You have read all the information about ‘Sleep Hygiene’, you’ve stopped drinking caffeine after 2 pm, you’ve turned the computer off an hour before bedtime, but you still can not sleep properly. What is going on?
Here are three things that you may be doing that you think may help you sleep better but in fact can actually affect your sleep.
This is a surprising one as many people associate cigarettes with being a sedative and having a calming and relaxing affect on the body. When you are feeling uptight, then having a cigarette can help calm you. In actual fact although a cigarette can have a calming effect, nicotine is a stimulant and having a last cigarette before bed is actually putting a stimulant into your body. The more you smoke the stronger this affect is and may cause you to either have difficulties falling asleep or contribute towards a disturbed night’s sleep.
Is this another reason to help you kick the habit?
Yes, it does seem that I am giving all the guilty pleasures a bad rap, but alcohol is another offender too! A quick ‘nightcap’ before going to bed, may help you drop off to sleep, however the following processes that your body goes through to metabolize and clear the alcohol from your body is a withdrawal process. It is this process that causes you to wake in the night with the sweats and possible nightmares. If you want a drink, then make sure you allow time for the alcohol to metabolize before going to bed.
A strange one – any people find that the idea of having their pets sleep with them comforting and therefor a good thing to have around when going to sleep at night – a reassuring presence. First of all their movements on the bed can wake you, or contribute towards a light sleep. I remember my childhood pet cat being able to take up the entire space of a single bed by spreading out in his sleep. Remember cats and dogs do not think about sleeping considerately and allowing you space, unlike a human partner (then again….).
There is also the issues of allergies. You can be mildly allergic to animal hairs, which may not show up in the day time, when there is more ‘space’ between you, but when sharing the same sleeping space these can show up as coughs, running noses etc which will disturb your sleep.
Try banning your pet from the bedroom for a week and see if this improves your sleep.
Charlotte Welply is a life coach and speaker and specializes in insomnia and other sleep difficulties. Having overcome years of insomnia herself, Charlotte has developed a passion for helping others who suffer from sleep deprivation and the effects it has on the body and lifestyle. She enjoys working with her clients helping them to achieve their goals of a great night’s sleep. She is also able to combine her years of experience as a child carer and family worker with her life coaching skills and also works with parents in helping them to teach their children to sleep – ensuring a restful and restorative night’s sleep for all the family.
There are links on her website www.charlottewelply.com to free guided mediations and pamphlets to help you and your children sleep, as well as information on upcoming courses. You can also follow her on facebook https://www.facebook.com/charlottewelply and twitter @CharlotteWelply for tips, news and information about the world of sleep.