What’s really keeping you awake at night

By: Dr. Victor Marchione | Sleep | Saturday, June 20, 2015 - 11:52 AM

What really keeps you awake at nightYou toss, you turn, and you close your eyes for a moment only to be suddenly awake. Not getting proper sleep can ruin your energy, mess with your emotions and greatly impact your health. But you’ve tried everything to get to sleep and still can’t get the proper shut-eye your body needs. Maybe it’s time you target the cause of what’s keeping you awake rather than a means to fall asleep.

By recognizing habits that can keep you up at night you can have better success in having a good night’s rest. So if you partake in any of the habits below, it may be time to switch up your habits so you can get some sleep.

1. Smoking

quit smoking for better sleepIf you’re a smoker, you probably believe that smoking is a means of relaxation, but did you know it can wreck havoc on your sleep? I’m sure I don’t have to tell you all the reasons to quit, but if you value your sleep, listen up.

Smoking actually works as a stimulant and so if you already have insomnia, smoking isn’t helping much. Furthermore, if you’re taking action to quit smoking, nicotine withdrawal may have you waking up earlier than usual. But although you wake up earlier, you’ll have a much easier time falling asleep so the need to quit is much greater.

Although you should avoid smoking completely, if you are a smoker having a cigarette before bed isn’t advised.

2. Switching up your bathing routine

shower before bed could be hurting your sleepAre you a morning bather or an evening? The time of the day you usually wash yourself can affect your sleep. If you generally wake up and jump in the shower or bath then your body is accustomed to that routine. So if you decide to switch it up and bathe before bed, you could be hurting your sleep.

When you wake up and shower it can have an affect of waking you up which your brain gets used to. When you switch this up and then decide to shower at night your brain then gets mixed signals and tells the body to wake up.

Although bathing at night can be relaxing, if you’re more of a morning bather, stick with that routine so you can easily fall asleep at night.

3. Eating chocolate

chocolateEnjoying a piece of dark chocolate can be indulgent and be part of your relaxation, but that nightly bite can be keeping you awake. In fact, although healthy for you, dark chocolate contains more caffeine than the milk variety.

Not only does chocolate contain caffeine but it also contains a stimulant theobromine which can increase heart rate. So if you want to indulge in the dark stuff, keep it for earlier on in the day.


4. Medication use

medicationAs a senior you may have quite the list of medications you need to take for a variety of health concerns. But did you know that same medication which is helping your health is also keeping you up at night? It’s true and that’s why following the directions and taking the medication at the recommended time is highly important. Examples of medications known to make you lose sleep are antidepressants and some pain medications.

If you believe that it’s your medication keeping you awake speak with a doctor about how to take it and likewise they may be able to offer you an alternative.

Sleep is an integral part of overall health. Without it, or low-quality sleep, other health issues may arise or even worsen. So if you’re having a hard time getting some well-deserved shut-eye look at some of your daily habits as insight as to what’s really keeping you awake at night.


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