If you are reading this it is probably because you have found yourself tossing and turning during the night, asking yourself why you can´t sleep. You are not alone: everyone experiences periods of sleeplessness at least once in their life, it becomes problematic when the sleepless nights exceed the nights where you enjoy a restful slumber.
Studies have shown that the prevalence of insomnia disorder ranges from 12% to 20%. The prevalence of insomnia is a significant 30% to 48% higher in older individuals than in the younger population.
Sleep deprivation ca have a huge impact on your immune system, work productivity, mental well-being as well as your happiness levels. If you would like to learn more about how sleep and happiness are intimately linked, we recommend you take a look at the next blog: How Sleep affects your Happiness
Below we will analyze some of the reasons that may be stealing your sleep without you realizing it (and the natural ways to combat them!):
1. Light pollution: blue light from our devices
Light pollution is the excessive and obtrusive artificial light that usually enters our room from the street lights. The blue light is the one coming from your own devices, such as your laptop or the smartphone you hold each night to read news and check social media in bed.
Did you know blue light affects the quality of your sleep by suppressing the melatonin in your body? Researchers at the University of Tuebingen, in Germany, proved that blue light used before bedtime disrupts circadian rhythm by suppressing melatonin.
Melatonin, known as the "sleep hormone” is a key factor in the quality of your sleep. It controls and regulates our circadian rhythm, helping us to have healthy sleep. The level of this hormone increases with darkness and decreases with the light. That is why it is important to prepare your room to ensure it is suitably dark environment at bedtime.
Ways to combat light blue pollution:
- Challenge yourself to cut down on screen time 2 hours before bed. Find calming free-screen activities, such as reading, taking a relaxing bath or playing a meditation podcast.
- If you read online, try to use devices that reduce the light blue, such as the Kindle Paper-white
- Don't use your smartphone as an alarm and set the old fashioned alarm clock on your bed table. This will avoid blue light and radiation!
- Use Sleep Masks: We can control our devices but not your partners ones, or his/her schedule. Besides, sometimes the light pollution comes from outside. In these cases, the Kocoono™ Eye Mask is the ideal companion! Eye Masks allow your body to enter deeper sleep.
2. Anxiety and Stress
Research published by ScienceDirect has found that there is a bidirectional relationship between anxiety and insomnia. This means that anxiety can disrupt your sleep, and at the same time sleep problems can cause anxiety. It is a vicious cycle that we can prevent with techniques to reduce racing thoughts.
Techniques to combat anxiety and stress naturally:
Identify what makes you feel anxious. The Kocoono™ Wellness Toolkit has an exercise called "Automatic Thoughts" that help you to list, and work to resolve what causes your stress, anxiety or worry. Then, you're invited to list your negative thoughts and challenge them by putting something more reality-based and positive in its place.
Release what is on your mind and put it down on paper. If you spend time in bed mentally doing so many tasks (like for example, errands to do for the next day or professional goals to achieve), the brain dump is a great exercise for you! You can find this tool in the Kocoono Wellness Toolkit. It will give you mental space to reach the calm you need to fall asleep.
Chunk your goals into manageable tasks: Once you have let your thoughts out during a Brain Dump, rather than being overwhelmed, assess your goals for the next week, month, 6 months, and year. Break your goals down into a weekly planner into easy and manageable tasks.Shut down before bed: Create a good sleep routine (e.g. use aromatherapy, a warm glass of milk, turn the lights down low, or have relaxing bath before bed) to trigger your body into knowing this is what happens when its time for bed. You can complement these routines with an extra shot of natural relaxation in your body with the help of calming blankets. They activate your Parasympathetic Nervous System with Pressure Therapy. To learn more about how calming blankets fight anxiety and provide a calming feeling to the body, we recommend you have a look at Deep Touch Pressure therapy: Why you should try its benefits in 2021?
3. Inadequate diet before going to bed
Specific food can cause difficulties to sleep, and we are not just talking about coffee and tea! The sugary treats such as biscuits often eaten before bed don't help. Neither does heavy dinners high in carbohydrates. These foods decrease our levels of magnesium, a vital mineral needed to ensure quality sleep.
Tips to keep a sleep-friendly diet before bed:
- Avoid eating late at night: Experts recommend waiting at least three hours after you've eaten to go to bed.
- Avoid stimulants, such as sugars or caffeine, as they will keep you up at night.
- Eat sleep-friendly snacks before sleeping. Going to bed on an empty stomach drops blood sugar levels and interferes with the body’s ability to sleep well. Go for "sleep-friendly snacks” that activates your magnesium and melatonin levels and help you sleep. Below, we share a video about the “Top 7 Foods to Eat Before Bed to Sleep Better” from NestedTV (some of the snacks surprise you!) 👇
4. Poor Sleep Hygiene
Sometimes insomnia comes from poor Sleep Hygiene. Sleep Hygiene is a series of practices, rituals and routines that enable you to have quality sleep. We all need to have relaxing routines associated with our preparedness to sleep and try to do them at the same time every day. We all know the importance of children's bedtime routines but we forget about them ourselves as adults!
- Follow a few basic sleep hygiene strategies by reading our blog: Sleep Hygiene: 5 Practices to improve your sleep
- Incorporate bedtime routines that allow your brain to make the association that you are ready to sleep. You can use something that you usually did when you were a child before going to bed, such as having a warm glass of milk. Here are some examples below:
- Use the Brain Dump Exercise to take your thoughts out of your mind and onto paper where you can deal with them the following day
- Listen to relaxing music
- Eat a light sleep-friendly snack
- Read in bed
- Have a bath
- Light a candle with scents with relaxing properties such as lavender
- Turn off all electronic devices
- Turn the lights down low/replace the main light with a soft lamp
5. Health conditions:
Apart from the causes we have outlined above, there are some health conditions that affect sleep and we will refer to one by one in upcoming Blogs. Some of these are restless leg syndrome, fibromyalgia, sensory processing disorders, autism and Alzheimer's
Naturally combat the effects that these conditions have on your sleep:
- Follow good sleep hygiene practices
- Incorporate bedtime routines
- Practice regular physical activity
- Complete the sleep hygiene practices with the positive impact of Kocoono ™ Weighted Blankets that provide you with Deep Touch Pressure allowing your body to instantaneously relax. Learn more about how Deep Touch pressure Therapy can help you for these conditions.
The calming effects are even deeper with our Luxe version thanks to its exclusive shoulder embrace that cocoon you into a deep sleep applying Deep Touch Pressure Therapy from the top of your body!
Are you experiencing another health condition not listed here that is robbing you of a good nights sleep?
Do you feel especially interested in any of these topics and would you like us to look at them on a deeper level? Would you like to know more about how to deal with stress, anxiety, or any other problem? Do you have any sleep routine that you want to share with us? Please, feel free to comment below or contact us and we will be sure to take your suggestions into consideration for upcoming blog posts.