10 ‘Seemingly harmless’ Nighttime Habits That Are Secretly Depriving You of Sleep

We are all aware of the importance of habits. Many people seek to cultivate positive habits, such as eating healthier, learning more, and sleeping more.

Sadly, we sometimes unwittingly set ourselves up for failure, especially when it comes to sleep. What we don’t often realise is that a few of the things we do before to bedtime may really be detrimental to our sleep.

We contacted a variety of professionals to see which of our apparently harmless evening behaviours are detrimental to a peaceful night’s sleep. Here are some things to stay away from:

1. Not Getting Ready for Bed on Time

Because our schedules are so full, most of the time we are unable to complete everything on our daily to-do lists throughout the day. In order to make up for this, we are going to make an effort to catch up on our sleep throughout the night.

This has been more prevalent during the COVID-19 epidemic, and according to Dr. Ashwini Nadkarni, an affiliate psychiatrist and an instructor at Harvard Medical Faculty, it may result in a decrease in the overall quality of one’s sleep.

“So many people will spend the last few minutes of the day ‘catching up,’ not just on work responsibilities but also on the needs of their families,” Nadkarni told HuffPost. “Catch-up” may refer to professional responsibilities or family needs.

“For instance, people may jot down lists of chores they need to get done around the house, commitments they need to complete on behalf of their children, or responses to work emails that they might have missed,” she explained. “This might be the last half an hour before night.” “This may actually seem like a model of slowing down when in actuality, it may encourage evening rumination and an arousal stage regarding further preparation for the following day, which, in turn, impacts sleep onset latency and worsens overall sleep good quality,”

2. Consuming Alcohol In The Hours Leading Up To Bedtime

We are all aware that going for your preferred alcoholic beverage at the end of a long day may seem like the best way to relax, but it is also possible that this is the reason you are having trouble falling asleep and staying asleep.

According to Chelsie Rohrscheib, a sleep expert and neuroscientist at Wesper, an at-home device for diagnosing sleep problems and improving the quality of sleep, although alcohol is initially sedating, it becomes problematic as it is metabolised and broken down into new chemical compounds by the liver.

“When alcohol is broken down, it transforms into a chemical that effects the sleep facilities of the mind and hinders deep sleep and REM sleep,” she said. “This causes the second part of the night to be more stressful and causes numerous awakenings.” Alcohol is a depressant.

In addition, alcohol may produce increased urination, which means that you may have to constantly get up to use the restroom if you drink too much of it. It was Rohrscheib’s recommendation that the last alcoholic beverage be had at least three to four hours before going to bed.

3. Engaging With Those Who Are Qualified

Even if we are aware that we shouldn’t, it is very difficult to refrain from going for our phones, tablets, or laptops while we are lying in bed. In spite of this, Dr. Alex Dimitriu, a physician who is board-certified in both psychiatry and sleep medicine, encourages people to give it a go.

Dimitriu said that screens are bright with blue light and interactive, both of which are designed to promote wakefulness.

He remarked, “I urge all of my patients to ‘tech off at 10,’ and in an ideal world, there should be no screens one to two hours before night.” “Studying is far more favourable to healthy sleep than chatting with a smartphone till the very last awake second,” the author writes in the introduction to the book. Avoiding stimulating activities in the hours leading up to bedtime not only makes it easier to drop off sooner in the evening, but it also helps you have more restful sleep over the course of the night. This is because your mind starts to wind down as you get closer to falling asleep.

Martin Reed, a certified medical sleep health educator, pointed out that this also includes activities such as watching television while lying in bed. “Once we watch TV in mattress, we are able to prepare ourselves that the mattress is a space for watching TV — rather than a spot dedicated totally for sleep,” said Reed. “Once we watch TV in mattress, we are able to prepare ourselves that the mattress is a spot for watching TV.” “In addition, watching television late at night can lead to binge-watching, particularly when one is watching Netflix shows, which are likely to autoplay a recent episode as soon as the previous one concludes. This can delay going to bed, which in turn results in significantly less time spent sleeping.”

In conclusion, for those individuals who are unable to completely abstain from the use of electronic displays, Dr. Deepti Agarwal, director of interventional and integrative pain management at Case Integrative, has some advice. In the sake of your health, it is highly recommended that you invest in a decent set of blue-light blocking glasses.

“If glasses aren’t your thing, there are also a tonne of screen covers and applications for smartphones that block blue light. Then you’ll be able to take pleasure in your favourite present to wind down with and keep away from any disruptive impacts in your sleep, she claimed.

If you haven't yet, it's time to ditch your nighttime phone habit.

If you have not but, it is time to ditch your nighttime telephone behavior.

4. Doomscrolling (Doom Scrolling)

Doomscrolling is the practise of scrolling through hazardous content on social networking platforms on a regular basis. People used to spend a significant amount of time in the days before the invention of doomscrolling watching the news on television. Both “doomwatching” and “doomscrolling” are terrible for your mental health, but they may also make it difficult for you to go to sleep at night.

