Getting a good night’s sleep doesn’t just set you up for a good day ahead, it preps you for a entire week of productive energy! Most adults are suggested to get 7 – 8 hours of sleep each night, which for some of us is just downright unrealistic. Let’s face it, there are just some nights where work, play, or anxiety just keep us up way past our bedtime.
This is usually a recipe for disaster, forcing you to yank yourself out of bed in a fog or even to sleep through your alarm. Then you’re tripping over yourself to get dressed, you don’t have time to make breakfast…the cycle goes on and on. It all goes back to your poor night’s sleep.
Well, studies have shown that there are some behaviors that might encourage a not-so-restful sleep, or even no sleep at all. By identifying these 11 behaviors and cutting them out of the bedroom, you can be well on your way to getting the zen z’s you deserve.
1. Do Not Take a Hot Shower
This might sound counter-intuitive, because a nice, relaxing hot shower is a part of many of our nighttime routines. But “relaxing” actually isn’t the right word.
Our body becomes sleepy because the hormone melatonin is released into our system. Melatonin is only released when there is a decrease in light and temperature; a.k.a. when your body knows it’s time to sleep. So if there is too much light or the body is too warm, melatonin will not be released and the body will not start to shut down.
It might seem like a luxury, but in actuality, a hot shower is sabotaging your good night’s sleep.
2. Get Off Your Phone
In this day and age, most of us are glued to our phones 24/7. But bringing your electronic best friend into the bedroom is actually terrible for your sleep schedule!
Even something as simple as scrolling through Instagram or checking your email keeps your brain alert, which makes it more difficult to fall asleep. Experts say to turn off your phone at least 10 minutes before your head hits the pillow.
3. Don’t Have a Big Dinner
Our bodies can do some amazing things, but one thing they struggle with is multitasking. For instance, digesting and sleeping are two things the body struggles with doing at the same time.
To avoid this, don’t eat right before bed and ESPECIALLY don’t eat a big protein-packed dinner that will be even harder to digest.
4. Don’t Drink Coffee Too Late
Having another mug of coffee to pull yourself out of the 3 PM slump is standard, but it also sets up your system for a restless evening and a not-so-peaceful sleep. When you hit that late afternoon wall, try an energy-boosting snack instead of more caffeine.
5. Don’t Stress About Sleep
If sleeping is something you know you struggle with, try not to stress about it too much. Any type of stress right before bed will mess with your cycle, but stressing ABOUT sleeping? That’s even worse.
When you’re laying in bed and you can’t sleep, experts recommend that you get out of bed and walk around. Try meditation, deep breathing, and decaffeinated tea to calm your body down and prepare it to rest.
6. Don’t Fall Asleep With the TV
I am a huge culprit of this one, it’s something I’m trying to work on! If your phone disrupts the mind before bed, just image what the TV does. Besides keeping your senses alert, the TV goes against the type of environment you need to set up in your bedroom for the most melatonin to be released: dark, cool, and quiet.
When something is bright, loud, and distracting right in your bedroom? You melatonin is not going to love that.
7. Don’t Have a Drink
Some of us might be used to having a little cocktail before bed, but numerous studies have found that this “relaxing” hot toddy can really mess with your system during sleep.
The problem is that a drink before bed actually robs you of REM sleep and forces you into deep sleep for longer. While this might SOUND good, REM is a crucial part of your sleep cycle, as it aids with memory and learning.
8. Don’t Hit Snooze
Now this is one that comes into play after sleep, not before. When your alarm is blaring and you’re shaken out of sleep, most of us (myself included) have the habit of hitting snooze and allowing yourself just a few more minutes of rest.
Little do we know that this is sabotaging our morning energy. Falling back a sleep for “just a few more minutes” ruins your timed out sleep schedule, making you groggier when you finally get up. You’re actually better off setting your alarm for a later time than falling into the snooze button trap.
9. Don’t Be Reliant on Meds
While sleep medication might seem good in theory, but they can lead to some serious issues like addiction, serious health risks, and even death. Consider sleep meds like a Band-Aid that can temporarily help with a problem, but can’t fix your sleeping habits.
You have to do that yourself, unfortunately.
10. Don’t Brush Right Before Bed
Now we would never tell you to not brush your teeth, you should be doing it twice a day! But brushing right before you hit the hay can actually disrupt your sleep. Peppermint has been found to stimulate the brain, keeping you awake and alert. And when you’re looking for a good night’s sleep, awake and alert is not what you want.
Either switch to a different flavor of toothpaste, or brush a little bit before you go to sleep.
11. Don’t Exercise Before Bed
We get it, you’re busy. Sometimes you have to settle with a post-work workout because, well, there’s no other time. But the earlier you can get in that workout, the better.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommend avoiding rigorous exercise within six hours of bedtime, because natural stimulants like adrenaline produced during exercise have the potential to disrupt sleep.
Do you do have any of these before bed habits? Do you find that they, or any other bad habits, mess with your sleep cycle? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.