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Having a good night’s sleep is essential for brain function, growth and development, hormonal balance, immunity, performance, a positive mood, and much more. It’s not only about sleeping enough but the quality of your sleep. Your lifestyle, bedtime routine, and bedroom environment can negatively affect it. The following are some of the most significant sleep disruptors and how to deal with them.

Blue Light

Nowadays, there is 24/7 exposure to blue light. This is high-energy visible (HEV) light, that has a short wavelength and produces higher amounts of energy. Prolonged exposure to blue light can strain and even damage your eyes, and cause fatigue, headaches, and sleeplessness. It can alter hormone production and states of alertness. Additionally, blue light can interfere with your body’s production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep, dysregulating sleep cycles.

How to Deal with Blue Light:

  • Since blue light is emitted by compact fluorescent bulbs (CFB), halogen bulbs (white lights), light-emitting diode bulbs (LEDs), and electronic and digital devices, you should minimize your exposure to any of these sources before bedtime or remove them from your bedroom.
  • Consider putting screensavers on electronic devices.
  • Use blue light-blocking bulbs or red/orange lights in your bedroom as red wavelengths of light are most conducive to sleep and don’t interfere with your melatonin or circadian rhythm. You can even get color-adjustable bulbs, which are dimmable and have a timer.
  • Install dimmer switches that allow you to adjust the light levels based on your needs. Lowering the lights in the evening can signal your body that it’s time to wind down.
  • Keep in mind that it’s best to sleep in total darkness to allow your circadian rhythms to be on point – The circadian rhythm or sleep/wake cycle is your 24-hour internal clock that runs in the background of your brain and cycles between sleepiness and alertness at regular intervals.

Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs)

Electromagnetic fields are invisible areas emitting wireless energy waves (radiation). They are produced by electric power lines, WiFi, appliances, radio waves, microwaves, TVs, cell phones, iPads, computers, alarm clocks, stereos, electric blankets, baby monitors, and “smart meters” among others.

EMFs affect your own electric and biochemical responses. Research shows that EMFs have been associated with sleep loss, depressed moods, nervous system disturbances, headaches, irritability, immunity dysfunction, poor performance and concentration, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.

How to Deal with EMFs:

  • In order to decrease your exposure to EMFs, remove appliances from your bedroom, don’t put laptops or phones in your bed, and turn off all electronics and WiFi before bedtime.


Exercise has numerous benefits and should be part of your daily routine. It helps keep your body healthy and in shape, your mood positive, your bones and heart strong, and much more. Exercise elevates your heart rate and body temperature, and keeps you alert. This may not be the best activity before bedtime since it has an energizing effect – the opposite of what you need before bed.

What to Do about Exercise

  • Make sure to stop exercising for at least 2 hours before getting ready for bed.
  • If you must exercise before bed, take a cooling shower, stretch, and do some breathing exercises or meditation to bring your brain waves into a more calmed state.
  • Keep in mind that people who exercise, no matter what time, have generally better sleep than those who are sedentary. So you don’t need to stop being active – just adjust your timing!


Pain can have a significant impact on sleep, creating a cycle where poor sleep can exacerbate pain, and heightened pain can disrupt sleep further. Pain can trigger a physiological response, increasing arousal levels and alertness, making it difficult to relax and fall asleep. Pain can also produce cortisol, which disturbs sleep.

How to Deal with Pain

  • Make sure to incorporate diverse ways to manage pain. Keep in mind that opioid painkillers have sedative effects, which might help with sleep, but can also lead to respiratory problems during sleep and may contribute to sleep apnea. There are other therapies you may wish to use instead, such as treatment with a chiropractor. Many people celebrate the effects chiropractic treatment can have on pain and difficulty sleeping, and could be just what you need to rest better at night.

Conventional Mattresses

Conventional mattresses have toxins that can be released into the air and potentially affect indoor air quality. Additionally, continuous exposure to harmful chemicals while sleeping can contribute to a range of health problems, from mild discomfort to respiratory issues, allergies, and more severe long-term issues. These toxins also disrupt the quality of your sleep.

