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Tuesday, October 10, 2023

10 Things Keeping You Awake at Night (and What to Do About Them)

Photo by cottonbro studio from Pexels

Are you counting more sheep than there are in New Zealand? Tossing and turning so much you might as well be in a salsa dance-off? Then you probably aren't getting your beauty sleep and that is just not on! It’s also why, below, we’ll take a look at some of the biggest sleep-stealing culprits that might be causing those dark circles under your eyes, and what to do about them!

1. Tech Overload

Our screens, bless them, have become our confidants and companions. But that blue light they emit? It’s like an espresso shot for our brains, reducing the production of melatonin, our sleep hormone.

Fix it: Consider implementing a digital sunset. Switch off those gadgets an hour before bed. Or, if that sounds impossible, try blue-light blocking glasses.

2. Caffeine Conundrums

That afternoon pick-me-up coffee or cola might just be overstaying its welcome.

Fix it: Aim to have your last caffeinated drink by 2 PM. If you crave something warm in the evening, herbal teas or decaf are your best pals.

3. Ringing in the Ears and Other Nocturnal Noises

That constant ringing, buzzing, or hissing in your ears could be tinnitus and it could be keeping you up at night. It's like an uninvited guest that won't leave the party. And while the causes can vary, from exposure to loud noises to age-related hearing loss, it’s a genuine party pooper.

Fix it: While there's no one-size-fits-all solution, it is possible to manage tinnitus, and many find relief through white noise machines, hearing aids, or even tinnitus retraining therapy. Consulting with an audiologist can help pinpoint the right remedy for you.

4. Temperature Tumbles

Ever feel like your bedroom is mimicking the Sahara by night and the Arctic by morning? Temperature fluctuations can massively affect sleep quality.

Fix it: The ideal sleeping temperature for most people hovers around 65°F (18°C). Consider investing in a good fan, heater, or bedding that adjusts to your needs.

5. Midnight Munchies

Late-night snacking is like that cliffhanger at the end of a TV episode. It leaves your digestive system wanting more – activity, that is.

Fix it: If hunger strikes before bed, opt for a light, easy-to-digest snack. Think banana, a handful of almonds, or a small bowl of oatmeal.

6. Mind Gymnastics

Ah, the classic overthinking spiral, where you analyze every life decision since you were five, and it keeps you up well into the morning despite the fact you never came to any firm conclusions or lay any ghosts to rest.

Fix it: Meditation apps can guide your brain to a more restful place where you don’t worry so much and beauty sleep is easy to find. Alternatively, jotting down your thoughts in a journal can give them another place to live besides your brain.

7. Pillow Problems

Is your pillow older than your high school crush? Pillows, over time, lose their support and can become a breeding ground for allergens.

Fix it: Experts recommend changing your pillow every 1-2 years. Ensure you choose one that supports your neck and suits your sleep position.

8. Noise Nuisances

From rowdy neighbors to honking cars, unexpected noises can jerk you out of a peaceful slumber in an instant, which is never much fun.

Fix it: Earplugs, soundproofing, or white noise machines can help drown out those unwelcome sounds.

9. Hidden Health Hurdles

From restless leg syndrome to sleep apnea, many underlying health issues could be hijacking your zzz’s and making it impossible for you to get the rest you need for those very same health issues to boot!

Fix it: If you've tried multiple fixes and still find yourself wide-eyed at 3 AM, it might be time to consult with a sleep specialist.

10. Exercise Timing

It’s never bad to exercise for the good of your health, but it can be bad to exercise at certain times, especially if you are prone to insomnia. Ideally, if you want to get a good night’s rest, you should try not to exercise too close to lights out as it can get you hyped up instead of tiring you out, and you may find it hard to sleep as a result.

Fix it: if you can, try to hit the gym so you finish your workout at least 3 hours before your usual bedtime, This will give you time to wind down more fully each night.

There is often no easy answer to a sleepless night, but if you are suffering from any of these slumber-related issues, then try the fixes provided and you might be pleasantly surprised by just how much beauty sleep you can actually get!

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