Modern life comes with many trials and tribulations. More than ever we’re straining to see screens, staying up later watching boxset, popping to cafes for mid-afternoon coffees and following the latest Silicon Valley trend which advises waking up three hours before everyone else. It seems that the last consideration many people make is whether or not they’re getting adequate sleep. In the never-ending quest for productivity, we overlook the most vital factor in maintaining good health.
Here we look at the factors affecting your sleep and why you’re so tired.
The crutch many people lean on to get through a day of fatigue, caffeine consumption is a vicious circle. You take it to wake you up, downing coffee after coffee throughout the day in an attempt to stave off the creeping tiredness. However, caffeine is an adenosine receptor antagonist, which means that it disrupts the production of adenosine, a substance that contributes to sleepiness. One study found that consuming caffeine within 6 hours of sleep reduces total sleep time by one hour. Caffeine consumption should be limited to morning consumption and kept as far from bedtime as possible to optimise sleep.
Blue light is everywhere. Your phone, your laptop, your television, pretty much every screen you’re looking at has some level of blue light. Blue light has been proven to limit the production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Lack of melatonin affects the length of time you spend asleep as well as the quality of the sleep you do get. Blue light limits your ability to go into REM sleep (the deep stages of sleep where dreams occur) which affects the restorative processes your brain undergoes during rest. Using blue light limiting settings on devices, blue light blocking glasses and limiting exposure in the hour before bed will help improve sleep.
During sleep, your brain attempts to recover from the work it has done throughout the day. It requires oxygen to undergo this restorative process, and clear nasal passages are essential. When you’re living with an allergy, you may experience restricted nasal breathing. Without taking an allergy test, you may not even know you have one. When breathing is limited, your brain doesn’t receive the amount of oxygen it needs to recover truly. Taking an allergy test can help you identify the substances you need to avoid to get a proper nights sleep.
It is not only blue light that affects sleep. Your body responds to any light as a notice that it is time to limit the production of hormones that promote sleep. When your body detects complete darkness, it causes a flood of sleep hormones to flow to the brain and push you into a sleep cycle. Using blackout blinds and switching off unnecessary lights in the hour before bed can have a significant impact on sleep quality.
With allergies having a significant impact on your ability to sleep, it is essential to take an allergy test. You can find an allergy test to suit your budget here.