Are You Destroying Your Sleep Cycle?

Sleep is one of the most important daily activities humans engage in, but a good night’s sleep can also be an elusive occurrence. Hectic schedules and careless habits can conspire to destroy natural sleep patterns and make getting to sleep, or staying asleep, more difficult. Here are a few actions that can undermine your natural sleep cycle and cause you to feel constantly needing a good night’s rest. 

Unhelpful Eating Patterns
Avoid eating heavy meals late in the evening, which can make falling asleep difficult and can cause indigestion or heartburn during the night. However, going to bed hungry will prevent deep sleep. Sleep experts recommend a bowl of cereal and milk before bed, if you feel hungry, or eating tart cherries or kiwi, which contain serotonin, a hormone that helps to relax you.

Working on Devices in the Evening
Electronic devices emit blue light, which can interfere with the product of melatonin, a hormone needed for sleep. Avoid working on tablets or checking smartphones late in the evening to allow your body to produce a healthy amount of sleep hormones.

Neglecting A Good Sleep Environment
If your bedroom is too warm, your body will not fall into the deeper cycles of sleep needed to feel fully rested. Conversely, if the room is too cold, it will prevent you from sleeping soundly. Keep the room on the cool side, but provide an additional blanket if you need a bit of extra warmth in the middle of the night.

Regulating Noise Levels
If you live in an area that has regular street traffic, you may find that it is often loud enough to disturb your sleep. Many people find that devices that play “white noise” can help to cover external sounds that can disrupt sleep patterns. “Pink noise,” which provides a more even level of neutral sound can often be the best background for optimum sleeping conditions.

Taking Stimulants in the Evening
Most people know that drinking coffee in the evening will keep them up or disturb their sleep during the night, but alcohol, late in the evening, can also stimulate blood pressure and heart rate enough to disturb sleep. In addition, medications that you may take in the evening often contain caffeine that can keep you up at night. Always read labels to ensure that your over-the-counter pain reliever or cold medication does not contain caffeine.

You should give as much attention to your sleep cycle as you would to your exercise regime or eating habits. Ensuring that your habits and environment promote sound sleep can help you to be healthier, happier and more productive during the day.

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