Sleeping like a rabbit or like a baby?

Sleeping like a rabbit or like a baby?

by Sally Walters

I’m one of those rare people blessed by the sleeping gods with the ability to fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow. 

I used to think that this is the norm, but growing up, I discovered I’m just a lucky case in a sea of tired people that suffer from sleep deprivation.

An estimated 164 million Americans, roughly 68% of the U.S. population, have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep most nights. 

If you struggle with slumber, you should pay attention to Sleep Awareness Week, an annual event taking place March 14-20. This event is created by the National Sleep Foundation and seeks to promote better sleep as a way to increase overall health and well-being. 

We’ve discussed before the importance of a good night’s sleep and how it can affect your mood and general health. Now it’s time to see the bad habits that might affect your sleep quality and what you can do to achieve that restful beauty sleep.

1. Midnight snacks are a big no-no

Eating too close to bedtime may affect your ability to fall asleep and the quality of your slumber. After a meal, your body starts the digestive process, and lying down can cause stomach acid to enter your esophagus, causing heartburn and indigestion. Also, during the night, your metabolism slows down, making digestion more difficult. No wonder you can’t fall asleep!

If hunger strikes and you must eat something, try to choose light foods that promote sleep, like bananas, almonds, chamomile tea, or some cereal with milk. 

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2. The night owl vs. the early riser 

Each person has their own sleeping pattern. Some prefer to go to bed early and wake up bright and early, while others prefer to stay up late and sleep in the next day. 

However, our bodies have a natural circadian rhythm that is linked to the rising and setting of the sun, not to our preferred sleep habits. 

Melatonin, the sleep hormone, influences our body to stay awake and alert or become sleepy. During the day, melatonin production slows down, allowing you to focus on the tasks at hand. At night your body produces more melatonin, which makes you feel sleepy and tired. 

Sleeping at odd hours is a bad idea as it goes against your natural circadian rhythm, leading to restless sleep or even insomnia. 

3. Too much screen time  

Another bad habit people have is indulging in too much television, playing video games, or mindlessly scrolling through social media before sleep. All your gadgets and electronic devices emit a blue light that mimics the effects of sunlight, inhibiting melatonin production. The longer you spend time on your phone or tablet at night, the harder it becomes for you to fall asleep. 

The type of content we consume at night can also influence our sleep patterns. If it’s too engaging, you’ll want to stay awake for longer. If it’s stressful, it can induce anxiety, releasing a flood of cortisol in the body. High levels of cortisol make relaxing impossible.

4. Skip that afternoon latte 

Who doesn’t enjoy a late cup of coffee with friends or an afternoon latte that will get you through the last hours of work? While it’s an instant pick me up and gives you the energy to finish your tasks, the flipside is that you’ll have trouble sleeping at night because of it. 

Caffeine is a stimulant that increases brain activity, lowering your chances of going to bed early. Research shows that coffee can affect our body up to 8 hours after consumption, so make sure to avoid coffee after 2 pm. 

If you still have trouble sleeping, try a natural supplement that will relax your body and allow you to snooze off easily. Elderberry Hill’s Nighttime Formula is rich in vitamins and minerals that promote a good and deep night’s sleep. It soothes your body and mind, allowing you to finally relax and unwind. 

Source: Adobe Stock