Getting quality sleep is about much more than having energy in the morning or avoiding those pesky dark circles under your eyes. Lack of sleep is linked to serious diseases like diabetes, cancer, heart disease, depression, immune system trouble and even weight gain and obesity.
This means that if you’re not getting enough sleep, you’re at an increased risk of acute illnesses like colds and the flu and potentially deadly chronic diseases. Lack of sleep is even known to trigger an inflammatory response in your body, and inflammation is thought to be at the root of conditions like heart disease.
If you’re chronically sleep deprived, your brain will suffer too; not only will you display poorer judgment but your memory will suffer too, as will your mood, anxiety levels and tendency to become irritable.
Too little sleep is even linked to a shorter lifespan, not to mention a worse quality of life. Taken together, it’s not a stretch to say that getting a good night’s sleep is easily one of the most important variables to lasting health and happiness.
That said, identifying, and remedying, the factors that are standing in your way of a proper night’s sleep becomes essential to your well-being. But the problem is, many people don’t realize what’s keeping them up at night.
Thomas Roth, PhD, director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, told WebMD:[i]
“People often don’t have any idea what’s disturbing their sleep … There’s a lot of misattribution. They assume it’s one thing, but it’s actually something else entirely.”
What’s Disturbing Your Sleep? 7 Top Causes Revealed
If it’s been awhile since you’ve gotten a good rest, consider the following little-known factors that could be disturbing your sleep.
7. A Nightcap
A drink or two before bed may make you initially drowsy; that’s due to its depressive effects. However, when your blood alcohol level drops, it’s likely to wake you up again and interfere with your sleep cycle. That’s why it’s difficult to sleep soundly and deeply if you’ve had a few drinks. The solution? Stop drinking at least a couple of hours before you want to go to sleep.
6. Your Pets
According to one survey, 53 percent of pet owners said their pets disrupted their sleep to some extent at night.[ii] Not only do dogs (and some cats) snore, they can wake you up by moving around in your bed, meowing at 3 a.m., or needing to be let out in the middle of the night. If you’re a pet owner, you may want to keep your pet out of your bedroom, or at the very least make a bed for your pet on the floor.
5. Medications and Supplements
Steroids, beta-blockers and opioid drugs for pain relief can all cause you to have trouble sleeping. Even natural supplements like ginseng, which has stimulant properties, can keep you awake, as can certain B vitamins (which is why it’s better to take these in the morning).[iii] If in doubt, ask your health care providers if anything you’re taking could be interfering with your sleep.
4. Minor Aches and Pains
It’s obvious that significant pain will keep you awake, but even dull pain can interfere with your ability to sleep. Menstrual cramps, headaches, back pain and virtually any other type of pain can disrupt your sleep cycle, leading to “microarousals” as your brain receives pain signals from your body.[iv]
3. The Wrong Foods Before Bed
The wrong bedtime snack can interfere with your sleep. Spicy foods, heavy foods, too much sugar and dark chocolate are all examples of some of the worst foods to eat before bed, but even citrus fruits should be avoided.
Smoking has been found to impact the body clock in your lungs via inflammation as well as by depressing levels of brain activity. Smoking actually decreases SIRTUIN1, a molecule that’s known to disrupt body clock at low levels.[v]
1. Watching TV or Using Your Computer or Tablet in Bed
Artificial light, and particularly the blue light emitted by many popular electronic gadgets, may suppress melatonin, a light-sensitive hormone that that promotes sleep.[vi] Ideally, try to keep the use of such devices to a minimum before bed (this is important to help your mind rest and get ready for sleep as well).
A Simple Trick to Help You Sleep
If you have trouble sleeping, you’ll want to read this post about “pink noise”, where we revealed that adding pink noise to your bedroom is one of the easiest ways to block out background distractions while at the same time encouraging your brainwaves to slow down for restful sleep.
This is as simple as turning on a fan or purchasing a noisemaker that produces a steady stream of sound, either artificially produced or mimicking falling rain, surf on a beach or wind.
If you still need extra help getting the rest you need, try adding in Sleepzyme, which is a natural sleep formula, “mother-nature approved,” with seven of the most powerful natural ingredients to promote healthful sleep. It’s not addictive, and it doesn’t have any negative side effects. It is simply the most powerful natural sleep aid available.