Getting a good night’s sleep is key to a productive day. It is essential for maintaining a healthy body and mind, and while many of us don’t live with chronic insomnia, we sometimes experience a sleepless night without knowing what caused it. To help us better understand the reason for trouble sleeping or sleepless nights, here are four reasons, some common and some uncommon, that can result in insomnia.
Many researches have found that using your phone right before you go to sleep jeopardizes the production of melatonin, a hormone produced by the brain to regulate sleep. That is because smartphones, laptops, tablets, and televisions emit something called blue light, which is a type of light that the brain interprets as daylight, making it harder for you to fall asleep at night.
Binge Drinking Alcohol:
While it may be true that a couple of glasses of red wine can make you sleepy, you may actually wake up more frequently throughout the night as the body begins to metabolize the alcohol while you sleep, preventing your body from entering a deeper sleep. Additionally, indulging in alcohol before bed can disrupt a person’s rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. This stage of sleep is in charge of removing neurotoxins from the brain, and is the restorative stage we need to wake up refreshed in the morning.
Blood Sugar Imbalances:
Eating sugary foods like pastries, chocolates, and other candy close to bedtime can boost your blood sugar, ultimately providing a boost of energy that you don’t need. Your blood sugar then drops low, while the body sends signals to trigger stress responses that stimulate the release of adrenaline and cortisol: two hormones responsible for keeping you up at night.
It’s not hard to see why these symptoms of general anxiety can make it difficult to sleep. When you can’t sleep for many nights, you might start to feel anxiousness, dread, or panic at just the thought of going to sleep. This is how anxiety and insomnia can feed each other and become a cycle that should be interrupted through treatment. There are cognitive and mind-body techniques that help people with anxiety settle into sleep, and overall healthy sleep practices that can improve sleep for many people with anxiety and insomnia.
Insomnia can be triggered or perpetuated by your behaviors and sleep patterns. Unhealthy lifestyles and sleep habits can create insomnia on their own. Examples of how specific lifestyles can lead to insomnia are:
- You work at home in the evenings. This can make it hard to unwind, and it can also make you feel preoccupied when it comes time to sleep. The light from your computer could also make your brain more alert. Limit exposure to technology or bright lights at least one hour before bed.
- You sometimes sleep in later to make up for lost sleep. This can confuse your body’s clock and make it difficult to fall asleep again the following night. Set a consistent sleep schedule.
- Experts recommend cutting out caffeine at least six hours before hitting the hay. It is also advised to stop consuming alcohol because it may disrupt your sleep later in the night.
- There are many naturally occurring foods that promote sleep. Bananas have magnesium and potassium that serve as muscle and nerve relaxants. Walnuts and almonds contain melatonin, a hormone that helps to regulate your sleep/wake cycle.