Researchers increasingly recognize the importance of a good night’s sleep in helping us achieve our fitness and wellness goals. Watch out for these five things that can prevent a restful night's sleep.
Exposure to bright light during the hours before bedtime can disrupt your sleep. According to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, bright light in the evening influences your internal clock, making it more difficult to fall asleep. Whether it’s a brightly lit room, an iPad, or the television, these things can affect your sleep quality long after you turn them off. Create a nightly ritual that gets you away from bright lights and promotes relaxation to prepare you for a good night’s rest.
Stress and Anxiety
Stress or anxiety that results from daily concerns can have a significant impact on your sleep patterns. When your mind races with worries, it is difficult to fall asleep, and you experience less deep sleep. Find ways to relieve stress and anxiety to prepare for bedtime. Exercise regularly, jot down your thoughts in a journal, and meditate.
Medications and Supplements
If you take medications or supplements, you might be consuming substances that disrupt your sleep without knowing it. Some supplements contain the stimulants ginseng and guarana, which have an effect that is similar to caffeine. Some headache and cold medications also contain caffeine and other stimulants. Medications like steroids and beta-blockers can also keep you awake at night. Check ingredients closely and talk with your doctor if you suspect that prescription medication is disrupting your sleep.
Overdoing It On Water
Staying hydrated is important, but too much water before bedtime can mean numerous bathroom breaks throughout the night. Drink water earlier in the day, and limit your intake of high-water foods (like fruits) a few hours before bedtime.
Late Night Alcohol
You may feel like a glass of wine or beer makes you feel drowsy, helping you sleep better. Alcoholic drinks may indeed make you drowsy enough to fall asleep quickly, but once your blood alcohol level drops 2 to 3 hours later, you are likely to wake up. This prevents you from falling into the deep sleep that helps you wake up feeling rested.