Waking Up Feeling Exhausted? This Could Be Why

Getting enough shut eye will do more than just keep you going for the day. Sufficient sleep is a cornerstone of good health and ensuring that you take enough time out to rest and recuperate can have you feeling all the stronger down the line. Sometimes, however, you might be hit by a sudden wave of exhaustion out of nowhere. Feeling more tired at certain times is usually nothing to be alarmed about and if you lead an otherwise healthy lifestyle, it could be simply about changing a few simple things. These everyday factors could have you feeling more tired than you really are and by tackling them head on, you will feel all the better in the long run.

Your Room Is Too Dark

Winter mornings can make for a hard adjustment. As well as being colder and generally more gloomy, these kinds of days are a whole lot darker than you might be used to, making waking up earlier that much more of a struggle. Darkness can make it hard to feel alert in the morning, so it’s worth giving yourself as much help as possible on this front. If your bedroom is too dark, even after you’ve lifted the blinds, it’s worth going that extra step to bring in a little illumination. Investing in a sunlight simulating light bulb or alarm clock will help to regulate your body clock, making it easier for you to wake up in the morning.

You’re Up Too Late

As simple as it might sound, staying up late can really take a toll on how you feel the next day. While having a late night every now and then is something that you can bounce back from, a consistent lack of sleep will seriously grind you down, leaving you feeling completely exhausted. If things are piling up on you, make it an effort to get to bed earlier every night. Dedicating an hour or two to relaxation will help you to switch off in the evening, helping you to get a more restful night’s sleep.

You’re Stressed Out

Going to bed when you’re overstressed is a sure fire way to way up feeling more exhausted than when you went to bed. Thinking too much about stressful situations will make it harder for you to fall asleep and will increase your chances of waking up during the night. If you have something on your mind, try writing it down or clearing your thoughts with a little mindful meditation. Going to bed in as relaxed a state as possible will only help you to sleep a little easier.

You’re Hitting Snooze Too Much

Alarm clocks are there for a reason. As hard as it might be to wake up as soon as your alarm clock goes off, you will only feel worse if you continue to hit the snooze button and put off the inevitable. The extra sleeping time that you think you’re getting from hitting the snooze button is of a worse quality than you might think as it is constantly interrupted. Instead of setting an earlier alarm to sleep in later, set your clock for the right hour. You’ll wake up feeling all the better.

You’re Drinking Alcohol Or Caffeine

Two of the biggest disruptors of a good night’s sleep are caffeine and alcohol. If you’re drinking too much, too close to bedtime, then you will get a worse quality of sleep than usual, even if you fall asleep straight away. Drinking either alcohol or caffeine can have you tossing and turning and waking up throughout the night, seriously interfering with your normal sleeping patterns. Do yourself a favor and cut it out before bedtime, putting a stopper in your caffeine stream from about 4pm onwards.

You’re In Your Bedroom Too Often

The ways in which we spend our time during the day can trigger certain psychological responses. If you’re consistently using your bedroom as a place in which to work, watch movies or just hang out, you might be harder pressed to see it as an area in which to switch off and really relax. As much as you can, try to associate your bedroom with falling asleep and winding down. It might be an unconscious change, but doing so will have you drifting off into a better quality of rest all the more easily.

5 Bedtime Yoga Poses For Better Health

Struggle to destress before going to bed? It might be time to incorporate yoga into your routine. Naturally relaxing, yoga exercises are centered around deep breathing, increasing the saturation of oxygen around the body. Despite the fact that sleeping naturally relaxes your body, going to bed is not always enough for you to switch off entirely from the day’s tensions. Practicing yoga in your bed just before you turn off the lights can help to give your body a good stretching and release any anxieties you might be carrying from the day. By making this a part of your nightly routine, you will be able to switch off without a second thought!

Child’s Pose

One of the most relaxing positions in yoga, the child’s pose is great to stretch out your back and neck. If you’re working long hours in front of a computer, you’re likely to carry a great deal of tension in this area and over time, it can really start to affect the strength and flexibility of your muscles. Sitting on your heels, slowly reach forwards with your arms, stretching them flat out in front of you. Hold the pose for a few counts, breathing deeply as you do so. While your chest and back get a good stretching, you will be able to let your problems dissipate and let go of any tensions. Focusing on your breathing can enhance your respiration skills, making it easier for you to practice calming breathing throughout the day.

Thread The Needle Pose

While it might look like a strange pose to master, thread the needle can work serious wonders on your lower body muscles, so it pays to get it under control. In order to get into position, you need to begin on your hands and knees, letting your head hang naturally downwards. Exhaling at the same time, thread your right arm under your left arm, facing your palm upwards. Rest your right ear against your pillow and look towards your left side. As you get into the pose, relax your lower back, letting all of your tension fade away. Breathe deeply on this side and then repeat on the opposite side of your body. The pose will gently open up your upper back and chest muscles, detoxify your upper body and send oxygenated blood to your extremities.

