There are more than 40 million Americans who suffer from some kind of sleep disorder. Not getting a full night’s rest may not seem like a big deal, but without an adequate number of sleep hours our bodies begin to show signs of distress, and some can be deadly. There are over 70 different types of sleep disorders that rob us from our sleep. Many can be solved by changing some of your everyday habits. Things in your day that affect the type and length of your sleep include:

  • Food and Drink
  • Mental Stimulation
  • Amount of Physical Activity
  • Outside Stimulus
  • Bedding and Pillows

Most people have no idea that their daily activities can have such a drastic effect on their sleep. Here are the top five things that rob you of a full night’s rest.

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Electronic Screens

Many people believe they must have the television on to go to sleep. In actuality, television screens, and even e-readers and Smartphones can rob you of precious hours of sleep. The author of  Sleep Soundly Every Night, Feel Fantastic Every Day, Robert Rosenberg, DO, has found that removing all light-emitting technology for at least one hour before you go to bed will help you fall asleep faster and sleep deeper. Blue light that emits from these screens inhibits melatonin production, the substance in your body that helps you sleep.

Chocolate can rob your sleep

Chocolate is a little-known source of caffeine. Dark chocolate with high amounts of cocoa is especially bad for sleep. Some dark chocolate bars contain as much caffeine as a whole can of coke. It increases your heart rate and adds to sleeplessness. Chocolate contains theobromine as well, a stimulant that keeps you awake.

Skipping Time to Wind Down

Sleep experts recommend taking at least 30 minutes before you head to the bedroom to do activities that will calm your racing mind. Don’t watch TV. Do things that help end your day instead. Put away the clean dishes. Lay out your clothes for tomorrow. Sit on the porch and enjoy the breeze. Shut off your phone and tablets. Take a leisurely bath or shower and unwind from the day. You can even do a few deep breathing exercises. Do not do any heavy physical activity or exercises an hour before you go to bed. Lock the doors and head to bed with a calmer mind.

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Taking Medication or Drinking Alcohol

If the doctor has you on meds, ask if you should be taking them at bedtime. Many prescribed medications can have an uplifting effect, even if you don’t really feel it. It can be just mild enough to keep to tossing and turning all night. Many people believe that drinking alcohol will help you sleep better. The truth is, alcohol helps you fall asleep as it metabolizes in the body. That effect wears off in a few hours and you are wide awake in the middle of the night.

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Not Having the Proper Bedding

A good firm mattress and a proper pillow will enhance your sleep patterns. Customized cervical pillows are made to fit your specific body shape. There is no need for fluffing or propping or stacking pillow on top of pillow. It takes you neck length, height, and weight into consideration to give you a pillow that helps you get to sleep faster and stay asleep longer.

Without proper sleep, your body will not cooperate with you during the day. You’ll feel sluggish and slow. If the pattern continues you can develop problems such as stress, depression, anxiety and impairs your memory. Long periods without sleep give you a greater risk of car accidents, relationship issues, and general lower quality of life. Long periods of sleeplessness cause hallucinations and paranoia. Check with your doctor to make sure you are getting enough sleep for your age.