Here are the 10 most common sleep mistakes people make and a few tips for avoiding them!
1. The snooze button
Don’t EVER hit the snooze button. It really is much more beneficial to just get up on your first alarm. Think about it – the snooze button gives you an extra 10 minutes or so sleep. In the grand scheme of your day this really won’t provide you with any more energy. In-fact it does the opposite. Research has shown that ‘interrupted sleep’ can cause us to feel more tired.
2. Disorganized sleeping habits
It’s much easier to get to sleep each night (and wake up feeling refreshed) if we have a regular routine. This means going to bed at roughly the same time each night and getting up at roughly the same time each morning. If you’re disorganized with your sleeping routine, you end up interrupting your natural sleeping rhythms, which can cause insomnia and fatigue.
3. Long naps
Long naps can disrupt your sleeping rhythms so if you’re desperate for a nap then keep it under the 30 minute mark (and before 4pm). Short naps after lunch can help to restore energy levels (just make sure you don’t sleep in).
Don’t drink any caffeinated drinks after mid-day. Caffeine stimulates your body for up to 12 hours after consumption so it’s important to restrict your intake later in the day. Be aware of supposed ‘herbal’ drinks such as green tea, which can have a high dose of caffeine. Always check the label.
5. Stress & negative thinking
Stress is a large reason why many people find it difficult to sleep. One of the worse things you can do is be stressed before bed. Stress produces chemicals that physically stop us from sleeping. Try and clear your mind before bed time and make an effort to think positive thoughts that aid sleep.
6. Too much light
Our bodies depend on ‘sleep signals’ to fall asleep and one of those signals is darkness. Make sure your room is as dark as possible before trying to get to sleep. Even a thin stream of light coming in through your window can disrupt your pineal gland’s production of sleep hormones and therefore disturb your sleep rhythms, so make sure your blinds are closed!
7. Sugar before bedtime
Sugary snacks before bedtime are a really bad idea. The sugar can disrupt the chemicals in your body causing you to wake up during the night. Limit all late night sweet treats – if you’re hungry go for a protein based snack instead.
8. Alcohol before bedtime
Alcohol is a sedative and therefore people get fooled into thinking it will help them get a good nights sleep. The reality is that it may initially induce sleep, however it usually drastically impairs sleep during the second half of the night which leads to interrupted sleep patterns that will leave you feeling fatigued in the morning (not to mention the hangover!)
9. TV in the bedroom
It can be easy to fall asleep on the couch in front of the TV. It’s important we don’t try and replicate this strategy in the bedroom though. The bedroom must only be associated with sleep (and sex). When you start to introduce mental stimulation such as a TV this can severely disrupt your sleep patterns.
10. Worrying about sleep
If you’ve had a few bad nights sleep, then the worst thing you can do is worry too much about it. When we place too much focus on sleeping this can cause anxiety and only make the problem worse. Try to go with the flow and let your body naturally get into a healthy sleep pattern.
Stepcase Lifehack August 28, 2012, Zoe B