There are certain things we do that can sabotage our sleep quality. How many are you guilty of?
We’ve all experienced that frustrating feeling of not being able to get to sleep. Sometimes it feels like we spend all day looking forward to turning in for the night, only to spend hours staring at the ceiling waiting for sleep to come.
But chances are, if you analysed the issue closely, you’d discover that there are habits you could change to make your sleep experience a more positive one. Certain bedtime habits can be extremely detrimental to our sleep quality, and being aware of them can help you change your ways and improve your sleep and energy levels in the long run.
With that in mind, here are some of the worst sleep habits that many of us are guilty of.
Bedtimes aren’t just for children. Maintaining a regular sleep schedule is a vital part of enjoying good sleep every night. Set yourself a goal of going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day, even at the weekend.
Exercise is one of the best ways to boost your energy levels during the day, but it can also help you feel better prepared for sleep by the time evening draws in. Research shows that people who get the recommend amount of weekly exercise are 65% less likely to feel drowsy during the day, and part of this is because they enjoy longer and higher quality sleep.
However, be sure to exercise at the right time. Save your high-intensity workouts for earlier in the day, as rigorous exercise late at night can have the opposite effect and make you feel more awake.
Having a nightcap
Having a couple of drinks of an evening can make you feel drowsy, relaxed and ready for sleep, but the sleep you actually get when you drink is not high quality. In fact, drinking alcohol before bed results in sleeping patterns that more closely resemble a resting state rather than a restorative sleep. This results in you waking up feeling groggy, headachy and exhausted, even if you managed to clock a good seven to nine hours.
Not setting a coffee curfew
You might not think a 5pm coffee could impact how well you sleep that night, but you’d be wrong. The National Sleep Foundation reports that it takes around six hours for just half the caffeine in your body to disappear, and you become less efficient at absorbing caffeine as you get older. This is important, as caffeine is a strong stimulant and could be playing a part in making you feel restless come bedtime.
Using your phone
These days, screen time is firmly on the rise, with many of us treating our smartphones like an extension of our arms. As well as communicating with others, we also use our phones for watching content, scrolling through social media and getting news. But staring at our screens right up until the point we close our eyes to sleep isn’t a good idea. Not only are we staying stimulated with constant content, but the blue light screen can also inhibit our body’s release of vital sleep hormones like melatonin.
Set yourself a cut off point in the evening when you put your phone down and don’t pick it up again. Ideally, this should be at least an hour before you go to sleep. Get into the habit of enjoying more relaxing bedtime habits, like reading or meditation.