It’s not just you. So many people find it difficult to catch some sleep. I mean good sleep, not just keeping your head down for a few minutes and your eyes are open. So how do you know what is depriving you of sleep? Don’t think you’re the only one that is sleep deprived.
Studies show that 30 percent of all male American workers get less than six hours of sleep nightly, according to a study from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, a division of the CDC. Most men need eight hours of sleep, so why are so many guys sucking it up and pushing through on unhealthy amounts of shut-eye?
According to David Sack, M.D., addiction psychiatrist and CEO of Promises Treatment Centers in Malibu and Los Angeles, “Our society doesn’t value sleep—it’s thought of as unproductive or wasteful,” He further adds, “One of the best things a man can do to promote health and well-being is to recognize sleep is an important part of his overall health package, and schedule it in if he must.”
It is also possible that you go to bed early with the best of intentions but some seemingly harmless habits may be destroying your sleep cycle. Check out these top five reasons why you don’t usually fall asleep or at least sleep well through the night even when you fall asleep early enough.
1. You Train Too Late In the Day
Do you make this mistake? According to Men’s Journal, pumping iron or hitting the treadmill raises dopamine levels (those feel-good neurotransmitters). That’s usually a good thing—unless you plan on getting some shuteye in the next hour or two. Besides being linked with pleasure, dopamine is also connected with sleep saboteurs such as movement and attention. According to David Sack, M.D., addiction psychiatrist, “Exercise close to bedtime can make it harder to sleep, because it can make you overly alert,” confirms Sack.
2. You Drink Too Much Caffeine
You need to watch this if you make such mistake. While the stimulating power of caffeine is great first thing in the morning or before a workout, it can make it tough to doze off if you’re having it too late in the day, such as after 2 p.m. “Many people may be ingesting a lot more than they realize, because it’s in a lot of things besides coffee,” says Sack. Check the labels of your energy or sports drink or other supplements, such as Hydroxycut, to see if it contains the potentially sleep-wrecking ingredient.
It’s not just drinks that contain caffeine. Weight-loss drugs, including inula racemosa, may contain caffeine. Other supplements, including Glycine Propionyl and L-Carnitine, may be associated with sleeplessness. Green tea (and most other kinds of tea) also contain caffeine, so be careful if you’re drinking it or taking it as a supplement. Always read the label first and discuss supplementation with your doctor.
3. You Won’t Put Your Phone Down
There are people who let their handsets take their sleep away from them probably as a habit. It’s easier than ever to check email at all times of the day and night, and chances are you sleep with your smartphone within arm’s reach of your bed. Simply having those communication devices nearby can lead to tossing and turning.
According to Sack, “Doing work late at night can get you revved up.” “You may get a second wind and start getting excited or stressed about tomorrow’s work. This only makes it harder for you to shut your brain off come bed time.”
You need to set limits on checking e-mail, such as powering down your devices two hours before bedtime. Disconnecting will help your brain relax so you’ll fall asleep faster.
4. You Watch Too Much Television
The bright light from TV, video games, or iPads can trick your body into thinking that it’s morning rather than bedtime. “Lights signal to our brain that it’s time to wake up, so if you’re watching TV close to bedtime, it may disrupt your sleep,” says Phyllis Zee, M.D., director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago.
Move the TV out of the bedroom so you’re not tempted to tune in. “You want to associate your bed with two things: sleep and sex,” says Dr. Sacks. “It’s easier to fall asleep when you link lying down in bed with sleeping, and nothing else,” he explains. Alternatively, take advantage of apps like f.Lux or the iPhone’s “Night Shift” feature, which makes the screen light redder to help you fall asleep faster.
5. You Drink Too Much Alcohol
Some people use alcohol to relax and maybe even help doze off but it only takes small amounts of booze to interfere with a nomal sleep cycle.
Sack says “If you have a beer or cocktail before bed, it may make you fall asleep more easily, but you’re more likely to wake up during the night.” For a more restful night, stick to one or two drinks and have your last drink at least two hours before bedtime.