Over and over and over and over… How heavy those countless turns in bed can be when we can’t fall asleep. Not even 300 sheep together can make us fall into the arms of Morpheus. Although insomnia can become a serious problem for a large part of the population, often the culprits are bad habits that we repeat and that we can easily correct.
In this article, the experts explain what are the most common mistakes we make and that prevent us from sleeping well.
First of all, a factor to which we must pay attention is alcohol. “It has a misleading effect for rest because its sedative effect makes us fall asleep earlier. However, it produces frequent awakenings and superficial sleep, so this will be of poor quality and not very refreshing”, underline our experts.
In addition, “the sedative effect of alcohol is more intense when the concentration of alcohol in the blood is falling, after 90 minutes”, although remember: although we fall asleep faster, it will be of poorer quality.
2- Dinner !! As it should be?
Food is often responsible for our eyes wide open at night in bed. For this reason, it is always good to remember some nutritional advice. In general, the Mediterranean diet promotes good quality sleep.
“The recommendation is that dinners be light and, if possible, 3 hours before going to bed. It is better to avoid carbohydrates and fats, as well as to minimize the consumption of salt before going to sleep”, the experts detail.
Regarding why it is not convenient to have dinner immediately before going to sleep, the key is in digestion. In this sense, rest is a time when our body needs rest and when the heart rate and blood pressure decrease. However, for digestion an overexertion is made and, if the intestine is very active, it is more difficult to sleep.
experts clarify that nutrients are not metabolized the same at night as during the day. “Other problems are added such as heartburn or gastric reflux due to the fact of lying down with a full stomach,” they indicate.
What to do if we feel hungry just before bed?
Experts point out that eating immediately before sleeping should be avoided, although, in case of snacking, it should be light and healthy, such as a glass of milk, natural yogurt, a piece of fruit or a handful of fruit dry.
Experts suggest that, to avoid going to the fridge at that time, “it can help not to have snacks at home, go to bed early or even carry out measures such as brushing your teeth early, something that reduces the temptation to return to eat”.
3- What environmental conditions impair our sleep?
Maintaining sleep is complicated when environmental conditions are not ideal. High temperatures, ambient light or noise are different causes that can interrupt our rest. “It is recommended to sleep at a temperature around 19 degrees, in the dark and ensure that there is minimal noise at home. In case there is one on the street or in the building, you can choose the room farthest from it”, point out the experts.
Be careful with the use of very intense lights
The screens inhibit the release of melatonin, which is the hormone that induces sleep, so “we should limit them after dinner,” experts suggest.
They also emphasize that “the use of mobile devices with access to news or social networks keeps us in a state of hyperactivity that prevents the relaxation and disconnection necessary to initiate sleep.”
4- Avoid sleeping with worries
Going to bed with worries is another very common factor that prevents us from sleeping well. For this reason, specialists advise abandoning all potentially stressful stimuli after a certain time in the afternoon.
“We have to try to reduce activation to favor the transition to sleep, something that relaxes us and that our body associates with sleep, such as taking a warm shower, reading a book or listening to relaxing music before bed,” the experts point out.
Experts also state that there are different relaxation techniques or activities that induce a more relaxed state, such as the practice of sports activities or yoga: “All of them have the same objective, to work on reducing psychophysiological tension in order to since facing sleep from a relaxed position with a lower level of activation”.
5- This is how tobacco affects our sleep
It has been proven that nicotine and other substances that tobacco contains are a stimulant for the brain that makes it difficult to fall asleep, in addition to altering its different phases for proper rest. “In general, it makes us take longer to fall asleep, wake up earlier and have poorer quality sleep,” the experts point out.