You might have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a medical condition like insomnia. In fact, because drugs that help you sleep – whether prescription or over-the-counter – can be habit-forming, it is best to try to address your sleep problems before going to the doctor for a prescription or going to the pharmacy for a sleep aid.
In many cases, lifestyle factors are what really keeps people up – especially habits that they engage in right before bed. These are the most common habits that kill your sleep:
Using Electronics Before Bed
Many of us use our electronics throughout the day, and too many of us use them into the night. Whether it’s watching videos on your laptop, scrolling social media, or playing games, many scientists say that using electronics before bed could be keeping you up. Dr. Laurie Hollman, a psychologist, and writer state, “screen time at night keep adults from falling asleep and sleeping well due to cognitive stimulation.” She describes how screen time increases electrical activity, thus keeping your neurons actively engaged. When this occurs, your mind is constantly running and cannot fall asleep. This is supposedly because the artificial light, also called blue light, created by these devices messes with your body’s internal clock.
Learn in this short video more about the 6 night habits that hill your sleep.
What About Reading A Book?
The jury is out on reading a book in bed. Some sources say that it relaxes you to make falling asleep easier, but other sources say that with modern light bulbs it may be just as bad for you as electronics. Whether you’re afraid of artificial light or not, reading a book in bed can mean that you are either using light that is bright enough to keep you up longer or you are using light that is dim enough to strain your eyes.
However, reading is, in any case, a better alternative to using blue light emitting electronics before bed. The reason for that is that reading helps you to relax before sleeping because it helps to lower your levels of cortisol. Your mind gets distracted from daily stresses and worries and is brought into a calm state – the best prerequisite for restful sleep.
Drinking alcohol is often considered an evening or night activity, whether that’s a round with friends or a “nightcap” in your study. Alcohol can make many people feel relaxed and drowsy, and it can make you fall asleep longer. However, alcohol can mess with your sleep rhythms so that the sleep that you get isn’t as good.
Alcohol also makes it harder for your body to hold onto water, so too much alcohol before bed can have you waking up to use the bathroom all night.
Working Out Before Bed
Working out is good for you, but you shouldn’t do it right before bed. When you exercise, you experience a sudden burst of energy. If you wait to exercise too late in the evening, that energy may inhibit your ability to get a restful sleep. If you engage in cardio, your mind will become especially alert, thus preventing a quality nights rest.
Please also bear in mind that certain protein shakes taken after a workout can prevent someone from getting a full night’s rest. It’s key to know what’s in your post-workout formula to make sure you aren’t changing your sleeping patterns.
A short walk in the evening air can help you wind down, especially if you do it in place of playing on your phone, but anything too strenuous can wake you up and make it harder for you to fall asleep. As a result, it is best to schedule activities like jogging and weight-lifting for earlier in the day.
Yoga, however, is slower-paced and usually ends with “restorative poses” that help you to relax. There are even guided yoga sessions online that are meant to do before bed. If you didn’t fit in a workout earlier in the day, a yoga session can stretch and work out muscles without disrupting your sleep schedule.
Eating before bed can make you sleepy, but eating too much or eating the wrong kind of food can make it harder for you to stay asleep. Your body is supposed to be slowing down while you sleep, including your digestive system. As a result, trying to sleep on a full stomach means that your body has to decide if it wants to rest or digest.
- Eating certain kinds of foods, like foods that are high in fat make it harder to sleep well
- Avoid Heavy, Spicy Foods
- Watch out for Hidden Caffeine
- Minimize Protein since it is harder to digest and also has amino acid tyrosine something which promotes brain activity.
- Stop drinking liquids by eight o’clock, or else you risk having to get up to go to the bathroom.
Believe it or not, nightmares don’t stop with adulthood. In fact, many adults experience issues with sleeping due to these vivid dreams. Certain foods like dairy, are responsible for giving people extremely realistic dreams that result in nightmares.
When you’re dealing with personal stressors, they may manifest themselves in your dreams. Such common ones include:
- Your teeth falling out
- Falling out of a building
- Your partner cheating
- Being chased by something
These common themes all have underlying meanings that relate to how you are feeling about yourself. Unfortunately, they can also make for a pretty miserable nights rest.
Other supplementary causes of poor sleep may include medicine, room temperature, or lifestyle changes.
Getting a good night’s sleep has a lot to do with being physically and mentally relaxed. To restore the positive connection between going to bed, relaxation and falling asleep, it is important not to use the bed for alienated activities (e.g., work or television). If you are experiencing issues with sleep, act now to take back your relaxation. This will help you live your best, healthiest life.
However, while it’s good to be relaxed, if the things that relax you don’t agree with sleep biology, you may need to make some compromises. Having a larger dinner so that you aren’t starving before bed, avoiding electronics in bed, and not over-doing it on alcohol before bed can all help you to get more sleep and better quality sleep.