Most of us would love to get more sleep. Parenthood, careers, friendships and hobbies can all drain our energy quicker than we would like. The odd late night and the occasional interruption to our sleep patterns can take their toll too. But the truth is, we don’t always need more hours in bed. We simply need a better quality of sleep. In some cases, sleeping longer than we should can make us feel even more lethargic. So how do we find the right balance?
It’s really important to identify why you’re feeling more tired than usual. Sometimes there is an easy answer. The neighbor car alarm went off at two in the morning. Or maybe your toddler son had a nightmare? Heavy rain or windy weather can also wake you in the night. But did you know that your home may be responsible for your sleep problems too? Difficulty getting to sleep and trouble staying asleep can be caused by many things. This is why your first challenge is to find out the reason why.
Trouble Dropping Off
There are many reasons why it can sometimes be a struggle to drop off to sleep. Your hormones and brain chemicals need to go through a change to enable you to fall asleep. Many things can inhibit this natural reaction. In your home, you may find there are plenty of distractions too. The screens from smartphones and tablets emit a blueish light. This can prevent the necessary reaction in your brain for falling asleep.
TVs can also be distracting. Many of us like to fall asleep to a little background noise. But many shows have peaks in sound, dialog, and music that can stimulate the mind to wake up at just the wrong moment! The flashing light from the screen may also prove distracting. Hums from tech, bright light bulbs, and even the whirr of the air-con can all busy our minds more than we would like.
It’s not just our tech we need to worry about. Dust in the home can trigger asthma and allergies that we feel more in a lying down position than when upright. A busy mind could be a symptom of a stressful day approaching, or a sign that you didn’t resolve some problems earlier. Too much energy from late night snacks or a lack of exercise during the day can also make it tricky to drop off. You need a good bedtime routine to help you overcome these problems.
Start with a set bedtime. Try to stick to it as much as you can. If life is likely to be hectic tomorrow, spend a few minutes before bedtime preparing for it. That way you can rest and be ready for what may come in the morning instead of worrying about it tonight. It’s important to eat a good meal, so you don’t feel hungry or have a dip in your blood sugar during the night. However, you should ideally finish eating and drinking at least 90 minutes before your bedtime. Avoid caffeine after work too. Have a warm bubble bath to help tell your body it’s time to relax, ready for bed. Dim the lights and avoid using any screens. Reading a book can help your mind switch off from the busy day. Now close your eyes, and drift off to sleep.
Trouble Staying Asleep
One reason why we sometimes wake in the night is that we are uncomfortable. A good quality bed is essential. After all, quality sleep refreshes and rejuvenates us. An interrupted night makes us lethargic, grumpy, unfocused and achy. Everybody is different, and we all require different things from our beds. Try to see Best Beds Boutique and other reviewers to get a rounded view of the mattresses that are available. If you share a bed, you will need support on both sides that won’t affect the other.
Sleep apnea is a very common and potentially dangerous condition. Snoring is often a sign that someone is suffering from this. It doesn’t just disrupt your sleeping partner’s sleep, but will prevent the snorer sleeping well. Another symptom is falling asleep during the day. If you think you suffer from sleep apnea, speak with your doctor. It can often be caused by a soft palette problem. Some sufferers find it is less of a problem when they change the humidity of the room. If your room is too dry, dusty, or too damp, you may still suffer interruptions to your breathing patterns.
Noises in the night will also wake any mother. Even when our kids are older, you’re always on high alert for the sound of a little one moving about in the night. Of course, this may leave you prone to waking up for every little noise that occurs. Creaky floorboards, pests in the loft, humming electrical items, or even just the sound of the rain could disturb your sleep. If your room won’t become stuffy, why not close your door? Shut the windows to block out outdoor noises too. Switch off everything that isn’t essential, and shut the door to the kitchen so the fridge won’t bother you.
If your room faces the street, it is worth investing in blackout blinds to eliminate the lights from passing vehicles too. A carpet will dampen the sounds from downstairs if others in the house stay up later than you. And a good service for your air-con unit may help silence the fan too. Eco-flush toilets use less water so tend to be quieter. Soft colors and lavender scents in your bedroom can also help you to relax and stay relaxed all night long.
Tired In The Day
Your home may also be partly responsible for that lack of energy you might be feeling from time to time. Fresh air and exercise give us a boost for an hour or so. But when you’re sat at home, you might feel a little weary again. Keep the air fresh in your home by opening the windows daily. Lighter, brighter colors in your decor can also help you feel a little more energized. Try to make space in your living room for a workout mat. Sometimes just getting up off the sofa for a few stretches or breathing exercises can really help.
Housework can be physically demanding at times. If your home seems to get dirty or untidy more often than you can cope with, consider setting up a few cleaning routines. These should be shared among everyone living there. Even the little ones can help a little.
Find ways to manage the workload without tiring yourself out completely. This isn’t always easy to do, so making it routine will help. Create a list of daily tasks and weekly tasks. Group them together to maximize your time. Just ten to fifteen minutes a day should be enough to tackle things without exhausting yourself.
Work can be hard to focus on when you’re feeling tired. Try to keep lists of the tasks that need doing. It will save you from having to memorize things as they come in. A list will help you identify where your time and energy is best spent too. Use your break times to get fresh air, move around, and energize yourself.
It’s tempting to eat a lot more when we’re tired, but this could end up slowing you down. If you’re craving sweet things, go for fruits. If you’re desperate for fizzy drinks, try a sparkling water. Your body will thank you, and you’ll feel more refreshed than reaching for the less healthy options. Use your time at home to prepare lots of pots of healthy vegetable, fruit and nut snacks. Pop them in the fridge to take to work each day.
Hazards In The Home
There are many common problems in the home that can affect your sleep. They may even be hazardous. While dust may block our sinuses and cause that irritating tickle in the throat, damp can be far more harmful. Sniffling and coughing at night disrupts sleep for a lot of people. But mold spores from damp can cause infections and more severe breathing problems day and night.
If you struggle with mildew in your home, you may already have a developing mold problem. Bleach can help reduce the problem. You may also need to target the cause of the damp. Poor ventilation and leaks from the roof or pipework are common causes. Rising or penetrative damp may need to be addressed by a qualified builder.
Pest controllers often hear tales from homeowners of sleepless nights listening to the scurrying of tiny feet. If you think you may have an infestation, don’t suffer any more sleepless nights. Ask a professional pest controller to seek out the disturbance and remove it once and for all. Your sleep is very valuable to you and your entire family.
Sadly, our homes are often homes to lots of other unwanted residents. Walls, floors, ceilings, vents and attics provide them shelter and warmth. Check with your local builder to see how to ensure your home remains well ventilated without letting unwanted guests in. Sleep well.