Everyone has had one of those nights, where you just can't seem to fall asleep, but have you ever stopped to think about the things that can stop you from sleeping? There’s a whole host of weird things that can prevent you from getting the shut-eye you need, and leave you feeling tired and irritable. If your sleepless nights are getting more frequent, check out this list of strange things that can stop you from sleeping…
Do you enjoy a cup of tea or a glass of milk before you go to bed? Or do you love winding down with hot chocolate and a good book? You could be asking for trouble. Drinking before bed means your bladder will still be active when you are sleeping, leading to midnight bathroom trips. People with an overactive bladder, where the bladder contracts involuntarily, could also end up not getting enough sleep. Your bladder is one of the biggest things that can stop you from sleeping, so thwart it by avoiding drinking anything at least for an hour before you go to bed. Also, avoid meals like spicy curries that may irritate your bladder.
A rumbling stomach will most definitely keep you lying awake in bed. If you don't wan to wake up feeling exhausted, try to space out your meals to prevent getting really hungry, and have a snack a few hours before bed.
As a teenager, you probably spent whole nights sleeping in bizarre places: friends’ floors, bathtubs, blow-up beds. But as you get older, your ability to sleep comfortably just about anywhere dies down, and you have to choose a comfortable mattress that supports you properly. There are a whole variety of mattresses out there, featuring different materials, technologies, softness levels etc. Finding the perfect one does tend to be trial-and-error but it's worth that time and effort because once you've got it right, you'll end up sleeping so much better!
When you work out, your body fills up with stress hormones. They help to increase blood flow, boost your heart rate and raise your body temperature, enabling your muscles to keep going, and allowing you to hit your targets. These hormones do take some time to dissipate though, and afterwards, you’ll usually feel an energy boost. While exercise is proven to be fantastic for insomniacs, avoid exercising right before bed.
Alcohol is a difficult one, because its effect on sleep really depends on what you drink, and when you drink it. A glass of wine before bed can help you fall asleep. A few glasses of wine will have the opposite effect though, because while you may fall asleep instantly, the second stage of sleep becomes disturbed, and you are very likely to wake up and struggle to get back to sleep. Avoid night-time boredom, and the daytime fatigue, by sticking to a single glass of wine or beer before bed.
Yep, this one had to feature somewhere! It could be anything you are worried about, from a date to a big work deadline or finance problems, or even driving lessons, but if it’s stressing you out, it could affect your sleep. Stress-induced sleep disturbance occurs when you can’t stop your mind from racing, and your body produces stress hormones even when you are lying in bed. While addressing the cause of the stress is vital, a massage, a hot bath or a good book before bed can help you get your sleep.
Your bedroom is definitely one of the main things that can stop you from sleeping. A flood of light, either from outside or light from your computer or phones, can confuse your brain and stop you from being able to wind down. Your room needs to be dark and distraction free, so that your body learns to switch off quickly. Having a TV in your room can also cause problems, as watching it stimulates the brain and can keep you awake. If you can’t sleep, make sure your room is the quiet, dark sanctuary it should be.
These aren’t the only things that can stop you from sleeping, either. Caffeine is another big problem, as is using phones and laptops right before bed. Who hasn't decided to finish that text convo in bed, or check your email in the middle of the night?! If your sleep is regularly suffering, though, it’s time to make some changes. Do you know a great sleep-boosting tip? Let me know!
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