Are You Tired or Wired?

All day you’ve been daydreaming of crawling back into your warm, comfy sheets. You get home, unwind, and when the clock strikes bedtime – you are suddenly full of energy. That second wind you’ve been hoping for all day finally decides to make its debut the moment you lay your head down.

“It’s very common for people to feel tired, then wired, when it’s finally time to wind down,” says Nicole Avena, PhD, associate professor of neuroscience at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York. This is not only frustrating, but also a clear sign that your sleep routine could use some TLC!

Here are some reasons why you may be experiencing this:

  1. You’ve mis-trained your brain. We associate places with feelings and actions. If we want to sleep in bed, we need to associate bed with… you guessed it – sleep! Raise your hand if you’re guilty of sitting in bed scrolling though social media, or nodding off while watching the season finale of your favorite show? How about working from bed? Anytime you do an activity in bed that forces your brain to stay awake, you take away an opportunity to train your brain that bed equals sleep. The solution here is to make your bed a sacred space of rest, silence, and stillness. Do your ‘awake’ activities somewhere else!
  • You’ve had too much caffeine or sugar. We all react differently to caffeine and sugar, but it is safe to say that an afternoon or evening sugar or caffeine pick me up is not doing anyone any favors when it comes to sleep. Cutting back or cutting these two culprits out altogether might be your solution to a better night’s sleep.
  • Blue light buzz. Using electronic devices within 30 minutes before bedtime has proven to delay the release of melatonin – the hormone our body needs to fall asleep. This is only one reason to ignore screens before bedtime. Another is that you risk triggering stress, excitement, or anxiety when you choose to watch tv, scroll through social media or catch up on the latest news before it is time to fall asleep. Easy fix here, turn off the screens 30+ minutes before bed. Make a new bedtime routine of reading a book or meditating instead.
  • Thoughts and feelings of anxiety. When you finally slow down for the day, and you are not busy with other tasks or thoughts – your mind has time to race. Maybe you think about all the things that you did not get done, or all the things you must do the next day. Meditation can be a great solution to this as well as taking time to write your thoughts and to-dos down on paper. The incentaHEALTH app offers a library of meditations to help calm the mind and body down before sleep.

Sleep plays a huge roll in our health. It is just as important to think about your sleep habits as it is to consider your diet and exercise routines. Take some time to consider your sleep habits and what you might be able to do to improve.