Sleep is a key component to maintaining your overall health. It’s linked to people’s ability to concentrate, store memories and manage health factors, such as their weight. If a better night’s sleep is important to you, you may have to implement a few changes to make it happen.
The trick to quitting bedtime habits that reduce your sleep quality is becoming aware of the actions you may not realize are affecting your rest.This is why it’s important to familiarize yourself with common habits that impact your ability to get some shut-eye every night. Avoid these five popular bedtime rituals.
1. Having a drink before bed
It may seem like a glass of wine before hitting the hay makes sleep easier. While it can make you drowsy, once your body metabolizes the alcohol, it can actually prevent you from falling into a deep sleep. Drinking a glass or two before falling asleep can even cause you to wake up in the middle of the night, according to Reader’s Digest. Sleeping soundly throughout the nights is essential to feeling restored and energized the next day, so it may be a good idea to replace your night cap with a cup of tea.
2. Staying up late and oversleeping on weekends
Your responsibilities at school, work or with your family can make it challenging to get to bed exactly when you want to each night. However, it’s important that you are doing your best to maintain a consistent bedtime and avoid pulling all-nighters. Entrepreneur magazine noted that while you may find solace in knowing that you have the weekends to sleep as much as you want, having a different sleep schedule throughout the week can disrupt your body’s circadian rhythm, which is the 24-hour cycle that impacts cell regeneration, brain activity and hormone production.
3. Drinking caffeine after lunch
A lot of coffee drinkers believe that their bodies are so used to the hot beverage that it doesn’t affect them. While they might not feel the spike in energy as much as a those who consume less coffee, the caffeine stays in everyone’s system for 12 hours. You many not realize it, but it’s possible that you could be getting a better quality rest each night if you stayed away from coffee after noon.
4. Using electronics too close to bedtime
Many experts believe that using electronics, whether it’s your laptop, phone or TV, right before going to bed will make it a lot harder to fall asleep. This is particularly true when people use their devices for interactive activities, such as texting, emailing or playing computer games. This stimulates brain activity, prevents the mind from shutting down and can even promote insomnia.
5. Never taking time to relax
If you tend to go right from work to bed without leaving yourself time to relax, you may experience difficultly drifting off. Your brain needs to be able wind down, so when it comes time to slide underneath the covers for another night’s sleep, it’s prepared to turn off.
“You can’t expect to fall asleep quickly when you try to go straight from work-mode to bed,” Daniel Taylor, associate professor of psychology at the University of North Texas, told Entrepreneur. “Taking at least an hour each night to unplug from your day can help you sleep more soundly. You could use that time to take a hot shower or bath.”
Make sure that you identify which activities relax you and leave time for them, whether they include reading a chapter or two from your book or watching an episode of your favorite TV show.