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Sleep has long been regarded as an important part of any human beings healthy living routine, especially because this is the time when your body has the ability to heal itself, rebuild damaged tissues and regenerate cells. When you don’t get enough sleep it can weaken your immune system and halt healing on injuries or illness. It can also make you feel anxious, and cause you to have less control over your physical body as well as your emotions. Unfortunately in recent years there has been a spike in insomnia and many people find themselves up late and exhausted when it comes time to get up in the morning. For information on 5 habits that could be ruining your nightly sleep routine, read on below.
Too much Web Time
This may seem obvious enough but many people still find themselves logging onto social media sites, playing just one last hand of solitaire and even online shopping late into the night. Although there’s absolutely nothing wrong with keeping in touch with family and friends or playing a digital game now and then, there’s a time and a place to entertain yourself this way and at night before bed isn’t that time. Kenny Thapoung of Women’s Health Magazine states “Web browsing throughout the day may cut into your sleep time, according to a new study conducted by the Technology Policy Institute.”
There are many problems affiliated with browsing the internet at night and each one plays a role in keeping you awake later when you should be snoozing. One factor to consider is that you may find yourself feeling somewhat addicted and unable to switch off the monitor and just close your eyes. It’s so easy to find just one more thing to look at before heading to bed, which could lead to extended time online and you losing track of the minutes. The bright lights of the screen also don’t help, especially if you’re viewing it in the dark of your bedroom while you should be sleeping. Finally, the content of what you’re viewing could extend your waking hours simply because your brain will go into overdrive processing information even after you stop looking at it. These thoughts can disrupt sleeping patterns and cause you to stay up way later than is healthy for your lifestyle.
Cell Phone Pressures
Similar to the call of the internet, cell phones can cause you to lose sleeping hours as well. There is the same kind of bright screen to consider, but even when your mobile phone has gone dark and is sitting quietly on the bedside table while you drift off there’s the possibility that it could buzz, ring, or make some other sort of sound to disrupt your sleep. There’s also the all-consuming need that many people face now a days to answer any messages you get right away. This stress can keep you up and thinking when you should have your eyes closed and be trying to block out the world around you.
It might come as a shocker, but the pastime of many readers could be keeping you up at night. Of course using higher brain function to read rather than watching a program on television is the preferable method of making yourself drowsy, but you should practice doing this in the living room or curled up at a kitchen breakfast nook rather than in your bedroom where your energies should be revolved around sleep. MSN Healthy Living reports: “Reading before bed is a habit for many. Problem is, your body has likely adapted to that routine—it won’t go to sleep until you’ve logged a couple chapters.”
The more that you do something the more likely it is that your body will program itself to require this treatment daily in order to operate properly. If you get used to reading in bed then you might begin to associate your bed with reading, not with sleeping, which could cause problems when you do need to drift off for an early meeting the next day but your brain wants you to keep reading instead.
One shocking find where sleep is concerned is that your toothpaste might actually be keeping you from hitting that REM cycle. Obviously you need to brush your teeth before bed in order to retain good oral health and fight off gum disease, but you might want to consider switching to a new flavor. Karen Borsari of Daily Burn expresses: “Research suggests the scent of peppermint stimulates the brain, making you feel more awake. Try an alternative flavor like strawberry or bubblegum instead.”
Mint has long been used in refreshing beverages, soaps, sprays, and other stimulants to perk you up and get you moving when you feel fatigued or groggy. You’d be surprised at how many face washes and other morning shower products incorporate mint as a way to help you wake up. Just think about the way that it makes you feel in the morning when you run your toothpaste over your teeth and you get that first hit of minty zing. If you don’t want to bother purchasing a new flavor you could switch to a basic combination of baking soda and water for your nightly scrub, while still utilizing regular tooth products throughout the rest of the day. It might not taste as nice, but it will get your mouth clean and whiten in the process.
Changing Bed Time
Finally, the amount that people alter bed times from one night to the next can make a huge difference in how well you sleep and how much of the night is actually spent in peaceful slumber. Think about the way that your routine worked as a child; your parents likely had you on a set schedule, especially on school nights. This worked in your favor to make you sleepy at the right time and help you snooze the whole night through. Suzanna Croften says: “Your body has a nocturnal clock and going to bed at different times each night can affect your stages of sleep.”
This doesn’t mean you can’t have a late night here and there on the weekends with your friends, but at least during the weeknights it might be a good idea to give yourself a set time and try to get everything completed and be in bed by that time.