Having trouble sleeping? New research suggests it could be down to your smartphone! Find out how plus 10 other things that could be stopping you sleeping
It feels like we all struggle to get the amount of sleep we really need. Each morning is met with yawns and bleary eyes, and despite our best intentions to get to bed early and have a good kip, we still end up feeling knackered the next day. But could the problem behind our lack of shut-eye be staring us in the face?
There are many reasons why we could have trouble drifting off, and then staying asleep, but researchers have discovered our smartphones and tablets could be one of the major causes. It’s thought that the blue light they emit could be disrupting the body’s natural processes – and, let’s be honest, many of us are guilty of phone-watching right up until we shut our eyes.
Professor Richard Wiseman says that the recent survey’s results are ‘catastrophic in terms of sleeplessness’ and that although eight-and-a-half hours are recommended for an adult, two thirds of the population are now getting less than seven hours sleep a night (classified as sleep deprived) – up 20% from last year.
It’s thought that the light coming from phones, computers and tablets could be playing havoc with our sleep because it suppresses the sleep hormone melatonin, which is essential for drifting off to sleep.
Click through our gallery of 10 other things that could be stopping you sleeping and reclaim your shut-eye!
While having a nightcap might help you to fall asleep, any more than this might actually hinder it. You might find that you wake easier, and need to take a trip to the toilet during the night. You should find you get a better quality of sleep alco-free.
Although it might sound obvious, light sources in your room, like computer screens, televisions, flashing phone chargers etc, will all confuse your internal clock. Make sure all light sources are switched off, or removed from the room.
You might want to invest in some black-out blinds too if you find that the light from your windows still gets through your curtains.
When we sleep, our body temperature drops and the blood vessels in our hands, feet and face open up to release heat, but if our room is too hot, or our duvet is too warm, we struggle to cool down and nod off.
If you often find you are too hot in the night, have a think about how you can keep the temperature in your room to a minimum. Think about the times your central heating is on and if it could be interfering with your sleeping. And if your bed is close to the radiator in your room, try and move things around to make sure you’re not getting overheated.
If you’re taking any perscribed medicines, have you ever stopped to check the side effects? Certain drugs can cause insomnia, including anti-depressants, heart and blood pressure regulating drugs, and even allergy medicine.
If you’re unsure whether your medication could be stopping you sleeping, speak to your GP or pharmacist.
Lots of people watch TV whilst in bed. But not only will the light confuse your body clock, it will stimulate the brain and keep you awake for longer.
Reading a book or magazine to help you nod off is a much wiser move!
Do you have a regular bedtime routine? No? Well this could be the route
of your sleeping problems. Much like when we’re babies, getting yourself
into a habitual sleep routine where you go to bed around the same time
every night will help your body to know when it’s time for bed and begin
to wind down. Also, try to fit in some real relaxing time before you go
to sleep, rather than running around doing chores and looking after
everyone else until you put your pyjamas on.
Anyone who has pets is guilty of this one from time to time, but if you’re sharing your bed with an animal (or a very fidgety partner for that matter!) regularly, this could be disturbing your sleep.
Keep the dog bed for the dog, and your bed for you!
Could your mattress be the problem? The right mattress for you is totally down to personal choice, and nothing but experience can help you here. Soft or firm, springs or memory foam, you’ll have to give them a try.
Generally, a mattress starts to lose its effectiveness after about 7 years, so if you’ve had yours for longer and you find yourself stiff in the mornings, you could be due a change.
Read our 10 ways to find your perfect bed
Like mattresses, pillows don’t last forever! Synthetic pillows will last
around 2-3 years, whereas natural pillows will last for 5-7 years
before they start losing their support and comfort.
guilty of owning a pillow that looks a little bit past its best. If your
pillows are slowly turning a shade of yellow, think how long you’ve had
them for and whether they could be due a replacement.