Have you ever had nights when you lie in bed, but can’t seem to fall asleep? Or felt drowsy and unable to focus during the day? Then you are one of the 20% of Americans who suffer from one of the 90 different types of sleep disorders. Sleep issues can have a negative effect on your quality of life, health, and career. They increase the risks of mental health conditions and long-term illnesses, such as diabetes and heart disease. But, you shouldn’t let these facts disrupt your beauty sleep because there are do’s and don’ts when it comes to healthy sleep habits. So, let’s see what you need to avoid in order to get some quality sleep time.
1. Turn off your electronic devices
Studies reveal that the blue light electronic devices emit is detrimental to sleep quality. It tricks your brain into thinking it’s daytime and thus prevents you from falling into a deep slumber. What is more, it keeps you awake since playing games or checking out online content stimulates the brain and provides a distraction. Experts advise to turn off tablets and cell phones for at least 30 to 60 minutes before it is time for bed.
2. Eat the right food
What you eat before bedtime is extremely important. Red meat and cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and cauliflower, energize your body and take a long time to digest. Sodas and spicy foods are also known to cause heartburn and indigestion preventing you from sleeping well through the night. Consuming too much can also disturb your sleep as eating a large meal before you hit the sack leads to hormone distribution and low-quality rest. Nutritionists advise eating earlier in the day, or having a light snack just before bed as an alternative. Acceptable options include peanut butter and crackers, or a turkey sandwich.
3. Say no to coffee
Coffee is a stimulant that makes it difficult to fall or stay asleep if consumed too close to bedtime. However, caffeine stays in your system for 4 to 7 hours, so even if you’ve had a cup of joe after lunch, chances are you will still feel its effects when you go to bed. Experts recommend 2 pm as the best time to limit your caffeine intake. They also suggest gradually reducing caffeine consumption throughout the day to ensure you catch as many zzz’s as possible.
4. Avoid alcoholic beverages
Even though having a nightcap can lull you off to sleep more easily, the effect of alcohol kicks in once the body has metabolized it. This usually happens in the second half of the night when the sedative effects of alcohol disappear. Alcohol arouses the brain and makes you wake up earlier, thus interrupting the flow of your sleep. You may not even feel these disruptions, but they affect the quality of sleep leading to feelings of fatigue and daytime sleepiness. Alcoholic drinks also block the most restorative sleep stage, REM sleep, and can cause breathing difficulties during the night.
5. No hot showers
Body temperature matters when it comes to quality sleep. When body temperature drops, we begin to feel sleepy. That’s why you should avoid hot showers and baths right before going to bed. Hot water gives your body a boost of energy stopping you from falling asleep. Cold showers have a similar effect and are also not recommended at night. The best option would be a lukewarm shower no later than 60 to 90 minutes before your head hits the pillow.
6. Steer clear of cigarettes
Cigarettes and cigars contain nicotine, another stimulant that disrupts sleep patterns. When consuming nicotine, your heart rise increases and you become more alert, making it all the more difficult to drift off to sleep. Also, the effects of nicotine wear off in a few hours and sleepers start to experience withdrawal symptoms. This situation leads to restless nights and makes you feel agitated and tired in the morning.
7. The right time for exercise
Exercise is essential to a healthy lifestyle, which improves sleep behavior. In fact, regular physical activity has been linked to improving symptoms of insomnia and sleep apnea. However, doing exercise gives you energy and speeds up the metabolism—both of which interfere with your sleep. If you want to reap the benefits of fitness, but still want to get a good night’s sleep, then avoid vigorous exercise at least 3 hours before bed. But, not all types of exercise are bad for you. Research shows that doing yoga or gentle stretching can work wonders towards a restful night.
Healthy sleep patterns are proven to improve health, productivity, and overall well-being. To make sure you get the sleep of your life, it is key to avoid some bad habits, not just prior to bedtime, but during the day as well. Perhaps these tips will make you more aware of what to stop doing to get the best quality and quantity out of your sleep time.