately.
I have also had trouble sleeping in the past, and sometimes I still do if I'm stressed out. These tips have helped me, and I hope they will help you as well!
I'm a certified personal trainer, have a bachelors degree in exercise science, and am currently in medical school while pursuing my master's degree in public health.