One in 3 American adults don’t get enough sleep. In other words, they’re snoozing for less than seven hours each night.1 That’s not nearly enough to stop yawning all day long! Sound familiar? You can probably blame it on these seven reasons.
1. You Napped Too Long
A short nap may improve alertness and brain function, but it has to be just that: short.2 All it takes is 7 to 10 minutes, but 30 minutes also works. Anything longer – especially more than an hour – will prevent you from snoozing later on.3
2. You Drank Caffeine Too Late
A cup of joe can get the day rolling, but one too many will work against you. Time it right by having your last cup six hours (or more) before your ideal bedtime.4 Don’t forget other foods also have caffeine, like tea and chocolate.
3. You Woke Up Too Late
A late morning equals a late night, and the vicious cycle continues. Break it up by avoiding napping –especially later in the day. And again, try your best to avoid caffeine six or more hours before bed. Can’t keep your eyes open? Go for a walk or eat a banana, a caffeine-free source of energy.
4. You Drank Too Much Alcohol
Booze might be a “night cap”, but it actually disrupts your internal body clock. Melatonin, the hormone that controls sleep and circadian rhythm, is also suppressed.5 And when you do fall asleep? It’ll be light, irregular, and the farthest thing from restful.
Alcohol should be consumed in moderation, anyway. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends up to 1 drink per day for women, and up to 2 drinks per day for men.6
5. You Need To Eat
Doing anything on an empty stomach can be irritating, and trying to sleep is one of them. Hunger pangs will double as an alarm clock all night. Reach for a light snack, like whole grain toast or wheat crackers and peanut butter. Avoid heavy, large meals a few hours before bedtime.7 Tummy troubles are the last thing you need at night.
6. Your Room Is Too Hot
Heat makes it really hard to drift off. And while your room doesn’t have to be freezing, it should be nice and cool. Turn on a fan or open up the windows. To avoid dehydration from the heat, keep a glass of water nearby.8 Stay comfy by using the appropriate blankets for the season.
7. You Are Using Electronics
Electronics emit blue light, a type of light that delays our internal clock. It also disrupts melatonin and overstimulates the mind.9 Before long, you won’t feel the least bit tired. Turn off electronics at least an hour before sleeping. And yes, that includes the television! Finally, for the sake of good sleep, don’t use a smartphone in bed. Your Instagram feed will still be there in the morning.10
Our workaholic, tech-savvy culture makes it hard to adopt healthy sleeping habits. However, sleep is needed for mental function, focus, and overall health. It gives your brain and cells a chance to re-charge.11 Do yourself a favor and slowly nix these habits. You’ll feel so much better in the morning.
|↑1||Short Sleep Duration Among US Adults. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.|
|↑2||Lovato, Nicole, and Leon Lack. “9 The effects of napping on cognitive functioning.” Progress in brain research 185 (2010): 155.|
|↑3, ↑8, ↑10||Sleep Hygiene. Indiana University Health.|
|↑4||Drake, Christopher, Timothy Roehrs, John Shambroom, and Thomas Roth. “Caffeine effects on sleep taken 0, 3, or 6 hours before going to bed.” Journal of clinical sleep medicine: JCSM: official publication of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine 9, no. 11 (2013): 1195.|
|↑5||Alcohol, Antidepressants, and Circadian Rhythms. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.|
|↑6||Alcohol and Public Health, Frequently Asked Questions. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.|
|↑7||Strategies for Getting Enough Sleep. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.|
|↑9||Hatori, Megumi, Claude Gronfier, Russell N. Van Gelder, Paul S. Bernstein, Josep Carreras, Satchidananda Panda, Frederick Marks et al. “Global rise of potential health hazards caused by blue light-induced circadian disruption in modern aging societies.” npj Aging and Mechanisms of Disease 3 (2017).|
|↑11||Brain Basics: Understanding Sleep. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.|