After a rather sleepless night earlier this week left me totally drained (and over-emotional!) the following day, I decided to do a little research into the science of sleep. According to the Sleep Health Foundation, about one in three people has some level of insomnia. Sleeplessness can be a pain (especially when you know you’ve got to be up and out early the next morning), but insomnia is more than just a mild annoyance. Insufficient sleep can contribute to serious health problems like depression, hypertension, diabetes, and even cancer. If you suffer from persistent insomnia, you should see a doctor for help. If you just have trouble sleeping from time to time, though, you may have fallen victim to one of these four strange causes of insomnia.
1.Brushing with mint flavour toothpaste
Brushing your teeth with strongly mint-flavoured toothpaste in the morning can give you the kick of energy you need to get the day started. Using the same toothpaste at night, however, could make it difficult for you to fall asleep. One study shows that people exposed to peppermint before bedtime stayed awake for 11 minutes longer than those who weren’t exposed to the smell. I watched a documentary on fitness ones, which showed how runner who ate mint while running carried on for much longer than those who didn’t. So I guess the energy-boosting properties of mint must have a negative effect on your sleep pattern too. Instead of using a minty toothpaste at night, choose an option that’s not as intense. Switching to a new toothpaste could help you fall asleep sooner.
Image credit – Steve Buissinne
2. Taking vitamins before bed
Taking a multivitamin helps ensure that your body gets the nutrition it needs to stay healthy. However, taking your vitamins before bedtime could make it hard for you to fall asleep. The problem becomes even worse when you take a B12 supplement. B12 is an essential vitamin that lets your body turn glucose into energy. If you take it before bedtime, you could find yourself feeling stimulated when you need to settle down. Instead of taking your supplements before bed, try taking them after breakfast or lunch. You’ll get a kick of energy when you need it instead of when you want to sleep.
3. Getting the temperature wrong
It’s nearly impossible for some people to sleep in an uncomfortable environment. Too much heat or humidity can keep you tossing and turning for hours. Lying on a sweat-dampened sheet doesn’t make it easy to get a full eight hours of uninterrupted rest. If your bedroom isn’t as comfortable as you’d like, you may want to get a dehumidifier, open a window, or get an air conditioner. If you already have these solutions in place, perhaps your air conditioner’s coils might need maintenance. It won’t be doing its job properly if its dirty so getting it cleaned could make a big difference to how quickly the room reaches the correct temperature, and how easily you can fall asleep.
4. Not eating breakfast
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for people who have difficulty sleeping at night. Most people eat within an hour of waking up. Eating breakfast establishes a wake-sleep cycle in your body. When you don’t eat, your body gets confused and may not want to sleep at the right time. Skipping breakfast can also trick your body into thinking you don’t have anything to eat. This situation causes your body to enter starvation mode. While in starvation mode, your glands will produce excessive stress hormones so you will have the energy to find food. If those hormones stay in your bloodstream long enough, you’ll have difficulty getting to sleep
What other things keep you up at night? Do you have any suggestions on how to overcome sleeplessness? I’d love to hear about it so please leave me a comment below and share your tips. Mild insomnia isn’t always a serious health issue. In some cases, you just need to make minor adjustments to your routines and environment to get back into a regular cycle of sleep again. Nighty night all!
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