Think we can’t guess what’s keeping you awake at night? Don’t be so certain…
Everything from your age and gender to your toothpaste (yes, really) could be keeping you awake at night. Many of the factors right here are simply luck of the draw and part and parcel of being you. Yet some are well within your control, giving you the chance to improve your sleep with our help. So without further ado, here’s the bad news about why you’re losing sleep now and in future.
1. Your Age
If only sleep got easier with experience. But, alas, your sleep pattern worsens with age – partly because you produce less of the sleep hormone melatonin.
You could find it harder to nod off from as early as your mid-30s. And as you age, you’ll experience less non-REM sleep – meaning that you won’t sleep for as long or as deeply as you did in your younger years. Worse still, you’ll likely spend longer in bed, but less time sleeping. And you could wake as many as three or four times on an average night, costing you sleep. Oh the joy.
2. Your Genetics
If you have a mutation in your CYR1 gene, you’re more likely to stay up late into the night when you should be snoozing – making it harder for you to concentrate the next day. It produces a protein that makes you sleep and wake up – but if yours is producing too much, you’ll find it harder to sleep at a reasonable time and there’s not a great deal you can do about it.
3. Your gender
Ladies, you drew the short straw again, because studies show that you get less and poorer quality sleep than men. Not only do women take longer to drift off, but you wake up for longer in the night – says Kevin Morgan, the Director of Loughborough University’s Sleep Research Centre. Other studies claim that women multitask more than men, which supposedly explains why more active female minds need more sleep.
4. Your broken bed base
A broken slat in your wooden bed frame or a dent in your divan base could be robbing you of sleep. You won’t feel the full benefit of a great mattress when it’s not properly supported from below – because it’ll become lumpy and bumpy. So replace your bed base or frame when it’s past its prime.
5. Your weekend lie in’s
An extra few hours sleep on your days off has the effect of crossing a time zone, by throwing your circadian rhythm out of whack for the rest of the week. Stick to your normal sleep routine, every day of the week, to avoid social jet lag – which steals your sleep.
6. Your relationship status
Singletons, your lack of a love life could see you sleeping less than loved up couples. In a recent study, 67% of married people slept seven hours or more a night compared to 62% of unmarried folk and 56% of divorcees or widows.
University of Pittsburgh Psychology Professor Wendy Troxel went on to say that sleeping with your partner gives you a greater feeling of safety and security – reducing the amount of stress hormone cortisol. The less of that, the better you sleep. So as much as your other half may kick, steal your duvet or snore, cuddle them close tonight.
7. Your minty fresh toothpaste, tea or vitamins
Peppermint flavoured toothpaste or tea is great for keeping you alert and focussed, because it stimulates your brain. But peppermint is less great when it comes to switching off for the day and going to bed. Experiment with a different flavoured toothpaste or brush your teeth earlier in the evening to see whether you sleep better.
8. Your postcode
Live in Coventry, Belfast, Cambridge, York or Birmingham? Unlucky, because The Telegraph said that you get the least amount of sleep in the country – from as little as 5 hours 59 minutes to 6 hours 8 minutes. Meanwhile, the best rested folk are sleeping soundly, for an average of up to 7 hours 4 minutes, in Wrexham, Brighton, Aberdeen, Portsmouth and Sheffield. Now remember, Bed Guru deliver a great night’s sleep anywhere at home and abroad.
9. Your craving for citrus
Tempted to snack on oranges after dinner or drink a lemon-flavoured drink before bed? Heck, do you wash your bedding in lemon-scented powders? Think again. Citrus smells stimulate your brain and increase your energy levels, stealing your sleep.
And that’s not all. Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, consider taking your vitamins in the morning, rather than at night – because vitamins such as B12 and B6 boost your energy levels, making it harder for you to switch off and sleep.
10. Your cold water routine
Splashing your face with cold water may well be your nightly ritual. But it stimulates your body to release energy to keep warm and stay awake. So if you want an ideal night’s sleep, perhaps save it until morning.
Cover image copyright elhombredenegro licensed for use under Creative Commons.