How To Solve The Biggest Problems With Sleep

Posted by Jack Grossman on Jan 23, 2014 11:45:00 AM
"Sleep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together." -Thomas Dekker

Both the cold weather and the limited amount of daylight can have significant impacts on restful sleep. During this time of year you must be mindful of the following mistakes you may already be making as you attempt to go to sleep.

Keeping the house too hot --> The optimal temperature range for sleeping is 68-72 degrees F.

Keeping the house too cold-->Your body temperature drops during sleep. There is no reason to make the room super cold.

Lack of light throughout the day--> Do not allow the lack of daylight to alter your sleep patterns.

Dietary changes--> As the weather gets colder, do not allow yourself to cheat more often on your dietary habits.

Lack of exercise--> It may be cold outside, but do not let that prevent you from exercising. Exercising during the day can help you fall asleep at night.

Over-sleeping on weekends --> You alter your sleep patterns when you oversleep, so do not sleep until noon.

Dry air--> Dry air can dry out your
nostrils, thus leading to snoring which means less sleep for you and your partner!

Cold and flu season--> People tend to get sick during the winter. That stuffed up nose will prevent you from getting restful sleep!

In regards to light, "Artificial light striking the retina between dusk and dawn exerts other physiological effects through sightless vision. It inhibits sleep-promoting neurons and activates arousal-promoting orexin neurons in the hypothalamus, and suppresses the nightly release of the soporific hormone melatonin. " - Dr. Charles Czeisler.

Orexin is a neurotransmitter; a chemical released between the neurons in your brain which evoke specific responses in your behavior. This specific chemical regulates your arousal, wakefulness and appetite. The reason that this chemical is so important to mention is because if you watch tv, use your tablet or your phone immediately before going to sleep, you cause your brain to release this chemical thus preventing yourself from going to sleep. Even though you may be able to eventually fall asleep after this chemical is released within your brain, your sleep will be less restorative as a result of its presence.

Think of Orexin as Will Smith in this image and Geoffery as yourself trying to sleep!

I believe, based upon my own experiences, it is safe to say that we all had nights in which it takes a long time to finally fall asleep. In addition, I think that most people, if they think back to what they were doing immediately before they attempted to sleep, were probably in the vicinity of an electronic device that would trigger their brain to inhibit the release of chemicals that are conducive to sleep.

For those of you on twitter, if you have any comments or questions that pertain to this specific article, any of our past articles, or you just want to share your sleep issues, go on twitter and hashtag #sleepmatters. We would love to hear from you - just do not do it before you go to sleep!

To read more about why sleep matters, visit our SleepMatters Blog, sponsored by Kensington Furniture and NBC40.

Topics: Sleep Matters