10 Dangerous Habits That May Be Causing Your Insomnia
There are many factors, both internal and external, that can influence the quantity and quality of your sleep. Food can be a common source of creating a chemical origin for insomnia. You may not be able to control or eliminate all of the factors that interfere with your sleep, but you can create an environment and adopt habits that encourage a more restful night.
Here are a ten “Not-to-do” lists that may improve your quality of sleep:
1.Eat right, sleep tight. Try not to go to bed hungry, but avoid heavy meals before bedtime. An over-full belly can keep you up. Some foods can help, though. Milk contains tryptophan, which is a sleep-promoting substance. Other foods that may help promote sleep include tuna, halibut, pumpkin, artichokes, avocados, almonds, eggs, bok choy, peaches, walnuts, apricots, oats, asparagus, potatoes, buckwheat, and bananas.
- Avoid napping. Napping can only make matters worse if you usually have problems falling asleep. If you do nap, keep it short. A brief 15-20-minute snooze about eight hours after you get up in the morning can actually be rejuvenating.
- Avoid watching TV, eating, and discussing emotional issues in bed. The bed should be used for sleep and sex only. If not, you can end up associating the bed with distracting activities that could make it difficult for you to fall asleep.
- Avoid smoking. Cigarettes contain nicotine, which has been linked to difficulty falling asleep and problems awakening. Also, when smokers fall asleep, they experience nicotine withdrawal, which may cause them to awaken.
- Avoid alcohol as a sleep help. Alcohol may initially help you fall asleep, but it also causes disturbances in sleep resulting in less restful sleep. An alcohol drink before bedtime may make it more likely that you will wake up during the night.
- Stress, anxiety, and depression. The undisputed number one cause of insomnia is excessive stress, anxiety, and depression. Almost everyone has experienced transient insomnia the night before a job interview, big presentation, wedding, or other significant personal event. Transient insomnia usually passes after the stress-inducing event has been overcome. Chronic insomnia is more serious because it can affect an individual for an extended period of time. Persistent stress at work or home can lead to chronic insomnia. Anxiety and depressive disorders are another major source for chronic insomnia.
- Medications and other substances. Many common chemicals affect both quantity and quality of sleep. These include caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and antihistamines, as well as prescription medications including beta blockers, alpha blockers, and antidepressants.
- Eliminate caffeine. Simply put, caffeine can keep you awake. It can stay in your body longer than you might think the effects of caffeine can take as long as eight hours to wear off. So if you drink a cup of coffee in the afternoon and are still tossing at night, caffeine might be the reason. Cutting out caffeine at least four to six hours before bedtime can help you fall asleep easier.
- Light’s Effect. Light is one of the most important external factors that can affect sleep. It does so both directly, by making it difficult for people to fall asleep, and indirectly, by influencing the timing of our internal clock and thereby affecting our preferred time to sleep. Light exposure can cause our biological clock to advance or delay, which affects our sleep and wake cycle.
10 Keep pets out of bed. Does your pet sleep with you? This, too, may cause you to awaken during the night, either from allergies or pet movements. Fido and Fluffy might be better off on the floor than on your sheets.