Body & Fitness

Reasons you can’t sleep

There’s nothing worse than lying in bed unable to sleep, or waking up repeatedly through the night. Sometimes the reasons for sleep problems are obvious, but they may also be due to factors you haven’t considered.

  1. You’re too hot Being too warm can lead to broken sleep. For a good night’s sleep your body temperature needs to drop a few degrees and it can’t do this if your room is too warm. If it’s safe, leave a window open to allow airflow. Have several layers of bedding so you can shed them if you need to cool down.
  1. Your bed is not comfortableResearch shows if your bed is uncomfortable, you may be getting around an hour less sleep a night than people sleeping in comfy beds.

If your mattress is eight years old or older it may be providing less support than it once did. If it feels lumpy, saggy or you wake up aching it may be time to get a new one.

When you go shopping, make sure you lie down on the bed for at least 10 minutes to see how comfortable you feel. Don’t be too embarrassed to try rolling over onto your side or stomach if that’s how you sleep.

  1. You’re over stimulatedCaffeine, tobacco and other stimulants can upset sleep patterns by activating your central nervous system. If you’re a smoker, try not to light up for a few hours before you go to bed and don’t have a cigarette if you wake in the night.

Avoid caffeine for four to six hours before bedtime. As well  as coffee, avoid chocolate, tea and soft drinks. other things that can leave you over stimulated include watching the TV. Allow half an hour before bedtime to wind down. Switch off the TV, listen to some soothing music or have a warm bath.

  1. You’re stressedStress is one of the main causes of insomnia. one way of dealing with stress is to write down what’s troubling you before you go to bed, along with some possible ways of dealing with the issues. This gets the stressful thoughts out of your brain, and you know you can deal with them in the morning.

Health watch

  • Usually associated with raising blood pressure, salt is being investigated as a treatment for lowering it. US scientists are reseaching whether a compound found in natural salts may help to open up arteries and prevent them becoming clogged with cholesterol.

  • Doctors know resveratrol – a compound found in red wine – may have several health benefits, and now research suggests it may help halt the development of breast cancer, by blocking the growth effects of the hormone oestrogen. Resveratrol is also found in blueberries, cranberries, dark chocolate and peanuts.

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