Why we do not get enough sleep: bad habits and useful tips


Why we do not get enough sleep: bad habits and useful tips

We talk about the main causes of poor sleep.

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More and more research confirms: healthy sleep is very important. Without it, we not only become irritable and poorly focused but also overeat, we get sick more often and do not want sex. Not the most amazing news. Surprisingly another - often we ourselves deprive ourselves of a calm 7–9 hours of sleep per day. And that's how it is.

1. We do not part with gadgets until we win

The brain perceives the glow of the screen as daylight. As a result, the nervous system is excited, and the emission of the blue spectrum from smartphones reduces the production of melatonin, a hormone that helps us sleep. In a small study, the results of which were published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, specialists used a special lens to block blue waves from screens for people with insomnia. This helped the subjects to sleep better: sleep became longer and better. The same rule works with room lighting: muffle it an hour before bedtime or buy special red glass sconces in the bedroom (the warm spectrum does not so much excite the nervous system).

2. At night, drink a glass of wine

It is really easier to fall asleep after a portion of alcohol because it increases the blood levels of adenosine, a substance that is responsible for the feeling of fatigue and is produced when the brain was actively working all day and we didn’t sleep. The problem is that the level of adenosine first increases dramatically and then also drops rapidly. As a result, we wake up before we have time to relax. In addition, alcohol interferes with the onset of the fast phase of sleep (it is called the phase with dreams), which helps the body to fully recover. And finally, one more unpleasant moment: alcohol acts as a diuretic, makes it necessary to run to the toilet more than usual, and this, of course, interferes with normal sleep.

3. Do not pay attention to the sleep schedule

The American National Foundation for Sleep Problems recommends sleeping 7–9 hours a day and going to bed at about the same time. For a change in rest and wakefulness, circadian rhythms are responsible for controlling sleep through the hormone melatonin. If we go to bed at the same time, melatonin synthesis adapts to our regime. Failures in the schedule lead to a contradiction: there is already a lot of melatonin, but we are still awake, and vice versa - it is not enough, and we just go to bed.

4. We sleep at the wrong time

If you go to bed only in the morning, the sleep time does not coincide with the peak of the concentration of melatonin in the blood: the level of the sleep hormone begins to rise at 22:00 and reaches its maximum by midnight. That is why by 11 o'clock in the evening it is recommended to lie in bed.

5. Exercise right before bed

Physical exertion increases heart rate and respiration and brings the body into a tone. Generally, regular sports contribute to a night of good, sound sleep, but it is better to train no later than two hours before bedtime. The exception is calm yoga and relaxation exercises.

6. We do not ventilate the bedroom

The bedroom should be fresh - 16-19 degrees. At higher temperatures, the REM sleep phase is disturbed, and sleep, in general, becomes restless. At bedtime, the body temperature decreases by about half a degree, helping to calm down, and the hot temperature in the room acts, on the contrary, as a stimulant: it makes the heart beat faster and prevents sleep. But do not get cold. If your feet are cold all the time, put a bottle of warm water or wear socks.

7. Have dinner before bed.

A small snack, most likely, does not hurt at all, but you shouldn’t eat dinner well: you will have to digest food for a long time, and this makes it difficult to sleep. Especially the item is important for those who suffer from heartburn: an increase in pressure in the abdominal cavity due to a filled stomach can provoke reflux - a return throw of the acidic contents of the stomach into the oesophagus. If you have bouts of heartburn, just do not eat there later than 3 hours before bedtime.

8. Constantly anxious and worried.

When not for a moment leave the thought of work or household chores, to talk about sleep is not necessary. Meditation or simple breathing exercises will help, for example, this: make smooth inhalation and exhalation at the expense, gradually increasing their duration (you can start from three and strive, say, to eight). Slow breathing evens out the rhythm of the heartbeat and activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the state of rest, and the observation of breaths and exhalations helps to distract from annoying thoughts. If you can not relax at all in any way, ask for help from a psychologist.

9. We drink coffee in the afternoon

People who drink too much coffee during the day and especially in the evening, sleep is often disturbed. It is about 400 mg of caffeine per day - 3 cups of espresso or 2 cans of energy. Caffeine blocks the adenosine receptors and prevents it from working: we stop feeling tired and the body goes back to active mode, spending the last energy. Blood pressure rises from caffeine, blood vessels dilate, the nervous system is excited. In short, it is better to leave coffee in the morning (and energy should not be drunk at all).

10. We smoke before bedtime

Nicotine stimulates the nervous system in much the same way as caffeine, although it acts on other receptors. Smoking gives a burst of energy, leads to excitement: from the action of nicotine, the heartbeat increases, pressure increases, we breathe more often. Nicotine not only interferes with sleep but also suppresses the phase of fast sleep, because of this we sleep intermittently.

To help you understand what exactly is preventing you from sleeping and getting enough sleep, the sleep diary will help. Record what time you lie down and wake up, notice what you did shortly before bedtime, and what you ate or drank (especially if it was pills, caffeine and alcohol), whether you woke up at night, how you feel the next day. So it will be much easier to calculate and eliminate the cause.

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