Friday, 27 March 2020

Insomnia: Here's Why You're Having Trouble Falling Asleep At Night.

Trouble Falling Asleep
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Ever wondered why you can't fall asleep at night or sleep through the night without constantly waking up every half hour? For many, falling asleep seems to happen with little or no effort. Falling asleep should probably be the easiest thing to do on the planet whether you're on the bus, train or classroom, nothing beats the feeling of drifting off to dreamland. The problem is that not everybody that hopes for a good night rest achieves it when they hit their beds.

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Sleep is good for the body and it's nature's way of giving our bodies time to do what it couldn't possibly do when you run around during the day. Sleep plays an important role in our physical health. Experts say sleep is involved in healing and repair of the heart and blood vessels. During the day when we carry out vigorous exercise and do all sorts of running around, we expend energy, a lot of cells wear-out and die-off, we may get injured, muscles tire out and our body sources for more energy from the body reserves constantly converting stored biomolecules such as fats and glycogen to act as fuel.  All these and much more happens to you during the day so your body needs time to make much-needed repairs and that happens while you sleep. While chronic inability to sleep (also known as Insomnia) can contribute to health problems such as weight gain, high blood pressure, and a decrease in the immune system’s power. Researchers say sleep improves the memory and can even determine whether or not one lives to good old age. I could go on forever about the benefits of sleep but let's save that for another blog post.

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Despite the innumerable benefits that come with good rest, though, not everybody can really sleep through the night without waking up long before daybreak, and subsequently finding it difficult to go back to steady sleep. Many of us are familiar with this trend, hence the need to know the cause and how to deal with it. Below are possible reasons why you have trouble falling asleep.

Causes of Insomnia

1. Bright light

The lighting in your room is a very important factor that affects how much you sleep or if you'll sleep at all. According to Family Physician, Dr Morenike Orelaja, many people are so taken up with living in a well-lit environment that they carry this craze right into the bedroom. She says bright lights in the bedroom are a sure path to sleeplessness as the night wears on and is sure to cause you problems falling asleep. While I blame Horror movies for making me sleep with my lights switched on, however, many people would turn their bedrooms into a light show, with the television still on and as they drift to sleep.

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Even if it's just the TV that is on while you sleep off, you can be sure to wake up in a matter of hours because the light of the TV reflects onto your eyes. This, in turn, affects the way your brain decodes messages, as your brain is being made to believe that it’s already day and therefore it’s time to wake up. During sleep, the pineal gland in the brain synthesises and secretes a hormone called melatonin, which causes sleepiness and regulates sleep patterns and the pineal body does this in the dark; that is when minimal light energy falls on the retina of the eyes. However, when the TV or any other light-producing electronic device is on, it mimics sunlight and sends wrong signals to the brain; and that’s why we always advise people to put off the light as the last thing when going to bed. That way, your body gets the message that it’s time to sleep and it does so effortlessly.

2. Psychological issues

If you've done Number 1 and you still can't sleep effortlessly, then you may have difficulty falling asleep if you suffer from anxiety, depression, or chronic stress, experts say. A psychologist, Dr Kunle Olaosebikan, warns that most people suffering from anxiety disorder or depression will have trouble sleeping, as they keep thinking about their challenges. He notes that the sleeplessness could worsen their already bad symptoms. If you have emotional issues, seek professional help.

3. Smoking

When health professionals warn that smokers are likely to die young, the average smoker turns up the nose and wonders why he hasn’t died yet even when he smokes up to a pack per day. But then, the effects of nicotine, a confirmed stimulant, cannot be ignored. On the average, most smokers undergo
nicotine withdrawal as they sleep.
It is a simple process. Just as you can’t eat, drink or do anything while you are sleeping, in the same way, you can’t smoke while asleep (except you have serious issues). As such, it’s as if you are depriving your body of its regular supply of nicotine. Consequently, your body craves this stimulant; and since the brain regulates the sleep process, it is not unusual for your brain to wake up about 15 or 20 times in the night as a result of the unconscious craving.
And that’s why you see addicted smokers waking up in the night to get a fix. It's not just because they love to smoke under the moon, they have trouble falling asleep because their bodies crave for a smoke and they erroneously believe that the smoking will calm them. Of course, it does, but that is temporary, as the nicotine effect soon runs its course. That’s why it is important to quit smoking; and if you’ve not been smoking, don’t start.

4. Eating protein too close to bedtime.

Proteins have never been easy to digest by the body and unlike its carbohydrate cousins that get acted upon by digestive enzymes right from the mouth, protein digestion begins in the intestine where proteases are released by the pancreas to break them down to individual Amino acids and short peptides. Thus, Nutritionists contend that protein requires a lot of energy and time to digest, and when you eat protein-rich food very close to bedtime, it keeps your digestive system working while you’re trying to sleep. Somehow, sleep and protein don’t go together, it is therefore advised to eat light carbohydrates in the evening; and also avoid eating too close to bedtime. Eating protein too close to bedtime could trigger an 'episode' for those suffering from Irritable Bowel Disorder (IBS). Read more about IBS and it's symptoms here.
Other things that can prevent you from achieving sound sleep include too much caffeine consumption, sugary foods, late night alcohol consumption, and certain medications that can affect the sleep process.

5. Listening to Loud Music To Sleep.

While this may sound cool and is sure to make you fall asleep better, it's probably not the best way to sleep as loud music could disrupt your sleep. So turn down the volume of your headset or sound system for a better sleep experience.

Insomnia: Here's Why You're Having Trouble Falling Asleep At Night.
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Habits to help you sleep.

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1. Use the bedroom only for sleep and sex. Don’t work, watch TV, or use your computer or smart phone. The goal is to associate the bedroom with sleep and sex so that when you get in bed, your brain and body get a strong signal that it’s time to nod off or be romantic.

2. Get out of bed when you can’t sleep. Don’t try to force yourself to sleep. Get up, leave the bedroom, and do something relaxing, such as reading, drinking a warm cup of caffeine-free tea, taking a bath, or listening to soothing music. When you’re sleepy, go back to bed.

3. Move bedroom clocks out of view. You can use an alarm, but make sure you can’t see the time when you’re in bed.

4. Make your bedroom quiet, dark, cool. Noise, light, and heat can interfere with sleep.

5. Stick to a regular sleep schedule. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day, including weekends, even if you’re tired. This will help you get back in a regular sleep rhythm.

6. Avoid stimulating activity, stressful situations before bedtime. This includes vigorous exercise, big discussions or arguments; and TV, computer, or video game use.

7. Don’t read from a back-lit device (such as an iPad). If you use an eReader, opt for one that is not back-lit, i.e. one that requires an additional light source. OLED displays are probably the best in this aspect.

8. Limit caffeine, alcohol, nicotine. Stop drinking caffeinated beverages at least eight hours before bed. Avoid drinking alcohol in the evening, as it interferes with the quality of sleep. Quit smoking or avoid it at night, as nicotine is a stimulant.
Do all these and you should not have any trouble falling asleep. If insomnia persists after trying these, see your Doctor. Thanks for reading, join our newsletter to get latest updates delivered to your Email. Endeavour to share with your friends and share your thoughts in the comments below.


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