We know how important habits are. Many people try to cultivate good ones, like eating healthier, reading more, or getting more sleep.
Unfortunately, sometimes we unintentionally prepare for failure. especially when it comes to sleeping. What we don’t always realize is that some of the things we do before bed might actually make our fags worse.
We turned to several experts to find out which of our seemingly innocent nighttime habits aren’t conducive to restful sleep. Here’s what to avoid.
1. Postponing bedtime
We all have busy lives and sometimes we just don’t manage to finish our to-do lists during the day. To compensate for this we will try to catch up at night.
This has increased during the Covid-19 pandemic and according to Dr. Ashwini Nadkarni, an associate psychiatrist and educator at Harvard Medical School, lead to poor overall sleep quality.
“So many people spend the last few minutes of the day ‘catching up’ not only with work duties but also with household needs,” Nadkarni tells HuffPost.
“For example, in the last 30 minutes before bed, people can jot down lists of chores they need to do around the house, responsibilities they have to fulfill on behalf of their children, or reply to work emails they may have missed .” She continues.
“This might feel like a version of switching off, although it can actually trigger nighttime ruminations and a level of arousal about additional planning for the next day, which in turn impacts sleep onset latency and worsens overall sleep quality.”
2. Drink alcohol before bed
We know reaching for your favorite alcoholic beverage sounds like the perfect way to unwind from a long day, but it could also be the reason you’re not sleeping.
Chelsie Rohrscheib, a sleep expert and neuroscientist at Wesper, a home tool for diagnosing sleep disorders and improving sleep, says that while alcohol is initially sedative, it becomes problematic as it’s metabolized by the liver and broken down into new chemicals.
“When alcohol breaks down, it turns into a chemical that affects the brain’s sleep centers and prevents deep sleep and REM sleep, which makes the second half of your night more restless and causes frequent awakenings,” she says.
In addition, alcohol can lead to increased urination, so you may have to get up frequently to go to the bathroom. Rohrscheib recommends having your last alcoholic drink at least three to four hours before bedtime.
3. Interaction with technology
Even though we know we shouldn’t, it’s just so hard to resist reaching for a phone, iPad, or laptop in bed. dr However, Alex Dimitriu, a doctor certified in psychiatry and sleep medicine, urges people to try.
Dimitriu explains that screens are both bright with blue light and interactive, which is awakening.
“I ask all my patients to be ‘tech off’ by 10am, ideally no screens an hour or two before bed,” he says. “Reading is so much more conducive to a good night’s sleep than interacting with a smartphone until your last waking moment. Avoiding interactive or exciting stimuli before bed not only helps you fall asleep earlier, but also helps deepen sleep throughout the night as your brain slows down before bed.”
That includes watching TV in bed, adds Martin Reed, a board-certified clinical sleep health educator. “By watching TV in bed, we can teach ourselves that the bed is a place for watching TV — not a place reserved solely for sleeping,” Reed said. “Additionally, late-night TV can lead to binge-watching — particularly Netflix shows, which tend to automatically play a new episode as soon as one ends — which delays bedtime and leads to less time sleeping.”
If you can’t avoid screens entirely, Dr. Deepti Agarwal, director of interventional and integrative pain management at Case Integrative Health, to invest in good blue light glasses.
“If glasses aren’t your style, there are also many screen protectors or phone applications that block blue light. Then you can enjoy your favorite relaxation show and avoid negative influences on your sleep,” she says.
4. Doom scrolling
The act of doomscrolling refers to constantly scrolling through bad news on social media. But before Doomscrolling, people watched TV news for hours. Both Doomscrolling and Doomwatching are harmful to your mental health, but they can also affect your sleep.
Heather Turgeon and Julie Wright, sleep experts and authors of Generation Sleepless, believe that watching the news two hours before bedtime is a big sleep thief.
“Today’s terrifying news cycle is a good example of a habit that can make it very difficult to fall asleep,” they both said in an email. “When we go straight from the intense emotional stimulation of breaking news and all the worry it unleashes in our already overactive minds to lying in bed and trying to sleep, we’re probably lying awake instead.”
5. Evening training
It is generally recommended to avoid vigorous exercise at least 90 minutes before bedtime. While many people opt for a nighttime exercise program to “tire themselves out,” according to Stephen Light, a certified sleep science coach, these workouts can make for a night of troubled sleep.
“Avoid workouts that make you sweat an hour before bed,” he says. “It can be cardio, heavy lifting, or high-intensity interval training. Instead, opt for workouts like pilates, yoga, or an evening stroll if you feel the need to expend some extra energy. Workouts that focus on relieving muscle tension can help you avoid aches and pains, which can keep you awake due to discomfort.”
6. Not having a relaxation routine
Good sleep requires foreplay, which means creating a relaxation and bedtime routine. Carley Prendergast, a board-certified sleep science trainer and sleep expert, said relaxation routines are important to prepare the body and mind for relaxation and optimal sleep.
“Finding a relaxing routine will help the brain produce melatonin, which eventually leads to sleep,” she says. “Maybe you should reconsider going to bed around the same time every night. This can help establish the circadian rhythm – the body’s sleep-wake cycle. Other calming activities could be a warm bath, skin care, reading a book, etc.”
7. Eating high-sugar foods
It’s best to avoid foods that quickly spike your blood sugar before bed, Rohrscheib says
“If your blood sugar rises rapidly, it causes a blood sugar crash as soon as it’s cleared from your system,” she says. “A blood sugar crash often leads to hypoglycemia and can wake you up in the middle of the night. If you need a snack before bed, grab foods with a low glycemic index, like oats, which help keep your blood sugar stable throughout the night.”
8. Keeping the temperature too warm
It may be tempting to turn up the heat or turn off the air conditioning, but warm temperatures can have a detrimental effect on the quality of your sleep. The brain and body must go through a slight drop in temperature to initiate and maintain sleep.
According to Rohrscheib, “When we are too warm, our bodies have to work harder to cool us down and keep us cool, and this is very disruptive to sleep. Try to keep your bedroom temperature between 66-70°F [18-21°C]. In the summer months, use fans, crack open windows, or use cooling technologies like a cooling pad to reduce the risk of overheating.”
9. Spending too much time in bed
The time we allocate to sleep should be in line with our average nightly sleep duration, Reed said. That means if you typically get about seven hours of sleep each night, it’s best to not allocate much more than about seven and a half or eight hours in bed.
“Many people who struggle with sleep problems take too much time to sleep to try and get more sleep,” he said. “That sounds logical – because if you spend more time in bed, you also have more opportunities to sleep.”
But spending more time in bed when you’re already struggling to sleep can be counterproductive.
“If you’re already struggling to sleep, then spending more time in bed will simply keep you awake in bed longer instead of sleeping longer,” says Reed. “This leads to more tossing and turning throughout the night and more worry, stress and anxiety related to being awake in bed. Over time, this creates an association between bed, worry and being awake – instead of sleep and relaxation. That makes it difficult to sleep.”
10. Using your bedroom as an office
Finally, doubling your bedroom as an office space could add to your sleepless nights.
“When we use our bedroom as an office, we create an association with wakefulness,” says Morgan Adams, a holistic sleep coach for women. “Our beds should be a signal for sleep, so working in our beds weakens that association. If you’ve been working from your bed all day, you might have a harder time falling asleep as you may have trouble turning off your “working brain.”
https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/harmless-nighttime-habits-that-are-secretly-ruining-your-sleep_uk_62b60188e4b06169caa687d1 10 ‘Harmless’ Nighttime Habits That Are Secretly Ruining Your Sleep