Our sleep is an essential part of our overall health and wellbeing. Getting a good quality rest on a daily basis should be one of our top priorities. But it is often neglected. Whether we’re glued to our phones or televisions, or simply seem to be a night owl, there are several reasons why we might not be getting enough rest. But what about when we’re making a genuine effort? What if, in spite of all our routines and good intentions, we are still waking up tired? There are a number of possible causes why we’re not sleeping well. The selection below are some of the most common yet overlooked complaints.
If you have ever had toothache or a painful dental procedure, you will know that uncomfortable teeth are impossible to ignore. What many of us don’t realise is that, depending on the way we sleep, a lot of pressure can be on our teeth and jaw at night. Many of us bite down hard as we relax or grind our teeth when we are in deep sleep. This can cause serious problems of erosion and enamel damage. It can also result in jaw tenderness, swelling, and headaches. Even if we are only doing it to a small degree, tooth grinding or TMJ, can still profoundly affect the quality of our sleep. Fortunately, from tooth guards to prescriptions, there is a variety of treatment for TMJ. If you live alone, it may be difficult to diagnose. But a dental professional can usually tell if we are grinding on a regular basis. Address this problem, and you may find yourself sleeping far more soundly.
Going to bed hungry is a sure-fire way to be awake all not. If we have not had sufficient nutrition, our body stays alert in the hope of finding nutrients. We may have been snacking, but unless we have met our calorie and nutritional goals we will still have a problem. If your lack of sleep is chronic, consider keeping a food diary. Try to identify if there are any patterns between what you eat and how well you sleep. A light but nutritious snack half an hour before bed, such as a glass of milk and banana can soothe our stomach and help us fall asleep. Be careful not to eat too heavily and suffer heartburn or indigestion though. Balance is key.
Many of us spend several hours a day on a screen of some sort. But did you know that blue light emitted by screens sends signals to our brain to stay awake? New research shows that spending time in front of the light of a screen before bed confuses our brain as to what time of day it is. Even if we are physically tired, we may still find it difficult to switch off because our brain has been overstimulated by screens. There are apps available to block the harmful blue light if you need to work late. But over the long term, it is better to limit your screen time and have a cut off point well before you begin your bedtime routine.