So often do we spend so much of our time and energy to adopt helpful sleeping habits only to get disappointed after not getting the desired results. The reason behind going through such an experience is the failure to correct your already existing poor sleeping habits. We have therefore compiled a helpful guide to reveal a few of such bad sleeping habits and help you correct them at the earliest.
#01 Drinking Coffee Close to Bedtime
A cup of coffee is indeed a great way to start your day but not a smart way to end it. The stimulating effect of caffeine helps ward off drowsiness and increases alertness in the body. However, experts suggest that caffeinated products like tea, coffee, chocolate, etc., should be avoided in the latter half of the day because of this very effect. Caffeine interferes with the process of melatonin production and makes it hard for you to fall asleep naturally in the night.
#02 Intense Exercising Before Bedtime
Exercising is one of the most important processes of the day’s routine considering its numerous health benefits. However, an intense session of exercising right before going to bed has been proven as a sure shot way of increasing your core body temperature and disrupt the endorphin levels in the body. That said, recent studies have pointed out that a moderate amount of workout at least 90 minutes before bedtime does not contribute in sleep disruption.
#03 Not Getting Enough Sunlight Exposure
A lot of people do not realize that the amount of sunlight exposure that we get throughout the day decides how well our sleep/wake cycle is regulated. A healthy amount of sunlight exposure in the day can help you balance your serotonin level and help you reset sleep schedule. Try keeping the windows in your house and workspace open in the day to let in ample amount of sunlight. In the absence of such natural sources, you can also rely on bright indoor lighting but make sure that the lights are gradually dimmed after sunset so that the light doesn’t interfere with your melatonin levels.
#04 Frequent Toilet Trips
Drinking a healthy amount of water throughout the day is the key to good health. That said, drinking too much water close to bedtime can increase your nighttime toilet trips and unnecessarily disrupt your sleep. Another major factor for causing such bladder issues is alcohol consumption. Being a natural diuretic, alcohol can dramatically increase your urge to pee at night which is why it is recommended that you stop drinking at least 6 hours before bedtime. Although alcohol can sometimes help you fall asleep easily, it is known to cause disruptions in the latter part of the sleep which is associated with deep sleep.
#05 Sleeping on a Poor Mattress
Unbeknownst to us, old and saggy mattresses cause a great deal of harm to our sleep quality. Not only do they fail to provide the right comfort and support but also cause body pain. It is therefore advisable to invest in a quality mattress that takes care of all your sleeping needs. After all, we spend no less than a third of our day lying on the mattress. While you are at it, make sure that the sheets and pillows you use on your mattress are equally comfortable and do not trap any heat.
#06 Not Maintaining a Sleep Schedule
Maintaining your daily sleep schedule is absolutely non-negotiable when you’re aiming for a robust sleep health. Control your urge to stay awake for a few more hours on a party night or to snooze for another 30 minutes on the weekend as this will break the chain of waking up and sleeping around the exact same time on a daily basis. The benefits of improving your sleep schedule are not just limited to completing the required amount of sleep time but also extends to good immunity and mental function, among other things.
#07 Stress and Anxiety
Not allowing yourself a buffer time between work and sleep can be disastrous for your sleep quality. The stress and anxiety accumulated throughout the day will not dissipate on its own when you jump straight to the bed. High level of cortisol, or the stress hormone, can decrease your chances of getting adequate deep sleep which is necessary to treat anxiety. The best way to deal with them is to engage in mindful activities that soothe your mind and prepare you for the sleep ahead such as meditation, hot shower, book reading, bedtime yoga, etc.
#08 Use of Electronics
In this technologically advanced modern world, it is very hard to separate oneself with electronic devices such as laptops, smartphones, TV sets, etc. Not only do these devices consume the time that you should ideally be spending in winding down, but they also emit harmful blue light. This blue light has a short wavelength and has the potential to disrupt melatonin production and damage your eye over the course of time. Therefore, it is advisable to stop the use of all kind of blue light emitting devices at least one hour before going to sleep.
Steps like maintaining a diet and exercising everyday are sure beneficial for your sleep health but they cannot have real effect on your sleep health unless you weed out the bad sleeping habits. We hope that the abovementioned points will help you identify those bad habits and get rid of them as quickly as possible.