Many people minimize the importance of sleep because they don’t realize the long-lasting effects of not getting enough of it. Lack of sufficient sleep adversely affects your mental and physical health. If you’re having trouble falling or staying asleep, knowing the cause of your sleep disturbances can help you feel better.
Your Circadian Rhythm May Be Off
Depending on your work environment and lifestyle habits, your internal clock or circadian rhythm may be out of alignment. Your circadian rhythm is a natural, internal process that regulates your sleep-wake cycle, repeating roughly every 24 hours. When it’s functioning correctly, the circadian rhythm tells your brain when it’s time for rest and when it’s time for wakefulness. During these periods, hormones are released to promote sleep or wakefulness as needed.
This process can be offset if you spend too much time indoors exposed to constant artificial light. You can correct your circadian rhythm by going for a walk in the morning. Approximately one hour before bed, be sure to put away your mobile devices, as the blue light emitted by the screens can disrupt your internal clock. Step outside after dusk to help your body adjust to the change of daylight into night.
You Are Stressed
Too much stress can also disrupt your sleep cycle, which is one of many reasons to take steps to reduce stress. Getting more physical exercise is a highly effective way of eliminating stress. As you exercise, your brain releases endorphins, which are “feel good” neurotransmitters that stimulate the brain’s pleasure center. Since you can’t feel stressed when you feel pleasure, those endorphins will cancel out the effects of stress hormones. If you want to try something different, practice yoga or meditation. You can even play a game or do a puzzle to alleviate your stress.
You Are Suffering From a Medical Condition
In some cases, an inability to sleep is the body’s way of telling you there’s something wrong. Insomnia is a common problem among people with type 2 diabetes. If you’re female, you should be aware that some conditions, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), can also interrupt your sleep cycle. Rather than suffering through your insomnia, it’s better to seek out the proper medical treatment for your condition.
You Are Not Relaxed
Your body must feel relaxed for good sleep since it signals your brain that it’s time for a period of rest. You can be better prepared for sleep by engaging in a bedtime ritual. This might involve taking a warm bath, reading a good book, or drinking a glass of warm milk. Whatever activities you choose to include in your bedtime ritual should be done every night to signal your body that it’s time for sleep. You should also make sure your sleep environment is conducive to good sleep. Keep the bedroom cool with the thermostat set between 65 and 70 degrees. If your bedroom gets ambient light, wear a sleep mask to bed. You may also sleep better if you wear earplugs to bed. Eliminating external stimuli may be necessary to ensure you sleep deeply throughout the night.
Your Bedding is Keeping You Awake
Comfortable bedding is also necessary for a better quality of sleep. If you have an older mattress, you may need to replace it with a new and firmer mattress. Try replacing your pillows every few months. Be sure to buy thick pillows that provide sufficient support. Additionally, your sheets, pillowcases, and blankets should be soft and comforting. Scratchy bedding can make you feel uncomfortable enough to make it hard to fall asleep. Some people find that satin or silk sheets are best for sleep, but you may need to experiment to find the material that’s most relaxing for you.
Consult your doctor if you have tried altering your sleeping habits without seeing any expected benefits. Even if there isn’t an underlying medical condition inhibiting your ability to sleep, your doctor may recommend other lifestyle changes. You may even be prescribed a medication to ensure you get the sleep you need to stay healthy, energetic, and happier.
About the Author: McKenzie Jones is your typical Midwestern gal. When she is not writing or reading, she can be found training for her next half-marathon, baking something sweet, playing her guitar, or cuddling up with her golden retriever, Cooper. She loves watching football, fall weather, and long road trips.
For more information on sleep problems in women, you can search online for a “gynecologist near me” to schedule an examination. Often, a medical condition can explain why you can’t sleep well through the night even after you have made lifestyle changes
Resources to Recover and Our Sponsor Laurel House Celebrate Black History Month
February is Black History Month, a time for celebrating the outstanding achievements of Blacks and African Americans and their central role in US history. It is also a time to recognize the struggles Black people have faced throughout the history of our nation and give tribute to the strength and resilience of generations of Black Americans who have risen above adversity.
Black History Month originated from an idea by Harvard-educated historian Carter G. Woodson, who wrote the Journal of Negro History in 1916 to herald the achievements of overlooked African Americans in US history and culture. In 1926 he led an effort by the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History (ASALH) to officially declare the second week of February as “Negro History Week.” These dates align with the birthdays of two crucial figures in Black American history: Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809), who signed the Emancipation Proclamation officially ending slavery in the United States, and the Black American abolitionist and author Frederick Douglass (February 14, 1818), an escaped slave who is widely considered the most influential civil and human rights advocate of the 19th century. In 1976, President Gerald Ford gave official governmental recognition to the observance by declaring February “Black History Month.”
Without the contributions of Blacks and African Americans to more than 500 years of US history, culture, entertainment and the arts, science, athletics, industry and the economy, public service, and the Armed Forces, we would not be the country we are today.
The opinions and views expressed in any guest blog post do not necessarily reflect those of www.rtor.org or its sponsor, Laurel House, Inc. The author and www.rtor.org have no affiliations with any products or services mentioned in the article or linked to therein. Guest Authors may have affiliations to products mentioned or linked to in their author bios.
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