They say our habits make us who we are. The problem is that because we’re so used to doing them, most of these habits are already second nature to us – even if they’re bad for us. When it comes to sleep, there are many bad habits that people are not aware they’re doing.
These bad sleep habits can wreck your body clock, mess up with your hormones, make you feel lethargic and unproductive, and basically cause all sorts of problems that you can easily avoid.
The best way to break a bad habit is to first be aware of it, so here’s a list of the bad sleep habits you need to avoid:
Eating at the wrong time
Eating is not a bad habit in itself, but eating too close to bedtime will definitely cause disruptions in your sleep. That’s because body needs time to digest what you’ve eaten, and when your stomach is busy churning your food and getting all your acids going, you don’t want to be lying down.
If you’re too full, you will also find that it’s a bit difficult to fall asleep. So not only should you avoid eating too close to bedtime, but you should avoid getting too stuffed when it’s nighttime.
Caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol
Caffeine and nicotine are both stimulants, and taking them too close to bedtime will surely keep you awake. You also have to remember that caffeine is present not just in coffee. Caffeine can also be found in tea, soda, and even chocolate – so it’s best if you avoid these before bedtime.
Now alcohol on the other hand is a depressant that naturally makes you drowsy. But you just have to be aware that when your body starts to metabolize the alcohol, it goes through a period of arousal that may disrupt your sleep.
Bright screens before bedtime
If you can, ban technology from the bedroom altogether. Many of us have the habit of tinkering with our mobile phone screens while lying down on the bed, without realizing that the blue light emitted from the screen will prevent us from sleeping even more than regular light can.
Light tricks our bodies into thinking that it’s daytime, and this is why you should stay away from all bright screens at least 2 hours before bedtime. In the bedroom, just get a warm night light if you really can’t sleep with the lights off.
Staying up late and sleeping in
There are days when we just want to do an all-nighter watching movies, reading books, or doing whatever we want to do up until the wee hours of the morning. Sometimes, we take advantage of the weekend and say it’s our chance to sleep in.
No matter how tempting it is to do this, you must avoid it as much as you can. That’s because our body clocks take note of our sleep-wake cycle, and the more regular it is, the better.
When you disrupt your body clock by staying up late and sleeping in, it does all kinds of potentially harmful things to your body.
Sleeping on the wrong bed
If you’ve tried sleeping in a place other than your own bedroom, you can definitely relate that unless it’s a 5-star hotel, you usually have a hard time falling asleep because you just want the comfort of your own bed. That’s because our beds are just that – they’re supposed to give our bodies the support and comfort needed for a good night’s sleep.
If you have the wrong type of bed or if your mattress already needs replacing, then this will definitely affect your sleep quality. You should be proactive in ensuring that the mattress you have is up to date and is the right one for you. Some good mattress brands to look at include Eve, Casper, Leesa, and Kingsdown.
Looking at the clock
If you keep watching the time, you’ll never get the hours you need for a good night’s rest. Looking at the clock all the time, even before you sleep, only creates unnecessary anxiety that will keep you from getting a good and undisturbed night’s rest.
You’ll start mentally calculating how many hours you have until you need to wake up, and this won’t do you any good. Having the clock too close to you (whether it’s an actual alarm clock or a mobile phone) so you can hit the snooze button right away is also not advisable.
While you’re at it, don’t use your mobile phone as an alarm clock if you can, and don’t have the phone right beside you when you sleep. That’s because you’ll get the urge of checking one email or Facebook notification every time it buzzes, and before you know it you can no longer stop.
When you sleep, you have to remember that you’re giving your body the opportunity to recover from the day and get enough energy for tomorrow. Avoid these habits and you’ll do just that.