What Could be Affecting Your Sleep?

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Who's got bad bedtime habits?

If you're struggling to get to sleep at the end of the day, it may be because of some bad habits, you've fallen into in that lead-up time to bedtime.  Just by changing a few small things, you can make a big difference to the onset of sleep.  And just about all of them are natural solutions.

TV and Screen time

You've recorded hours of your favourite TV show or the week's sport, and it's finally time to settle in and watch it all. Or, you have 50 messages on Facebook.  Or you just need to finish that last bit of work on the laptop.  Three hours whiz past, and you realise it's nearly midnight.

Watching too much TV or staring at your computer all night can influence your body clock.  It's a combination of the ongoing stimulation from what you are doing or watching, as well as the blue light emitted from the screen. Blue light sends a message directly to the part of your brain where melatonin is produced, telling your body it's time to wake up! Conversely, the body is not responding to other time- and environmental-based signals that it's time for sleep. 


Light has a significant impact on the production of melatonin (the sleepy hormone), low lighting or no light stimulates melatonin production, which makes us feel sleepy.  Try to set a limit to the amount of screen time you're getting at night, and turn off other electronics at least an hour before bedtime. Try to eliminate sources of light in your bedroom; block-out curtains the close all the way, an alarm clock that only shows when you push a button (or can be turned down to low light settings and even covered at night), portable phones on recharge in another room. Even consider an eyemask.  Lastly, you could also take a supplement which has natural melatonin to restart your body clock, without starting down the road of addictive sleeping pills.

Late-night exercising

Going to the gym after work doesn't disrupt your sleep schedule — in fact, daily exercise actually helps you sleep better. But exercising only a couple hours before you go to sleep can energize your body so much that it's hard to wind down. Try to finish up any rigorous exercise at least two hours before bedtime. Ideally exercise in the morning or late afternoon if possible.

Work stresses

Do you have an important deadline coming up or are you not meeting your budgets? Don't spend your nights stressing about it. If you find it hard to stop thinking of everything that's on your to-do list for tomorrow, start a relaxing pre-bedtime routine. This may include a warm bath or shower, meditation or breathing exercises, writing a list for the following day so it's all out of your mind, writing in your diary to download the day and clear some space for dreaming, having a warm drink or all of the above!  It's also a great idea to consider a vitamin supplement which contains Vitamin B (great for stress management) or get into the habit of taking your Sleep Drops or Essential Sleep Nutrients as part of your bedtime routine.

Heavy snacking

You ate an early dinner, and now can't even think about sleeping until you've sated your grumbling stomach. Just make sure you don't go overboard, since going to sleep on a full stomach can disrupt your sleep cycles.  Here are some healthy, low calorie bedtime snack options:

  • 1 cup of plain oatmeal with 1 sliced banana
  • 1 cup of Corn Flakes with 1 cup of fat-free skim milk
  • 1 banana with 1 tablespoon of creamy no salt peanut butter
  • 1 slice of whole wheat toast topped with 1 small slice of low-fat cheddar cheese
  • 1 rice cake topped with 1 tomato slice and 1 slice turkey breast

Bananas are basically a sleeping pill in a skin. They are rich in potassium which is an important mineral for deep sleep. They also contain tryptophan, which will help you drift into dreamland even quicker. Rich, spicy foods are best avoided in the evening or your digestion system will have to work overtime while you are sleeping, which could disturb your slumber. Of course, avoid coffee and other caffeine rich drinks too.


While alcohol can help you go to sleep faster, it will adversely affect the quality of your sleep. If you want to wake up feeling well rested the next day, skip the glass of wine and go for herbal tea as your nightcap.