1) Your drinking too much caffeine
People swear by caffeine to get through a tough and tiring day. What people forget, however, is that caffeine can seriously hinder sleep quality. The later on in the day you drink caffeine, the greater the likelihood of sleep disruption. However, a study from 2013 suggested that caffeine consumed up to 6 hours beforehand could reduce one’s total nightly sleep. According to one study, consuming caffeine 6 hours before bedtime reduced total sleep time by 1 hour. Remember, coffee isn’t the only culprit. Make sure you stay clear from those cups of tea and energy drinks.
2) You’re not doing enough in the day time
Ultimately, your body and mind needs to be tired in order to feel the need to sleep. If you’ve found yourself getting into a pattern of lazing around in the daytime, eating high carb foods and doing little exercise, there is no wonder you’re having trouble sleeping. Taking up some new hobbies, joining a gym and doing mentally stimulating activities can really help.
3) Alcohol and drugs
Although a famous “night cap” of brandy was once used to hit the hay, studies have proven that it’s actually disruptive to your sleep cycle. Experts say that alcohol increases the number of times you awaken in the later half of the night, when the alcohol’s relaxing effect wears off. Alcohol keeps you in the lighter stages of sleep and therefore it’s difficult to enter the REM and deep sleep that you need. Alcohol can supress breathing which causes people to feel panicked throughout the night. Likewise, stimulant drugs like MDMA are known to severely disrupt one’s sleep cycle because of its affect on one’s heart rate.
4) Your room’s a mess
A messy room equals a messy mind. It’s important to create a calming and relaxing setting for sleep, so clear away those essay notes and get rid of your dirty mugs.
5) You’re winding down in the wrong way
A typical night time wind down for a student is watching TV, eating snacks and scrolling endlessly through Instagram. Ideally, you should refrain from using your phone for at least an hour before bed and try and do something relaxing like reading or have a chat with someone. Likewise, try not to wind down in your bedroom because you want your bedroom to be associated with sleepy feels and non-bedroom environments to be used for awake feelings. So if you do want to watch TV or do work before bed, make sure it’s done in the living room.
6) You’re spending too much time in bed
Improving your sleep is all about sleeping efficiently which is calculated by the total sleep time divided by the total time spent in bed. It’s important to only go to bed once you’re actually tired and try to get up every morning at the same time. As your sleep efficiency improves you can let yourself stay in bed for longer.
7) There is too much on your mind
The time you spend in bed can often be the most time you spend feeling ‘alone’ throughout the whole day, so there is no wonder why people are often face ‘racing-minds’ in bed. It might be helpful to write down any anxieties or make a to do list before going to bed. Try and allow thoughts to come and go naturally. It sounds bizarre, but a technique that helps me is to imagine myself walking around a city I know which helps take my mind off every-day stresses. When you have a racing-mind you often develop a racing-heart beat. Taking deep-breaths and trying to control your breathing is important when this occurs