If you’re constantly finding yourself waking up tired each morning, you're not alone! Research indicates that an estimated 33% of the general worldwide population suffer from insomnia. That’s roughly one in every three people affected by insomnia symptoms, the most common being sleeplessness and irritability.
Although getting less than 7-8 hours of shut-eye may seem insignificant, insomnia is “inextricably linked” to mental health and robs our brain of the opportunity to wash away any damaging toxins that have accumulated (due to the increase of cerebrospinal fluid) while we are awake.
Our increasingly hectic lifestyles are often blamed for insomnia, however it’s important to look at all of the possibilities. Surprisingly, the real cause and cure could be in our very own home!
1. Poor Sleep Habits
Our bodies have an internal clock and hormones that regulate the sleep and wake cycle naturally. Abnormal sleep patterns, irregular sleep and constant napping however, disrupt the cycle from working properly.
Create a regular sleep routine
Try sticking to a regular sleep schedule and head to bed at the same time every day, even on weekends! Relaxing pre-bedtime activities such as hot baths, warm drinks, meditation and yoga will also help you start winding down and signal tell your body that sleep is on the horizon.
2. Too Much Light
It's not just the TV that’s stealing your sleep; your laptop, tablet, phone and other electronics are guilty too! While checking emails and surfing the internet may seem harmless, the blue light emitted from digital screens can reduce your melatonin levels aka the “sleep-promoting hormone.” In addition, these activities keep your mind active and can induce unnecessary stress!
Avoid screens before bed
Turn off all your screens 1-2 hours prior to sleep. Placing them outside of the bedroom will also prevent you from reaching for them in the middle of the night!
According to psychotherapist and author of The Self-Aware Parent, Fran Walfish, sleep disruption is one of the first symptoms to emerge when experiencing stress. This is no surprise as worry and anxiety can keep our minds active all night long.
De-stress with a massage
A soothing massage before bedtime can make all the difference in mind, body and spirit. It helps your mind to relax and your body to release muscle tension as well as serotonin, which is essential for producing melatonin. Plus, who doesn’t like having a massage?
4. Unsuitable room temperature
Room temperature is an often overlooked cause of insomnia. A room that’s too hot prevents your body from reaching its optimal sleep temperature while a room that’s too cold can make your muscles contract thus preventing you from relaxing and falling into a deep sleep.
Adjust to the ideal room temperature
The National Sleep Foundation recommends that the ideal room temperature hovers between 15-22 degrees Celsius. Of course, if you're worried that your A/C will run up a hefty electricity bill, a fan alone can already make a room feel around 10 degrees cooler.
5. Bad Air Quality
Our bodies and skin naturally lose moisture during sleep. However, excessive dry air (often caused by air-conditioners) can exacerbate our allergies and cause colds by drying out the nasal passages. Furthermore, allergens such as bacteria are known to affect the nasal passage leaving us with congestion, sneezing and a runny nose that only worsens sleep.
Purify and humidify the air at home
The first step to cleaner air involves investing in a purifier. The uAlpine Smart Air Purifier is able to remove harmful air pollutants such as allergens, pollen and PM 2.5 particles to give you fresher, cleaner and healthier air at home. The second step is to improve humidity levels. Designed with ultrasonic technology, the uMist Dream Humidifier creates a hydrated indoor environment that’s ideal for a good night's sleep.
6. Dust Mite Allergies
Just because you can’t see them, it doesn’t mean dust mites aren’t disturbing your sleep. Thriving in warm, humid environments and hiding inside bedding, upholstered furniture and carpet, these little critters are known to trigger nasal congestion, sneezing, watery eyes and shortness of breath.
Clean your sheets regularly
Wash your blankets regularly and your sheets at least twice a month in hot water. If your pillows are washable, throw them in too! Otherwise, air-drying in the sun will help to kill any mites.
Save Your Sleep One Habit At A Time
Although there are more reasons to stay up late than ever before, preserving our bedtime is critical for preserving our overall health and wellbeing. Small changes can make a large difference and the sleep revolution starts from the place where you begin and end the day - your bed.