Your sleep has a direct effect on your health!
Along with healthy food and exercise, good sleep is vital. You simply cannot enjoy good health without taking care of your sleep. An adult needs 7 to 8 hours of sound sleep each day.
If it’s hard for you to fall asleep or you wake up several times throughout the night, you are considered to have sleep difficulty.
According to the National Institute for Health, sleep disturbance can increase your risk for mental and physical health problems.
Sleep can also affect you mentally, increasing your risk of developing mental health issues like depression, anxiety, confusion, and frustration.
Not just that, poor sleep can increase your risk for accidents, affect your performance at work or school, and affect your ability to make sound judgments.
Several factors can affect your sleep, many of which you can control.
Here are 10 everyday things that may affect your sleep.
1. Room Temperature
The temperature of the bedroom in which you sleep can affect your sleep quality.
As the day ends, the core body temperature begins to drop, which signals the brain that it’s time to go to sleep. So, if you are sleeping in a room that is too warm, your core body temperature can actually increase, thus disturbing your sleep.
A 2008 study published in Brain: A Journal of Neurology indicates that very mild manipulations of room temperature can help in the management of disturbed sleep, especially in the elderly (1).
Try to keep the temperature of your bedroom cool to ensure a better quality of sleep.
2. Poor Mattress
The mattress that you are sleeping on can also have a huge impact on your sleep.
For instance, sleeping on secondhand or older beds can cause poor sleep due to their poor hygiene. Sleeping on such mattress can cause sleep disturbance, leaving you feeling tired and irritable upon waking up. A clean and hygienic mattress may be all you need.
Plus, the mattress should not be too hard or too soft. If you’re sleeping on a mattress that’s too soft, you’ll start to sink down to the bottom. On the other hand, sleeping on a mattress that’s too hard means you have too much pressure on the sacrum, which can give rise to body pain.
Clean your bedding and mattress on a regular basis, but also make sure to change your mattress about every 10 years.
Smoking is bad for your health. If you have the habit of lighting a cigarette just before bedtime, it can lead to poor sleep.
The nicotine in cigarettes is not just a depressant but also can be a stimulant, making it harder for you to fall asleep.
A 2006 study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology reports that cigarette smoking is associated with disturbances in overall sleep architecture (2).
A 2008 study by the American College of Chest Physicians found that cigarette smokers are four times as likely as nonsmokers to report feeling unrested after a night’s sleep. This happens due to the stimulating effects of nicotine (3).
Again, a 2014 study published in Chest reports that cigarette smoking may increase the severity of obstructive sleep apnea through alterations in sleep architecture, upper airway neuromuscular function, arousal mechanisms and upper airway inflammation (4).
4. Using a Cell Phone in Bed
Having a last look at your cell phone after going to bed is another very common factor that can cause sleep problems.
The light emanating from mobile phones affects your body’s circadian rhythm and stimulates the production of hormones that promote alertness.
Moreover, when your mind is on the cell phone, it stimulates brain activity, which also hinders sound sleep.
A 2011 study published in BMC Public states that sleep disorders, as well as the stress and symptoms of depression, were associated with high mobile phone usage. In this study, young adults (20 to 24 years old) were studied over the course of 1 year (5).
A 2017 review of several studies published in JMIR Mhealth Uhealth reports that the use of mobile phone interventions can help address sleep disorders and improve sleep quality (6). Furthermore, mobile phone intervention methods provide better sleep solutions as compared to other recognized treatments, such as cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia.
Avoid using mobile phones at night to enjoy sound sleep.
5. Cold Water Wash
Removing your makeup at night is a good habit. Many of us wash our face with cold water to help close the pores and get rid of makeup residue.
But washing your face with cold water can affect your sleep. Cold water stimulates the body, releasing energy to keep you warm and stay awake.
Hence, wash your face with lukewarm water in the evening. You can splash your face with cold water in the morning after waking up.
Also, if you like to take a shower before bed, be sure to use lukewarm water not cold water.
6. Late-Night Coffee
After having your dinner, do not pour yourself a cup of coffee. It can cause poor sleep.
The caffeine in coffee works as a stimulant and can result in increased alertness, which in turn can cause sleep disturbance and insomnia. Caffeine can interfere with normal REM sleep and make you feel even more tired.
A 2013 study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine reports that caffeine consumed 6 hours before bedtime has disruptive effects on sleep. The study emphasizes refraining from substantial caffeine use for a minimum of 6 hours prior to bedtime (7).
Enjoy your coffee during the daytime and avoid it before bedtime.
7. Peppermint-Flavored Toothpaste
Brushing your teeth before going to bed is good for your health. But using mint-flavored toothpaste can affect your sleep.
Peppermint oil gives you that cool, fresh and clean feeling, but it works as a stimulant that enhances alertness, decreases fatigue and stimulates the central nervous system. All these things make it difficult to actually shut down.
A 2005 study published in the International Journal of Psychophysiology suggests the scent of peppermint stimulates the brain, making you feel more awake (8).
Opt for an alternative flavored toothpaste or plain toothpaste to brush your teeth at night.
8. Sleeping with Pets
If you allow your pets in the bedroom, it can be the reason behind disrupted sleep.
While it is true that pets offer many physical and psychological health benefits, allowing them in your bedroom can affect your sleep. This is because sleeping habits of humans and pets are different.
In a 2002 study, Mayo Clinic researchers surveyed 300 patients and found that 53 percent of pet owners reported they had disrupted sleep every night (9).
To help you sleep better, keep your pets out of the bedroom.
9. Night-Shift Jobs
Working the night shift can also take a toll on your sleep quality. It can lead to lower levels of the feel-good hormone serotonin, leading to disturbed sleep patterns.
Plus, there is no guarantee that you will get the much-needed sleep during the day. There can be lots of distractions from things and people that need your attention. Additionally, the light and heat during the daytime make it hard for your brain to remain asleep for 8 hours.
Night-shift workers are also at increased risk for a variety of chronic illnesses, such as heart and gastrointestinal diseases.
Loneliness is another factor that causes sleep issues. Most people feel lonely because they’re mildly or moderately depressed. Plus, depression is both genetically influenced and associated with sleep issues.
Moreover, lonely people lack stimulation and often go to bed without feeling tired, which in turn leads to poor sleep.
A 2011 study published in Sleep reports that compromised sleep may be one pathway by which feelings of loneliness adversely affect our health (10).
A 2017 study published in Psychological Medicine reports that lonelier people were 24 percent more likely to feel tired and have difficulty concentrating during the day (11).