Sleeping Dilemmas

If you’re having trouble sleeping, don’t worry, because you’re not alone. Statistics show that 22% of people sleep poorly at night, 47% of people say stress or worry is what keeps them awake at night and none too surprisingly, 49% of people have never taken steps to help them sleep better. It’s an old wives tale that counting sheep and listening to lullabies will send you off to dreamland, but then again, if it does work, it can only get you so far. Here are some common bedtime mistakes you might not even be aware you’re doing, and how to avoid them.

Caffeinated midnight snacking

Caffeine is a stimulant and in moderate doses, can block sleep neurotransmitters causing insomnia. Refined sugars can stress the organs in charge of hormone regulation – causing you to wake in the night as your levels fluctuate.

Solution:

Snack on foods that contain tryptophan. This amino acid is needed by the body to produce serotonin, which in turn makes melatonin – a hormone that helps control your sleep cycles. Foods that are high in tryptophan include yogurt, milk, banana, eggs, and turkey.


Sleep debt

There’s a common misconception about sleep debt: you accumulate lost hours of sleep that you can pay back later on, and your body will be fine.

Solution:

Sleep debt isn’t a straight balance. Most people only usually need two or three good night’s sleep, to get back to normal after serious sleep deprivation.


Sleeping with pets

According to research, 63% of pet owners who share their bed or bedroom with their pets, experience poor sleep quality.

Solution:

Keep your pets in a different room. If they’re exceptionally noisy, consult your vet to rule out any medical problems – they might be making sleep mistakes themselves!


Hitting the snooze button

Any extra sleep you get is fragmented, making it low quality. You also prepare the body for a new sleep cycle that you won’t have time to finish, resulting in fatigue throughout the day.

Solution:

Set your alarm for when you actually need to get up. Try to set it for the same time every day, this regularity will hopefully mean you should wake up without the need for an alarm.


Tech bed

78% of people use a smartphone, tablet or laptop before going to bed. However, these gadgets emit blue light, which is said to delay the production of melatonin, the sleep-inducing hormone.

Solution:

Give yourself a tech curfew and move your electronic devices out of the bedroom altogether.


Leaving the T.V. on

38% of people watch TV to wind down for sleep. However, watching T.V. before bedtime encourages you to stay up later, harming the sleep cycle and leading to poor quality sleep.

Solution:

Keep T.V.’s out of the bedroom or put a self poweroff timer in TV. Alternatively, listen to the radio to help yourself fall asleep.