Supta Virasana

If you struggle from digestive issues, the supta virasana can help to boost blood flow to the tummy area, easing any tension you might be carrying. To pull off this move, begin sitting on your heels. Slowly, ease your body back onto the bed behind you, using your elbows to support your back and core as you relax down. Once you’re supine on the bed, stretch your arms out above your head and relax your head on your pillow. Hold the pose for up to one minute, breathing steadily and deeply as you do so. The supta virasana can help to improve digestion, as well as stretching smaller tendons and ligaments in the legs. If you suffer from leg issues, this pose can seriously help you out.

Savasana

The ultimate in relaxing yoga poses, the savasana can really send you off to sleep. To perform savasana, you need to be lying on your back. Spread your feet ever so slightly apart in front of you and keep your arms at your sides, palms facing upwards. Tightening the muscles in your legs, gently lift them off the floor, inhaling as you do so. When you exhale, release the tension in your muscles and slowly pivot your legs to the ground. Performing this pose can help to release stress, reduce fatigue and generally calm the mind.

Jathara Parivartanasana

While it might be a mouthful to pronounce, jathara parivartanasana is worth getting under your belt simply for the health benefits it can hold for the body. Lying on your back, gently draw your knees together, using your hands as a way of support. Bring your knees together and position them towards your left side, keeping your arms stretched out flat. Breathe deeply in this position before switching your body to the opposite side. The pose can help to boost your digestion, improve your posture and release any tension you might be carrying in your lower back. You’ll be feeling better before you know it!

The Healthy Foods That Promote Better Rest

Getting sufficient sleep is vital when it comes to maintaining your health but with so many different things vying for our attention, getting the correct amount of shut eye is often a great deal more difficult than we might have initially thought. While following the right kind of night time routine can make all the difference when it comes to your quality of sleep, it is the types of foods that you eat during the day that really affect how easily you can switch off during the night. Eating more of these products might just make the difference that you were looking for and after upping the quantities of them that you eat, you might never look back.

Bananas

Bananas are one of the healthiest foods that there is and simply by eating one of the fruit every day, you can significantly boost your wellness and feel all the better for it. When it comes to your sleep, it’s a similar story and, packed full of vitamins and nutrients, bananas can really make all the difference. Potassium and magnesium – found inside bananas – can help your muscles relax, whereas the fruit’s stores of amino acids can help to up your brain’s production of melatonin. The more melatonin you have, the more easily you will be able to nod off!

Cherries

As well as being a sweet and healthy treat, cherries are packed full of sleep inducing nutrients, making it easier for you to fall asleep after a long day. One of the few food sources of melatonin, cherries make it easier for your brain to produce more of the hormone, helping your muscles to relax and for you to enter into sleep mode. Eating a handful of the fruit a few hours before you want to go to bed can be all that it takes to enjoy a better night’s sleep and feel all the fresher for it in the morning.

Toast

Do you feel sleepy after eating a pile of carbs? There’s a science behind that. While indulging in food can make us naturally feel more inclined to sleep, carbohydrates in particular can have a sedative effect, making it easier for us to fall asleep during the night. It’s all down to your sugar levels. Carbs play an active role in your body’s sleep/wake clock by causing your blood sugar levels to both rise and fall. Rather than eating a huge bowl of pasta before you go to sleep, consuming a slice of toast can do just as good of a job, helping you to hit the pillow much more easily.

Brazil Nuts

There’s a nut out there for every health issue and when it comes down to your sleeping patterns, it’s a similar story. Brazil nuts are packed full of magnesium, selenium and phosphorus, all of which play a vital role in the sleep process. Snacking on a few of the nuts throughout the day can help to keep your body’s protein levels topped up while making it easier for it to switch off during the night. Better yet, the nuts are one of the only meat free sources of selenium, enabling vegetarians the chance to get their fill of the nutrient.

Eggs

As well as topping your body up with protein and helping your muscles to repair themselves after strenuous exercise, eggs can make it easier for you to fall asleep at night. Just how do they do it, though? It’s all about their minerals and vitamins. High in things like vitamin D, choline and folate, eggs are a great way of relaxing into a healthy night’s sleep, naturally increasing your brain’s abilities to induce rest. Hard boiled eggs make a great healthy dinner or pre-sleep snack, especially if you pair them with healthy avocado.

Getting sufficient sleep is one of the easiest ways to boost your energy levels and get more done in the day and by eating these foods, you can give your brain and body a better chance of nodding off. In combination with reducing your screen time at night, listening to relaxing music and taking natural supplements, these healthy foods can make falling asleep incredibly simple, giving you the chance to focus on what really matters during the day.

The Dangers of Too Little Sleep

Try not to lose sleep over the results of the latest sleep studies. Those lost hours of rest could lead to a variety of health issues, according to recent research – the common cold, depression, even heart disease or Parkinson’s.

Insomnia may cause alarming changes in the brain.

The findings of a recent study published in Radiology link chronic sleeplessness to alarming changes in the brain. Researchers in China used an advanced MRI technique to compare the brains of 23 people suffering from insomnia with the brains of 30 people with normal sleep patterns.

