Sleep specialist reveals why you’re always tired – and how to fix your sleep

As the year draws to an end, many will be feeling tired and in need of some decent quality rest.

But if exhaustion is a year-round problem for you, it could be that you’re doing something wrong – and need to rectify your shut-eye habits.

Here, speaking to FEMAIL, Bondi-based sleep specialist Olivia Arezzolo revealed the seven reasons why you’re always tired – and what you can do to improve your sleep.

So what are they?

While devices are often blamed for keeping people awake at night, Olivia said it’s not just your iPad and iPhone that are to blame, but also your overhead lights at home.

‘Research published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrionology and Metabolism proved that room lights – yes, the regular ones in your ceiling or lamps – suppress the sleepiness hormone melatonin by 90 minutes, leading to shorter and lighter sleep,’ Olivia told FEMAIL.

 ‘You can solve this by wearing blue light blocking glasses, using plug in sleep suitable lights or both.’

People who hit the snooze button often fall victim to thinking that the snooze button allows them a precious few extra minutes in the morning. 

But, in fact, Olivia said it does the opposite.

‘Scientists at the University of California highlighted that this factor contributes to sleep inertia, or that groggy “haven’t slept at all” feeling,’ she said.

Especially for those who have had a late night, she added, the jolts of the alarm can ‘disrupt you during the deep stages of sleep, which is the period when our bodies are repairing themselves to their full functioning level’.

‘You can remedy this by labelling your alarm clock with something you’re excited about for that day,’ Olivia said. ‘In order to turn off the alarm, you read your motivation, and are more likely to get up.’ 

Many around the world turn to a long, hot shower just before bed in order to make them feel relaxed and ready for sleep.

But Olivia said this could be to blame for making you feel restless once you hit the sack. 

‘Although showering does enhance the relaxation of our muscles, if you’ve had a super steamy shower and literally jumped straight into bed, chances are you’ve raised your core body temperature, and consequently, are unable to get into a deep sleep,’ Olivia said.

‘According to the journal Science Advances, light sleep means you don’t undergo repair of body systems, which allows you to feel energetic.’

‘You can sole this by having a short, lukewarm shower at least one hour before bed.’ 

Sadly, in 2018, many of us take our day jobs home with us. And working late into the night is not only bad for your work/life balance, but also wreaks havoc with your sleep.

‘Stimulating your brain into the highly active brainwave state of alpha, engaging late night work lengthens the time required to fall into that deep sleep,’ Olivia said.

‘As a result, it’s possible you haven’t had deep quality sleep for long, or perhaps at all, which means your brain hasn’t had a chance to recover from the previous day’s activities.’

Olivia recommends solving this by ‘disconnecting yourself from all work after your shower’ in favour of ‘a relaxation activity such as reading, chatting with your partner or listening to calming music’.

Olivia highlighted that the academic journal Sleep Disorders said that heaviness of alcohol consumption correlates with increased daytime tiredness.

‘This is hardly surprising,’ she said. ‘The main ingredient in alcohol is sugar, which stimulates the body in a similar vein to caffeine.’

She added that pumping up your body ready for action is the opposite of what you should be doing ahead of a good night’s sleep.

 ‘Having a soda with lime and lemon without vodka is a great way to help this, or finishing with alcohol at least three hours before bed.’ 

Sleeplessness and insomnia is a problem that millions struggle with. 

And Olivia told FEMAIL that if you’re really finding life hard, you might do well to reach out to a professional.

‘Far from telling you to simply “do less”, professionals should examine modifiable factors which correlate to excessive fatigue,’ she said.

‘In doing so, you can make decisions which empower and energise you.’

Olivia recommends you sign up to her free newsletter, which will send you ‘tips and tricks on how to improve sleep, enhance energy and reduce stress’. Alternatively, you can see a professional.

The last reason, Olivia explained, is not something many can do much about.

‘With a nationwide apprecation of “working hard, playing hard” it’s no surprise that Sealy Posturepedic’s 2018 Sleep Survey found that 77 per cent of Australians do not get enough sleep,’ she said. 

‘Championing ourselves for pushing through, pepping ourselves with espresso martinis and getting everything done, we subliminally send messages to each other that to rest is to be lazy or inefficient.’

Olivia recommends reading articles about the true impact of sleep – and acting accordingly.

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