+ 5 More Reasons You Aren’t Sleeping Properly

As a sleep specialist, I am constantly asked - why aren’t I sleeping properly? You’ve probably heard of the regular culprits - too much caffeine, blue light, late night TV. With this insight, I wanted to share with you some lesser known causes, helping you understand better, plus allowing you to take action. 

  1. High stress (cortisol) levels. Academic journal Sleep Science pinpoints the HPA axis, activated under stressful conditions, becomes dysregulated and causes your body to wake up when cortisol levels naturally rise around 3-4am.

  2. Night shift / jet lag. Research note sleep architecture, your nightly pattern of moving from light to deeper sleep, becomes out of balance if you are exposed to light during the eve. As a result, you are more likely to sleep lightly and wake up unrefreshed.

  3. Pregnancy. 36% of pregnancy women suffer Restless Legs Syndrome, according to Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. With symptoms such as pins and needles an urge to move your body parts (not just legs), it contributes to poor sleep quality, daytime sleepiness and limited functioning.

  4. Late night workouts. Last one at the gym? It could be a detriment to your sleep, particularly if its HIIT or intense cardio. Increasing your adrenalin levels, Nature and Science of Sleep reports high adrenalin levels lead to shallow, fragmented and unrefreshing sleep.

  5. Sleeping pills. University of Southern California academics found all benzodiazepines (sleeping pills) build up in the muscle tissue - so you’re likely to feel lethargic, drowsy and fatigued all the time. As a result, your hormones become out of balance, which contributes to misfiring (point 1).

And the solution?

  1. Mitigate the conditions above. Late night training? Swap it for morning. Sleeping pills? Get rid of them. Highly stressed? Focus on relaxing activities in your down time such as walking or meditation. Night shift? See if there’s an option to avoid it. Pregnant? This one.. a little harder to shift!

  2. Follow my sleep tips - and share them with a friend. American Society of Training and Development shows you’re 65% more likely to achieve your goals if you have an accountability partner - tag yours now!

  3. Massage yourself - properly. Sleep Science reports massage therapy to improve insomnia, sleep patterns and fatigue. Combined with topical magnesium, you receive a double hit of relaxation, as the magnesium also reduces poor sleep. My recommendation is Abundant Natural Health’s magnesium gel.