10 Habits to Ditch for Better Sleep

  • For many people, falling asleep and staying asleep can be a frustrating experience.
  • While there are many things that contribute to poor sleep quality, unhealthy habits and lifestyle choices can increase a person’s risk of insomnia.
  • Among these include eating right before bedtime, sleeping in a loud environment, napping for long periods of time, and others.

1. Going to bed too soon after a large meal

Eating a large meal or drinking too much close to bedtime may mean multiple trips to the bathroom during your sleep. Besides that, you will also most likely experience insomnia symptoms such as trouble falling or staying asleep, as well as trigger uncomfortable heartburn once you lie down.

2. Lying Awake in Bed

Avoid lying in bed awake at night if you can’t sleep. Doing this on a regular basis will only reinforce sleeplessness and eventually build up anxiety for not being able to sleep. Rather than forcing yourself to sleep when you can’t, try reading as a form of relaxation. Or get out of bed and only go back when you start feeling drowsy.

3. Sleeping in a warm, cold and noisy environment

Sleeping with the lights on, with the stereo blaring in a room that is too warm awakens the senses, making it challenging for you to fall asleep. Transform your bedroom instead into a dark, quiet and cool oasis by setting a cooler room temperature and using blackout curtains or a white noise machine to relax your senses.  

4. Taking Prolonged Naps

Despite cultures promoting the midday nap, sleeping during the day can compromise your ability to fall or stay asleep at night. Extreme drowsiness during the day can be a sign of a sleep disorder called sleep apnea.

5. Using Your Bedroom As An Office  

Working from bed with your room filled with gadgets including televisions, gaming systems, computers and telephones won’t help you sleep better since your brain will think you’re in a place of work rather than a place of sleep. The light off screens will stimulate your brain which is the last thing you need to sleep. Keep out technology from your bedroom and charge your phone somewhere else.

6. Consuming Alcohol, Coffee, or Smoking a Cigarette Before Bed

Alcohol may make you drowsy but it disrupts sleep once it wears off. Caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea or soda can work as stimulants, keeping you awake all night, while nicotine use before bedtime can exacerbate cravings that can keep you awake for hours. Don’t drink alcohol within 3 hours of bedtime and caffeine within 5 hours.

7. Cutting back on sleep when busy

Being busy over a prolonged period of time triggers long-term problems with insomnia. Even one night of no or minimal sleep may leave you in a zombie-like feeling, drowsy, lacking energy, have slower thinking and an irritable mood. Make sure your sleep schedule allows for enough time to sleep every night.

8. Remaining Active Right Before Bed

Our bodies don’t do well with sudden changes, and the same is true with preparing to sleep. Create a relaxing bedtime routine. Spend 30 to 60 minutes doing relaxing and calming activities such as reading, listening to music, or taking a warm bath to prepare the body and mind for sleep. Following this routine helps your brain recognize them as a prelude to sleep.

9. Exercising Aggressively Before Bed

Although exercise may ensure good sleep, doing it before bed will only stimulate your body instead of winding it down. Not only that, it may also elevate your body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure. Avoid going to bed sweaty from exercise and consider lessening the volume of aerobic exercise before bedtime.

10. Frequently Sleeping at Varying Times

Going to bed and getting up at different times every day can impact the circadian rhythm, or the body’s natural clock. Follow a consistent sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. This will train your brain to recognize when it’s time to sleep and when it’s time to wake.

Source: Very Well Health


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