In an age when everyone’s busy and there’s always something to keep us awake, sleep has become more and more of a precious commodity. Getting a good night’s sleep is not as common as it used to be, because there are too many distractions that can slowly but surely prevent it.
If you’re dreaming of a restful sleep and having a hard time achieving it, it may be because you’re allowing all these sleep wreckers to affect your sleep. These are the 10 sleep wreckers that you must avoid at all costs:
1. Mattress matters
Having a mattress that’s not suitable for you will surely wreck your sleep, because you won’t be comfortable enough and your body won’t get the support that it needs. It may seem like your mattress doesn’t matter, but it really does. In picking your mattress, you need to consider the firmness, material, size, and many other factors that ultimately affect the quality of your sleep.
2. In sickness and in health, ‘til sleep do us part
Getting good quality sleep when you’re alone is hard enough, but this is made even more complicated if you have a sleeping partner. For one, if one of you tosses and turns a lot while sleeping, you need to make sure your mattress eliminates motion so that the other won’t be affected. If your sleeping partner snores loudly and takes up a lot of the space, then this could potentially affect your sleep as well.
3. Screens, screens, and nothing but screens
Many of us are fond of looking at all kinds of screens before bedtime. Whether that’s the television, laptop, tablet, mobile phone, or whatever latest little gadget you have, these screens will affect your sleep more than you know. This is especially because they emit a special kind of light, which messes up with your circadian rhythm even more. To be on the safe side, just stop using them 2 or 3 hours before going to bed.
4. A dose of caffeine
If you willingly drank that one cup of coffee after dinner, don’t wonder why you’re still up at 3 in the morning. Caffeine will obviously keep you awake, and if you want a restful sleep you must stay away from it. And if you think it’s just coffee you should avoid, think again. Caffeine can also be found in tea, soft drinks, energy drinks, and chocolate.
5. Just a little nightcap
A tiny nightcap may seem like the perfect way to end a long and stressful day. Alcohol is a depressant, so it’s actually effective in making you drowsy enough for bed. However, while alcohol can make you sleep initially, it actually delays and limits the deep sleep phase, so you’ll find yourself waking up a few hours later – and worse, with a hangover.
6. Giving into your nighttime cravings
Doesn’t that piece of cake look especially delicious? Or perhaps it won’t hurt to eat just a handful of potato chips? If you give in to your nighttime cravings and eat something – anything, really – just before bedtime, then say goodbye to your chances of a long and restful sleep. Eating before bedtime, especially if it’s a big snack or meal, charges your metabolism during the wrong time of day. This can lead to indigestion and other problems, so it’s better to save your cravings for the following day.
7. Sleeping in or taking naps
Anything that ruins your normal sleep cycle confuses your body clock and ruins your chances of a good night’s sleep. Say you slept in earlier in the morning because it’s a weekend, or maybe you took a particularly long nap during the late afternoon. When it’s time for you to sleep that night, you might find it hard to do so because your normal sleep cycle has been disrupted. It’s best to set a regular sleeping schedule and stick to it.
8. Light up your life
Light is good, but not before sleeping. Any form of light will trigger signals to your brain that it’s daytime and thus not yet time to sleep. On the other hand, the absence of light will trigger signals that you should be sleeping. Light controls the sleep-wake cycle, and this is why it’s best to keep away from bright lights (and even the blue lights of your screens) hours before bedtime.
9. It’s getting hot in here
Heat and humidity will also prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep, so you should make sure that you have proper ventilation and that your mattress allows air to flow properly.
10. Pain, pain, go away
If you’re suffering from any kind of sickness or you have aches and pains in your body (i.e. back), then sleeping through the night will definitely be a challenge.