Do you ever go to bed and wake up feeling like you didn’t sleep at all? Even if you think you got your recommended eight hours of sleep, you might be making mistakes that hinder the quality of your sleep. Here’s a list of things to NEVER do before you hit the hay:
- Drink alcohol. If you have a glass of wine every night to relax you and help you get sleepy, it really isn’t doing you any favors in terms of quality sleep. Drinking alcohol before bed can help you fall asleep faster, but it disrupts your sleep later in the night and you won’t get quality rest.
- Read on your iPad, text or use your smart phone or watch TV. The blue light from electronics can mess up your internal circadian clock and prevents the production of melatonin, which makes you sleepy. There are orange glasses you can buy that helps reduce the effects of the light from electronics. Your best bet is to avoid all electronics an hour before you plan to go to sleep. This can be hard in this day and age, so pick a few relaxing activities you’ll look forward to each night instead of dreading turning off the TV and your phone. You could take a bath, read a book (either printed or e-reader with no lighted screens), color or write, or connect with a loved one in person.
- Drink caffeine in the late afternoon or evening. Drinking a cup of coffee near dinner time can still mess up your sleep. Stop drinking caffeine at least six hours before you plan to go to bed.
- Text a friend or check social media. You may think this goes hand in hand with avoiding the electronic screens, but it also has to do with keeping you awake. If you start talking to a loved one or get engrossed in Instagram, chances are you’ll stay awake much longer than you intended to and have a disrupted sleep. How often have you tossed and turned waiting for someone to text you back or after seeing a disturbing post online?
- Snack on junk foods too close to bedtime. Eating too much before you go to bed in general can disrupt your sleep because your body is more focused on digestion instead of sleep. Eating junk foods with lots of sugar is even worse. You’ll also want to avoid any spicy foods or anything that could keep you up with heart burn or stomach aches. If you’re hungry before bed, try having some tea (just avoid any with caffeine). If you still need a snack, try something easy to digest and light like yogurt.
- Drink lots of water. While drinking lots of water and staying hydrated is great for you, drinking a lot too close to bedtime will only wake you up for bathroom visits and disrupt your sleep. This also goes along with avoiding alcohol because it makes you pee more.
- Work out before bed or do something stimulating. It can be hard to wind down if you are doing an activity that uses a lot of focus or energy. Aim to work out or do any stimulating activity a few hours before you plan to go to bed.
Do you do any of these things you shouldn’t do before bed? How do you sleep usually? Share with us!