The images allowed them to analyze the brain’s white matter tracts. “White matter tracts are bundles of axons–or long fibers of nerve cells–that connect one part of the brain to another,” study author Shumei Li said in a news release. “If white matter tracts are impaired, communication between brain regions is disrupted.”

The scientists found that the insomnia patients had reduced white matter integrity in several right-brain regions and the thalamus. The affected areas control sleep, wakefulness, alertness, cognitive function, and sensorimotor function. The cause of these changes in the white matter may be the loss of myelin, the protective sheath that coats nerve fibers.

Sleep loss may lead to heart disease.

A team of researchers at the University of Helsinki recently discovered that lack of sleep affects the way the human body metabolizes cholesterol. By analyzing small blood samples, they observed that the genes responsible for controlling cholesterol transport were less active in people experiencing sleep loss than in those who got adequate sleep. They also found that people who slept less had fewer high-density HDL lipoproteins (the “good cholesterol” transport proteins) than those who slept sufficiently.

These risk factors may contribute to the higher risk of atherosclerosis (hardening or narrowing of the arteries) and cardiovascular disease in people suffering from sleep deprivation.

Chronic lack of sleep may increase your risk of Parkinson’s disease.

A study published earlier this month in Molecular Psychiatry reveals that chronic sleep loss and irregular sleep-wake cycles may be risk factors of Parkinson’s disease. Researchers from the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University (LKSOM) examined how disturbances in circadian rhythms affected the development of Parkinson’s in a mouse model of the disease.

The mice were divided into two groups. The first, the control group, was exposed to a normal circadian schedule – 12 hours of light and 12 hours of dark each day. The second group was exposed to 20 hours of light and 4 hours of dark. All the mice developed Parkinson’s, but those exposed to the altered circadian schedule experienced significant learning impairments and drastic reductions in motor coordination and motor learning skills – much worse than those observed in the control group.

The findings lend support to the research team’s theory that sleep disorders and disrupted circadian cycles may contribute to the development of Parkinson’s.

Sleeping fewer than 5 hours may increase your risk of cold and other infections.

People who sleep no more than five hours each night may be at higher risk of suffering from a cold or other infection than those sleeping more, according to a study recently published in JAMA Internal Medicine. Surveys of 22,000 Americans showed that 19 percent of those sleeping five hours or fewer each night suffered from a head or chest cold in the last 30 days, compared with 16 percent of those who slept for six hours and 15 percent of those who slept more than seven hours.

Lack of sleep may affect cardiovascular, endocrine and immune functioning, which in turn heightens your risk of disease or infection. In addition, “poor sleep may lead to health behaviors that raise one’s risk for poor heath,” study author Aric Prather told Reuters Health. “Short sleepers are less likely to exercise and more likely to engage in less than ideal nutrition that, again over time, can affect health.”

Insomnia may lead to depression.

Insomnia may increase your risk of depression by impairing your ability to regulate emotions. Published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, the study surveyed 880 current and retired United States firefighters between the ages of 18 and 82 years. 52.7 percent of participants reported insomnia symptoms, while 39.6 reported suffering from depression.

Analysis of the firefighters’ survey responses revealed that emotional regulation difficulties had a significant impact on the relationship between insomnia and depression. These difficulties included a lack of problem-solving skills and the inability to control negative emotions.

“Our study findings suggest that firefighters with sleep difficulties are likely to experience greater struggles accessing strategies to regulate their emotions, especially when feeling upset. This, in turn, may lead to or worsen feelings of depression and low mood,” said lead author Melanie Hom said in a news release. “These results are important because they provide a plausible explanation for why and how sleep problems may contribute to depression, which are critical questions for prevention and intervention.”

Article sources:

Aho, Vilma. “Prolonged sleep restriction induces changes in pathways involved in cholesterol metabolism and inflammatory responses.” Scientific Reports 6, Article number: 24828 (2016), doi:10.1038/srep24828.

Doyle, Kathryn. “Short Sleep May Be Tied to Cold or Infection Risk.” Reuters.com.

Hom, Melanie A. “The association between sleep disturbances and depression among firefighters: emotion dysregulation as an explanatory factor.” Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, http://dx.doi.org/10.5664/jcsm.5492.

Lauretti, E. “Circadian rhythm dysfunction: a novel environmental risk factor for Parkinson’s disease.” Molecular Psychiatry, 5 April 2016, doi:10.1038/mp.2016.47

Li, Shumei. “Reduced Integrity of Right Lateralized White Matter in Patients with Primary Insomnia: A Diffusion-Tensor Imaging Study.” Radiology, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1148/radiol.2016152038.

Prather, Aric A. “Association of insufficient sleep with respiratory infection among adults in the United States.” JAMA Intern Med. Published online 11 April 2016, doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.0787.

News release, American Academy of Sleep Medicine

News release, Radiological Society of North America

News release, Temple University Health System

News release, University of Helsinki