Getting enough sleep is a key factor for a happy and healthy lifestyle. Despite this fact, many people struggle with getting to bed and switching off at night. It seems that when we’re feeling stressed or anxious that sleep is the first aspect of our lives to suffer.
Sleep is something we all do on a nightly basis but most of us still aren’t getting enough of it. It’s easy when it’s been part of your evening routine to overlook something that could be playing a detrimental part to your sleep quality. Most of which are minor and just call for a slight adjustment in our pre-sleep routines. But what are the most common mistakes we’re making before we hit the hay?
Too Much Caffeine
Caffeine may seem like a great idea for a quick energy boost at the time but too much caffeine throughout the day, especially towards bedtime, can have a disruptive impact on your sleep schedule. This unfortunately often leads to a vicious cycle where feeling tired leads individuals to depend on caffeine to stay awake and alert, in turn becoming more sleep deprived. Caffeine can even stay in your system from as early as 12pm (I know, us too! We love our afternoon pick me ups!) If you find yourself lying awake at night, why not try switching to decaff or giving herbal tea a try instead?
Eating Before Bed
Being kept up at night and not too sure why? If you tend to have your meals closer to bedtime that might just be the cause. Experts suggest that eating too close to bedtime can actually harm your sleep! Food often signals wakefulness in the brain and releases hormones that help us to convert food into energy. Eating three to four hours before you go to sleep is optimal for those in need of a great night’s sleep. This should ensure you don’t go to bed feeling too full and can also help reduce discomfort for those who are prone to heartburn.
Bringing Electronics to Bed
Screens are an important part of everyday life and that doesn’t look to be changing anytime soon. However, staying up at night and scrolling through social media has been proven to be massively disruptive to our natural sleep cycles in more ways than one. Blue light, which is widely used on electronic display screens, has been shown to negatively impact our circadian rhythms by blocking the release of sleep hormones like melatonin. Try reducing electronic usage at least an hour before bed, sleeping with your phone on silent and using an alarm clock to help reduce dependency on screens.
Not Taking the Time to Unwind
Modern life can be busy and it’s not uncommon for people’s sleep to suffer because of this. Coming up with a great nightime routine can be a great antidote for those who struggle to switch off. In order to prepare our body and mind for sleep we need to relax and unwind before bed. Experts recommend setting aside 1-2 hours for this practice. During this time try to do activities you enjoy like going for a gentle stroll, listening to music or reading a good book.
Not Exercising Enough
A regular exercise routine has long been found to correlate with a better night’s sleep. Did you know that just a single 30-minute exercise session can reduce the time it takes you to fall asleep? It can also make your sleep longer and at a better quality. Gentle exercise like yoga, swimming and walking has been shown to be more affective at improving sleep than vigorous workouts like weightlifting. So, if getting to sleep is something you struggle with then why not try building some gentle exercise into your daily routine?
Sleep is a vital part of health and wellbeing for a happy and fulfilling lifestyle. We hope you’ve learnt some of the five most common mistakes people make regarding sleep and can build these into your own sleep routines. What mistakes do you make when it comes to sleep and how did you remedy them?