Bad Habits Messing Up Your Sleep?

1.    Stress and excessive worry-.Operating in a fight or flight mode throughout the day will activate parts of the brain that increase adrenaline and cortisol . Your brain wants to fight or run, not rest or sleep.
2.    Inactivity-Physical activity helps relieve stress, reduces cortisol production, and helps normalize sleep patterns. Avoid the condition of being emotionally  or mentally tired but not physically tired.
3.    Erratic Schedules-good quality sleep is dependent upon circadian rhythms. Cooperate with your body and set fairly consistent schedules for sleep. If you wake up later on the weekend, try not to wake up later than about an hour from your usual wake-up time and go to sleep more than two hours later.
4.    Overeating and Indigestion-a bloated stomach, gas pains, indigestion, and reflux symptoms may make sleep impossible.Try eating not more than 150 calories of food before bedtime and avoid foods that are too spicy. Weight loss often improves quality of sleep.
5.    Alcohol, Nicotine, and Caffeine-Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant and can cause you to fall asleep ,but then rebound and be wide awake a few hours later.It can suppress dreaming during sleep and even cause nightmares in some individuals.For cardioavascualr health and good sleep generally 1-2 glasses of wine or equivalent is OK for men and one glass for women. Check with your physician re your own medical guidelines. Nicotine is a stimulant and can produce severely disrupted sleep patterns.Nicotine withdrawal can begin within a few hours of the last cigarette. Caffeine should be avoided about 7 hours before bedtime.
6.    Napping- a mid afternoon nap may be refreshing and certainly preferable to too much caffeine intake. However more than 45 minutes may reduce sleepiness at night. Try to nap before 3 PM.
7.    Bedroom Sleep Disruptors-
•    Light-any light in the room may decrease the production of melatonin, the hormone that helps you sleep. For those who are especially sensitiveeven the lighted dial on the alarm clock can be disruptinve.
•    Temperature- avoid a room that is too hot or cold. For most a room around 65 F is usually ideal ,but variations are great, especially for women experiencing menopausal symptoms.
•    Noise-the quieter the better. If you have a noisy environment, soothing sounds in the background can help ( ocean sounds, bells, babbling brook,etc)
•    Pets- motion of pets, allergies, noise can be disruptive.
•    Bed/Mattress—makes a big difference to the light sleeper or anyone with chronic back or neck pain. When purchasing a new mattress try out everything in the store before  you choose. Different body shapes respond differently to different mattresses.
•    Spouse/Partner- romance is not enhanced if sleeping with a partner that thrashes around, snores loudly, coughs loudly from a cold, or goes to the bathroom six times a night. One partner may need to go to the guest room until the problem is resolved.
8.    Pill Popping-Many medications can interfere with normal sleep patterns. Learn which medications can compromise sleep.

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