Addressing you Mattress

  • Get rid of your conventional mattress when is time to change it (every 7-10 years). But if you can afford a new one now, do so. Choose a non-toxic natural mattress so you minimize your exposure to toxic harmful substances and you are able to sleep deep and enough hours.


Caffeine is a stimulant that affects the central nervous system and can have a significant impact on sleep. It increases alertness, can lead to difficulty in relaxing, and can interfere with your body’s ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. Consuming caffeine regularly, especially in the afternoon and evening, can disrupt your body’s internal clock or circadian rhythm. This can lead to long-term sleep problems, as your body may have difficulty maintaining a consistent sleep-wake cycle.

How to Deal with Caffeine

  • Limit your consumption of products containing caffeine (coffee, teas, soda, energy drinks/chewables, ice creams, hot chocolate, and chocolate bars) in the afternoon and evening. Avoid consuming caffeine at least 6 hours before bedtime.
  • Consume caffeine in moderation – It’s best not to drink more than 2 cups of coffee.
  • Consider switching to caffeine-free options like herbal tea in the afternoon and night.


Many medications [Alpha-blockers and beta-blockers (high blood pressure meds), corticosteroids (inflammation meds), SSRI anti-depressants, ACE-inhibitors (for high blood pressure and congestive heart failure), angiotensin II-receptor blockers (for coronary heart disease and heart failure), statins (treat high cholesterol), cholinesterase inhibitors (for memory loss), second-generation (nonsedating) H1 antagonists (antihistamines), diuretics, sympathomimetic stimulants (treat ADD), theophylline (for asthma), and thyroid hormones] can interfere with your ability to fall asleep or stay asleep, change the balance of REM (rapid eye movement) and non-REM sleep stages, and disrupt the natural sleep-wake cycle.

How to Deal with Medications

  • Communicate with your healthcare providers if you suspect that a medication is affecting your sleep. They can assess the situation and adjust your medication if necessary.

Drugs, Alcohol & Nicotine

Different drugs can disrupt natural sleep cycles. Stimulants like cocaine, amphetamines, and nicotine increase alertness and reduce your ability to fall asleep. On the other hand, depressants, sedatives, and tranquilizers, such as alcohol, benzodiazepines, and sleep meds, promote drowsiness and help you fall asleep. However, their long-term use can reduce deep sleep (REM sleep) and increase the likelihood of snoring and sleep apnea.

How to Deal with Drugs, Alcohol & Nicotine

  • It’s essential to be aware of the potential effects of drugs, alcohol, and nicotine on your sleep and to use them responsibly. If you feel that any of them are disrupting your health, relationships, and life in general, maybe you can look into addiction treatment that incorporates a holistic approach.

Emotional / Psychological Disorders

Dysregulated emotions affect your thinking, feelings, mood, behavior, and sleep. These negative states can materialize when you are feeling stressed out regularly, dealing with the loss of a loved one, and/or having depression, anxiety, PTSD, or other psychological disorders. These states can influence the production of stress hormones like cortisol. Consequently, these hormonal changes can affect your body’s natural circadian rhythm and sleep-wake cycle.

How to Deal with Emotional / Psychological Conditions

Sleep Anxiety or Insomnia Anxiety

Sleep anxiety, or worrying about not getting enough sleep, can in itself affect your sleep, creating a vicious cycle of anxiety and sleeplessness. When you’re preoccupied with these types of thoughts, your body is stressed and in a physiologically aroused state, making it even more challenging to relax and fall asleep.

The more you worry about sleep, the more your body can enter a cycle of stress and hyperarousal, which is counterproductive to the natural process of falling asleep. This cycle can create a negative association between your bed and sleep, leading to conditioned arousal and difficulties in maintaining a regular sleep schedule.

How to Deal with Sleep Anxiety

  • To help break the cycle created by sleep anxiety and improve your sleep, consider practicing relaxation techniques regularly and incorporating sleep hygiene habits.

As you can see, there may be multiple sleep disruptors interfering with your sleep cycle. Adjusting your bedroom environment, creating a relaxing bedtime routine, and dealing with sleep disruptors support relaxation, prioritize your well-being, and allow you to sleep deep, safe, and sound.

To a Fitter Healthier You,

Adriana Albritton

The Fitness Wellness Mentor

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