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What keeps you from falling asleep early?

falling asleep early

All you need is a few hours of shut eye, but for some reason you can’t seem to fall asleep. Pushing way past mid-night, into the wee hours of the morning, sleep simply eludes you. An increasing number of people are prone to such insomniac tendencies.

Poor or inadequate sleep can negatively affect several aspects of your well being. It can disrupt a number of biological functions and have a detrimental effect on your mood, memory, capacity to learn and general emotions.

If you can’t seem to fall asleep before the first rays of dawn or find yourself waking up in the middle of the night, you may want to take a closer look at your daily routine.

Factors that negatively affect sleep

Negative fall Sleep

Too many day time naps

A lack of sleep during the night will inevitably keep you sluggish and drowsy through the day. This could lead to an increase in daytime napping. While quick power naps that last around 20 to 30 minutes have been linked to increase in alertness, sleeping any longer isn’t a good idea. Long periods of sleep through the day can lower sleep efficiency and disrupt your overall sleep cycle.  

Constantly looking at the time

You do not have to get rid of your wall clock; simply position it in a way that it stays out of your sight when you are in bed. Staring excessively at the clock can tick away on your stress levels – further reducing your ability to fall asleep. If you wake up in the middle of the night and take a peek at the time on your phone or the wall clock, falling back asleep may turn into a challenge.

Opting for stimulants later in the day

Caffeine, energy drinks, chocolates and sodas are a popular choice to combat fatigue and offer short bursts of energy. However they have a detrimental effect on your quality of sleep. Restrict the use of such stimulants post sun down. Alcohol and smoking also affect your sleep quality in a negative manner. Limit yourself to a single drink in the evenings, and avoid smoking 3 to 4 hours before going to bed.

Exposure to bright light at night

The human body produces melatonin in the absence of light – the hormone that induces sleep. Bright lights before bed time can lower the secretion of this hormone, keeping you awake longer. Lower your exposure to indoor lights, as you approach bed time. Bright lights in your bedroom or from your smartphone can have an adverse effect on both your quality and quantity of sleep. Since light has a direct relation to your circadian rhythm, it can trick you into staying awake.

Staying in bed even if you can’t sleep

If you find yourself unable to sleep at any time after midnight, do not stay tossing and turning until dawn. Instead, hop out of bed and engage in something that relaxes you. This could be listening to light music, indulging in some deep breathing or reading a book. Make a habit of crawling into bed only when you are certain that you need to sleep.

Tips to improve your daily sleep quality

Improve daily sleep

Take a closer look at your sleep environment

Everything from the temperature, the quality of your pillows and mattress, to the amount of white noise in your bedroom affects how you sleep.  

Maintain a schedule

The human body has its own internal body clock which governs our sleep pattern. By maintaining an organised routine, you can regulate your body clock to fall asleep and wake up at the same time, without the need of an alarm.

Use smart technology

Wearables such as a smartwatch come with dedicated sleep tracking to help you measure and optimise your daily sleep quality. You can find out the amount of time you were in light, deep and REM sleep, to better understand your sleep cycle.  

Practice deep breathing or yoga

Meditation and yoga involve deep breathing and subtle bodily movements, which can aid in releasing accumulated stress. A number of studies have highlighted the positive effects of such activities on your overall sleep.

Listen to some relaxing music

Music has a calming effect on the brain. Listening to some soft, meditative chants and hymns on your earbuds can be extremely conducive to inducing sleep.

Take a warm bath

A quick hot shower an hour or two before bed time, can put you in the ideal state to fall asleep. The change in temperature post a shower, can lower metabolic activity and trigger a drowsy feeling.

Follow these simple yet effective techniques and ensure that you wake up to a glorious sunrise every morning.