If I asked you to keep a sleep diary for the next couple of weeks, just like a food and exercise diary, charting your hours of sleep/night, quality of sleep, how long it took to fall asleep, whether or not you awaken during the night, how many times you woke up, whether or not you could fall back asleep easily - what would your responses look like? Sleep heaven or sleep hell?? Well experts say that your insomnia may be caused by what you do and don't do. So here are some things you should consider, if you are being robbed of sleep.
Do you use alcohol to sleep or just drink a fair amount?
Small amounts of alcohol can affect melatonin, a hormone that helps to regulate sleep. More alcohol can affect the quality and quantity of sleep.
Do you drink a lot of coffee?
Caffeine boosts alertness but too much or some at the wrong time can seriously impair your ability to fall asleep or stay asleep. And though I ask about coffee - soda, energy drinks, foods, regular tea can all contribute to your caffeine consumption levels. And since it can take up to 7 hours for your system to eliminate caffeine, so when you have that last caffeinated product in your day, can seriously impact your sleep as well.
Do you keep your bedroon hot-warm-cool-cold??
A cool or not cold (between 54 and 74 degrees) room is your best bet for ensuring deep and sustained sleep. It allows your core body temperature to gradually drop, something necessary for good sleep to occur.
Do you eat too much too close to bedtime?
A heavy meal or too many calories can cause stomach upset or simply require your body to spend energy on digestion, and raise body temperature - the opposite of what we need, to begin moving towards a sleep posture.
Do you exercise at night?
You'll never hear me say "don't exercise" but I will tell you that doing it too close to bedtime (within 3 hours) may actually disrupt your sleep cycle and "rev you up."
Do you have a sleep routine?
Some of us cannot (or can no longer) "wing it" when it comes to sleep, so set up a routine that encourages sleep:
- Turn down lights
- Light some gently scented candles
- Draw a warm bath or take a warm shower
- Play soft music
- Turn off the TV an hour before bedtime
- Only sleep in bed
- Have a cup of herbal tea but empty your bladder before turning in