Getting a good night’s sleep is an important part of maintaining a healthy mind and body. Studies consistently show that when we neglect the quality and duration of our sleep each night, we perform worse at everyday tasks and our emotional health can quickly suffer. Statistics aside, most people will agree that sleeping poorly or, admittedly, not enough will leave you feeling sluggish and terrible the day after (which for many, is a widespread occurrence).
A surprising number of people regularly suffer from the effects of sleep deprivation, but many of us disguise the symptoms through the over-consumption of caffeine. Often that coffee or tea in the morning is the much-needed extra kick that gets you through the day.
For people who have found themselves agreeing with this, maybe it’s time to make a change. Understanding the external factors which affect the quality of our sleep helps us to avoid the common mistakes which lead to sleep deprivation in some people. Here are the three most important reasons you can’t sleep, and hopefully some useful solutions.
The surface you sleep on can have a huge impact on the quality of your sleep. The difference regarding comfort between a cheap mattress and a quality one is huge. Some people who don’t know if and when they should replace their mattress is surprising, but, if you’re starting to feel some unusual lumps and bumps, it’s probably time to get rid.
If you are suffering from poor sleep quality then consider trying a new mattress to see if it could improve your sleep – some mattresses come with free trials such as those from Amerisleep, who offer a 100-night sleep trial for your mattress. Trying new mattresses and a testing range is important when finding the perfect mattress for you.
Getting a good night’s sleep is about creating the perfect sleep environment; the lighting, the sound, and the surface you sleep on all need to be just right to allow your brain to rest.
Light in the Room
This is one of the most important external factors in determining the quality of sleep; when external light is shining strong, it impedes the quality of the sleep we experience. Before falling asleep, the effects of external light are already changing the quality of our sleep (not for the better). First of all, as the sun sets, our brains detect that the overall light level is dropping, accompanied by a corresponding change in the temperature and color of the light, which becomes more orange as the sun sets. Once our brain detects these changes, it releases a hormone called melatonin. It is this that informs our bodies that the time for sleep is approaching and therefore it is time to wind down certain biological processes and prepare for sleep.
When getting ready for bed, and while in bed, you should avoid using any devices that do not have a blue light filter. The light emitted by laptop and smartphone screens is the same color as daylight, and so once our brains detect this kind of light, they begin to act like it’s daytime, meaning that the body shifts from preparing to sleep to being awake. Devices with blue light filters will change the color temperature so that the device gives off a light of a warmer color which doesn’t trigger a more wakeful response in the brain.
Many of us like to fall asleep with some background noise going on. It is a great way to creating some ‘white noise’ which makes it easier to calm our minds down and achieve sleep. However, as we progress through the various stages of sleep, we are, at some points during our sleep cycle, more vulnerable to being woken up.
If the sound you have fallen asleep to is too loud, then it might wake you up prematurely. Even if you were able to get to sleep with that level of noise, you might not be able to remain asleep. One of the main issues for couples is having a significant snoring half, which if proved to be a big noise disturbance, could be worth seeing a sleep specialist about.
Don’t Give Up!
Considering all these external influences that impact sleep, even the smallest change to one or two factors could make all the difference if you’re finding it hard to get some good quality sleep. One of the main things to bear in mind is that it might take a while for you to find your perfect sleep setup – don’t expect to black out for nine straight hours just because you’ve bought the first mattress you see and watched the telly on for background noise.
It’s important to be patient when trying new options because no matter how frustrating the process can get, you’ll eventually find that sweet spot for sleep.