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Why is getting a good night’s sleep tough?

Although some people can fall asleep in mere minutes, that isn’t the case for a worryingly large number of adults around the world. If you struggle to get a good night’s sleep on a regular basis, you certainly are not alone.


People of any age can have an extremely busy life, meaning that getting to bed on time for the right amount of sleep is not always the priority. Despite sleep being so important for physical and mental health, the majority of people don’t get the advised 7 to 9 hours of sleep every day.


Here are some of the advantages of enjoying a good night’s sleep:

  • Increased alertness
  • Better decision-making capabilities
  • Protected immune system
  • Better heart health


Although our list of four advantages certainly isn’t exhaustive, the 4 benefits that we have mentioned are very important. You don’t want to be going about your day with an unprotected immune system or a lack of alertness.


Here are some of the downsides of not enjoying a good night’s sleep:

  • Increased chance of depression
  • Increased likelihood of obesity
  • Slower reaction times


Again, although this list isn’t all of the major negatives of sleep deficiency, all the downsides mentioned are major yet likely side-effects of not sleeping properly.


When you consider the advantages of sleeping well and the disadvantages of not doing so, frustration can arise when you feel as though you are doing everything possible to get to sleep and it just isn’t working. In this article, we look at why it is seemingly so tough to get to sleep on time and for long enough.


#1: We don’t stick to sleep schedules


It has been demonstrated that going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day – including on weekends! – can help you to sleep better. Therefore, this is one of the biggest reasons that a lot of people do not sleep well enough.


Our bodies have an internal clock, known as the circadian rhythm. Without going into too much detail, the circadian rhythm works best with regular sleep habits that you keep up. While one late night or morning might not throw it off, regularly waking up at different times can.


If you are struggling to get to sleep, sticking to the same routine is key. You might want that lie in at the weekend, but it isn’t worth disrupting your sleeping pattern for.


#2: Our exposure to blue light is too severe before bedtime


Although exposure to sunlight is good for your sleeping pattern and sunlight is the largest source of blue light, blue light is one of the biggest problems when it comes to getting to sleep on time for enough sleep. Blue light has been proven to regulate our circadian rhythms, telling us when we should be awake and when we shouldn’t.


As well as being found in sunlight, blue light is also found in devices with an LED display, such as the majority of smartphones, tablets, and televisions. The majority of us use one or multiple devices that emit blue light shortly before going to sleep, which is linked to being unable to get to sleep.


Let’s be honest: there is no chance of us all ditching the devices that emit blue light hours before we go to bed. However, even reducing our exposure can make a big difference to our sleep patterns. Here are some steps you can take to reduce your exposure to blue light before bed:

  • Do not use devices for as long
  • Make use of phone settings that reduce blue light
  • Turn off or stop using the device at least 30 minutes before bed


By following even one of the steps above, you will be reducing your exposure to blue light. Ultimately, this will result in a better night’s sleep for you.


#3: We consume too much caffeine and sugar-filled products


Although we all deserve a treat every now and then, if you are eating or drinking coffee, tea, or any other caffeinated products throughout the day or consuming a lot of high-sugar food and drink, your sleep will be impacted.


Research shows that even one cup of coffee 6 hours before bedtime can impact the quality of your sleep, which is a startling statistic. Consider how many products loaded with caffeine that you consume within the 6 hours before you try and go to sleep. If you are consuming any caffeine products at all during that time, there is a likelihood that your sleep will be affected.


As with caffeine, consuming products that contain a lot of sugar in the hours before you try and go to sleep can have an impact on how well you actually sleep. Although your body can burn through the energy provided by high sugar products relatively quickly, if you are having these products shortly before bed your sleep is certain to be negatively impacted.