A lot of people around the world continue with their poor sleeping habits despite knowing how harmful it is for their health because of the fear of putting any extra effort. But what if we told you that correcting your regular sleep routine doesn’t always mean overhauling your entire lifestyle? You heard that right! Achieving a good sleep health can be simply brought on by letting go poor choices that we make in respect to sleeping. So, without further ado let us quickly find out some of the everyday bad sleeping habits that can be rectified without spending a lot of time, resources, or energy.
#01 Go Easy on the Caffeine
A cup of coffee does wonders for us in the daytime to boost our alertness and get rid of the drowsiness. However, caffeinated products like tea, coffee, chocolates, and some medicines can prove detrimental to our sleep schedule by messing up the sleep-wake cycle. Caffeine can block the adenosine receptors which then results in making it harder to doze off naturally. Most sleep experts therefore recommend stopping intake of caffeine at least 6 hours before bedtime.
#02 Avoid Exercising Before Bedtime
There has been a lot of conflicting research and debate regarding the effects of exercising before bedtime on our sleep quality. This report from Harvard Medical School has evaluated a total of 23 studies to come to the conclusion that modest sessions of working out might not affect the sleeping performance. However, more intense sessions before bedtime may lead to bad sleep quality and might require longer time to fall asleep at night. It is therefore advisable to get over with the exercising at least 120 minutes before bedtime to allow your body temperature and endorphin levels to get back to normal.
#03 Take Some Time to Relax
One of the biggest mistakes that we do in respect to our sleep health and mental wellbeing is that we do not find enough time for ourselves to lay back and relax for a while. Look for warning signs that point towards stress accumulation and take honest steps to get rid of it at the earliest. That’s because stress and poor sleep have a diabolical relationship where one can very well lead to the other in a never-ending cycle. It is therefore advisable to practice some healthy ways to deal with stress before bedtime such as listening to soft music, practicing meditation, taking a warm shower, maintaining a journal, etc. So next time you want to jump straight into bed after getting done with the day’s work, remember that you owe yourself a soothing session of stress-busting me-time.
#04 Common Bedroom Mistakes
It is not just the lifestyle mistakes that hinder our sleep but also the errors we commit while setting up our bedroom environment. For starters, do not allow the bed to be used for any other activity other than sleeping such as playing, studying, working, eating, watching TV, etc. Reserving the bed only for the act of sleeping helps in making it easier to fall asleep quicker. Do not allow any noise or bright light, whether internal or external, to enter your bedroom after sundown as an ideal bedroom environment is one which is dark and silent. If your mattress is old and worn out, get rid of it and invest in one which provides ample support and comfort to your body.
#05 Do Not Stray from your Sleep Schedule
A look at some of the sleeping habits of great people around the globe suggests that those with a healthy sleep health get at least 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Apart from the sleep quantity, it is also equally crucial to adhere to a sleep schedule tightly so that you wake up and go to sleep everyday around the same time. It is also recommended that you don’t allow your daytime naps to exceed beyond 30 to 40 minutes so that you do not have to stay awake for long before finally falling asleep at night. It becomes crucial to follow your bedtime routine with the same commitment even on weekends and holidays so that your circadian rhythm doesn’t go off the track.
#06 Get Off the Screen
One of the major habits leading to an overall poor sleep hygiene is the heightened exposure to electronic devices before bedtime. Laptops, smartphones, TV sets, and other blue-light emitting gadgets can prove very harmful to the regulation of your sleep hormones. The short wavelength emitting from blue light not only messes up your melatonin production but can also lead to several long-term eye defects like retinal damage, cataract, macular degeneration, etc. It is therefore advisable to wind up any screen related work at least 90 minutes before bedtime so that you can fall asleep naturally. We will in fact go a step ahead and caution against keeping any such items in your bedroom to further limit your interaction with them during bedtime.
#07 Mind what you Take before Bed
We often commit the mistake of eating a plentiful of supper before bedtime and find ourselves tossing in bed with indigestion and acid reflux. Food rich in fats, oils, and sugars can make it harder to get digested at night which is why it is advisable to finish your meals about 3 hours before bed. Avoid taking food items like fried chicken, hot sauce, spicy curries, pizza, etc., before bedtime. While drinking water is a great habit in the daytime, it is unadvisable to gulp down great quantity of water at night because that may lead to more toilet trips and frequent sleep disturbances. Also, try to avoid alcohol before bedtime as being a natural diuretic, alcohol may speed up the process of micturition and quickly dehydrate you, leading to a parched throat at night.
A good night’s sleep is a precious gift that your body deserves through a well maintained and healthy lifestyle. We hope that eliminating the poor sleeping habits will help you achieve the perfect sleep health for yourself.