Around a third of adults don’t get enough sleep. If you’re one of the millions of people who have trouble sleeping, there are solutions. A number of factors can cause irregular sleep cycles and insomnia.
Stress and anxiety
Stress and anxiety are common causes of sleepless nights. Many of us get into bed feeling exhausted but our minds still continue to race. If you’re familiar with this scenario, you may find that you don’t get the 7-8 hours of sleep you need every night. Stress can be related to all kinds of possible causes from work and financial pressures to relationship troubles and poor health. It might even be wear you actually sleep. Dr Stuart Peirson from Oxford’s Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute conducted an experiment recording wakefulness and sleep when exposing test subjects to different colours and they’re exploring whether artificial lights and lights from devices impact your sleep cycle.
Inactivity has far-ranging implications for mental and physical health. Studies suggest that almost 30% of adults are inactive. Exercise is a powerful natural tonic for the body and mind and it plays an integral role in sleep quality. Experts recommend a weekly activity target of 150 minutes of moderate exercise.
Dr Gerda Pot, senior author from the Diabetes & Nutritional Sciences Division at King’s College London and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, said: ‘The main cause of obesity is an imbalance between calorie intake and expenditure and this study adds to accumulating evidence that sleep deprivation could contribute to this imbalance. So there may be some truth in the saying ‘early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy and wise’. This study found that partial sleep deprivation resulted in a large net increased energy intake of 385 kcal per day. If long-term sleep deprivation continues to result in an increased calorie intake of this magnitude, it may contribute to weight gain.
Most of us have experience of sharing a room with a snorer. Snoring is often a temporary issue linked to sleeping position, drinking or allergies or illnesses, such as colds, but it can be a chronic problem. If snoring is keeping you up, it’s wise to encourage the person you share your room with to seek advice. Very loud snoring and laboured breathing can be symptomatic of disorders, including sleep apnea. Seeing a sleep apnea specialist can help to ease symptoms and improve sleep quality for all parties. Lifestyle changes can also be beneficial, including doing more exercise, giving up smoking and losing weight.
Living a healthy lifestyle
Looking after yourself can help to reduce the risk of sleep problems. Exercise regularly, eat a healthy, balanced diet, ensure you get enough rest and downtime and avoid smoking and drinking too much.
Seeking expert advice
If you have problems with sleeping, or your partner snores regularly, don’t be afraid to seek expert advice. There are treatments, lifestyle changes, devices and solutions that can be utilised to aid sleep.
Adjusting your sleep routine and environment
If you find it difficult to sleep, one of the best things you can do is get into a routine. Spend your evenings relaxing and winding down and get into the habit of going to bed and getting up at the same time each day. It’s also hugely beneficial to adjust your environment. Block out light and noise, make your bedroom a tranquil, inviting, cosy space and try to avoid taking tablets, phones and laptops to your bedroom with you.
If stress is keeping you up at night, there are several self-help techniques you can try to induce calm. Meditation, exercise, creative hobbies, listening to music, massage therapy and taking time out can all help you to manage stress. It can also be therapeutic to talk to others and offload or write down how you feel.
Sleepless nights can impact your physical and mental health and wellbeing. If you have trouble sleeping, it’s beneficial to try and identify possible causes and address the issue as swiftly as possible.