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Throwing away a Good Nights Sleep

Sleepless nights are often a contributory factor to fatigue and irritability. A good night’s sleep is essential for the repair and restoration of our body and mind. However, many a time, we unwittingly indulge in habits and activity during the day that thwart our attempts to fall asleep at night. Five things that interfere with a good night’s sleep are given below. Which of these are you guilty of?

Five likely causes of sleep deprivation are:

1. Overdosing on stimulants.
This is not so much about having a cup of coffee late in the evening or night, that could keep you awake. It is more about the amount of caffeine you consume during the day. You will either struggle going to sleep, or if you do manage to doze off, you will wake up soon enough to count sheep for the rest of the night. Consumption of beverages containing caffeine should be reduced during the day.

2. Starving or binging.
Overeating high-fat and high-carbohydrate foods late at night, or starving yourself in a bid to lose weight can both cause problems with sleep. Indigestion, flatulence, belching are some of the symptoms of overeating late in the evening. Hunger must be appeased, but at the same time, over-indulgence must be avoided.

3. Stress, anxiety, over-excitement, nervousness.
Engaging in a late-evening argument, reading a racy, pulse-pounding novel or trying to solve a very intricate brain-teaser or riddle at night can all over-stimulate your brain; so much so, you will find it hard to switch off and doze off. A raised adrenaline level is a common reason for overactive people having sleep problems.

4. Bright fluorescent lighting.
Melatonin is a hormone produced in the body during periods of darkness. Melatonin is what induces sleep. Exposing yourself to bright light suppresses melatonin, and shifts ‘circadian rhythms’ (biological cycles recurring at approximately 24-hour intervals). This is enough to ruin your sleep, or your sleep patterns.

5. A medical condition that either keeps you awake or disturbs your sleep pattern.
Certain medical conditions, such as a kidney disease, depression, hyperthyroidism, arthritis, can contribute to sleep disturbances. Having to wake up often at night to use the toilet, or waking up due to sleep apnea can also ruin your quality of sleep. Not treating these conditions, or at least alleviating their symptoms, will lead to sleepless nights.

There are, no doubt, dozens of other sleep-defeating factors that you may be overlooking in your life. Change in mattresses, uncomfortable room temperature or afternoon napping – it could be anything. Even the light from gadgets in your bedroom, like digital clocks, printers, laptops and cell phones, can be a hindrance. Those tiny shining beacons in the dark when all the lights have been switched off can become an eyesore when you are trying to sleep. Cover up any light. Taking remedial action to correct any other issue that may be ruining your sleep will bring you back your much-needed shut eye every night.

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