Factors that may be impacting the quality of sleep

There are four main factors that can impact your sleep: 

Health: 

Specific conditions effect your ability to get to sleep and stay asleep. Mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety play a part at effecting the quality of sleep.  

Top Tip: Have a pen and paper next to your bed. Before you go to sleep write down all your worries, concerns or to do lists for tomorrow so it is down on paper and not occupying your brain! 

Nutrition/ Lifestyle: 

The products you eat, and drink directly affect your quality of sleep. Caffeine, found in tea, coffee and other fizzy or non-fizzy drinks acts as a stimulant to the system. Blocking hormones that allow you to feel tired and get to sleep! 

Top Tip: Try to avoid caffeine after 12-1pm. 

Having processed carbohydrates or products containing added sugar before bed (1-2 hours) will boost your bodies blood sugar and therefore prevent you from being able to sleep. 

Top Tip: Keep the evening meals free from free sugar / processed white carbohydrates.  

Alcohol may seem to help you sleep however the quality of sleep is lacking and will in turn prevent your body from being able to repair and recover the way it would without it. 

Top Tip: Ensure you have a minimum 3 days with no drink to allow your body to repair. Try to keep it to moderate amounts and avoid binge drinking regularly. 

Regular exercise is essential for mental and physical health by releasing endorphins. Strenuous exercise releases a hormone called adrenaline which acts as a stimulate to your body. If you are finding that you are struggling to sleep after exercise late at night then ensure you finish exercising around 7pm to allow your body to calm down. 

Environment: 

The correct environment is so important to creating the perfect sleep. Temperature, lighting, noise levels, phone screens, TV’s, eating in bed, your bedroom should be used as little as possible and solely for sleeping. The more you mix in with other factors like working, relaxing, spending most of your spare time the more your body and mind gets used to not using that room for sleeping but for surviving. Keep the temperature cool and air flow regular to ensure you keep the levels of oxygen high to prevent sore or dry throats. Remove all phones, TV’s, laptops and LED lights. Putting down electronic devises 1-2 hours before going to sleep, charging it away from your bed to avoid temptations to look at it. Swap for reading, journaling or listening to a meditation or sleep podcast to help relax you. If noise and lighting is hard to get right, try investing in ear bud and an eye mask.

Have you ever looked into changing your alarm, so it is nice and soothing sound? The manor in which you are awoken is the mood that you will start in. Make it peaceful.

Attitude / mood  

Winding down to enter a good night’s sleep is the foundations to allowing your body to get a good night sleep. 

Ideas to help you unwind: 

  • Warm baths (with Epsom salts) 
  • Putting down phones / laptops / TV’s 1-2 hours before bed 
  • Herbal Teas (caffeine free) 
  • Keeping hydrated  
  • Reading or journaling 
  • Deep belly breathing or meditation  

References:

  1. External Factors that Influence Sleep | Healthy Sleep. (2021). Retrieved 22 March 2021, from http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/science/how/external-factors#:~:text=Other%20factors%20that%20affect%20sleep,and%20quality%20of%20our%20sleep
  1. Insaf Altun, C. (2012). The contributing factors to poor sleep experiences in according to the university students: A cross-sectional study. Journal Of Research In Medical Sciences : The Official Journal Of Isfahan University Of Medical Sciences17(6), 557. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3634295/ 
  1. What Affects Sleep? | Taking Charge of Your Health & Wellbeing. (2021). Retrieved 22 March 2021, from https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/what-affects-sleep 

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