Sleep experts Heather Turgeon and Julie Wright, who are also the authors of the book “Technology Sleepless,” have concurred that viewing news updates in the two hours before going to bed is a significant factor in disrupting one’s sleep.

They each remarked in an e-mail, “Today’s horrifying information cycle is an effective example of a conduct that may make it much more difficult to drop off to sleep.” “If we go immediately from the extraordinary emotional stimulation of a breaking news story and all the problems it triggers in our already overactive minds, to lying down in bed and attempting to sleep, we are likely to lie awake as a substitute for sleeping,” says researcher Matthew Walker. “If we go directly from the extraordinary emotional stimulation of a breaking news story to trying to sleep, we are likely to lie awake as a result.”

Read more: There are 15 Easy Ways to Make Today a Better Day for Someone Else

5. Physical Activity at Night

When trying to get a good night’s sleep, it’s often a good idea to avoid intense exercise at least 90 minutes before going to bed. According to Stephen Mild, a certified sleep science coach, many people choose to have a late night workout routine as a technique to “wear themselves out.” However, these activities might create for a night of troubled sleep, so it’s best to avoid them if you want to get a good night’s rest.

“Avoid activities that cause you to break a sweat one hour before bedtime,” he said. “This will help you get a better night’s sleep.” “This might consist of cardiovascular exercise, weightlifting, or high-intensity interval training. If you are feeling the need to burn some more energy, rather than going for a nighttime walk, try activities like yoga or pilates instead. You may help prevent the aches and pains that will keep you awake at night by doing exercises that focus on reducing muscular stiffness.

6. Failing to maintain a regular wind-down routine

A relaxing wind-down and nighttime routine is something that should be established, since getting quality sleep demands preparation in advance. According to Carley Prendergast, a certified sleep science coach and sleep expert, wind-down practises are essential in the process of preparing the mind and body for rest and for the most restful sleep possible.

According to what she said, “discovering a peaceful pattern can help the mind in producing melatonin, which will finally lead to sleep.” “One may choose to investigate the possibility of creating the habit of going to bed around the same time each night. This may aid in establishing the circadian rhythm, often known as the sleep-wake cycle of the body. Taking a warm bath, paying attention to one’s appearance by caring for one’s skin, reading a calming book, and other activities may also be relaxing.

Reading before bed is a great wind-down routine.
Studying earlier than mattress is a superb wind-down routine.

7. Consuming Meals with an Excessive Amount of Sugar

According to Rohrscheib, it is best to remain away from foods that quickly boost your blood sugar levels before going to bed.

“When your blood sugar is suddenly raised, it generates a blood sugar collapse as soon as it is eliminated out of your system,” she said. “Blood sugar crashes are quite dangerous.” “If your blood sugar suddenly drops, you will most likely have hypoglycemia, which will cause you to wake up in the middle of the night. If you’re hungry before bed and want a snack, choose foods with a low glycemic index, such oats, which can help keep your blood sugar level consistent all through the night.

8. Keeping the temperature at a too high level

It may be tempting to crank up the heat or turn off the air conditioning, but sleeping in settings that are too warm may have a negative impact on the quality of your sleep. In order to induce and maintain sleep, both the body and the mind must be able to tolerate a temporary decrease in temperature.

According to Rohrscheib, “when we are too hot, our bodies have to work harder to cool us down and keep us cool, and this makes it extremely difficult for us to sleep.” Make an effort to keep the temperature in your bedroom between 66 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit at all times. To reduce the risk of overheating during the warm months, make use of fans, leave a few windows open, or make use of cooling technologies such as a cooling pad.

9. Lazing about in bed for an excessive amount of time

According to Reed, the amount of time that we set aside for sleeping has to be the same as the amount of time that we typically spend asleep each night. Therefore, if you typically sleep for approximately seven hours each night, you shouldn’t spend more than about seven and a half or eight hours in bed. This is because your body will start to feel overtired after that amount of time.

“Many people who fight with sleep allocate an excessive quantity of time for sleep as a means of making an effort to attain more sleep,” he said. “This makes perfect sense; after all, those who spend more time in mattress have access to an additional sleeping option.”

However, spending more time in bed may not be helpful for those who are already experiencing difficulty falling or staying asleep.

“If you’re already having trouble sleeping, then spending more time in bed won’t help you get more sleep; instead, it will only result in more time awake in bed,” Reed said. This leads to an increased amount of tossing and turning during the night, as well as an increased amount of worry, tension, and nervousness connected with being awake in bed. Over time, this establishes an association between the mattress, fear, and alertness — rather than sleep and rest. This is because sleep and rest are associated with being on the mattress. This makes it more difficult to go to sleep.”

10. Using Your Bedroom as a Workplace 10. Using Your Bedroom as a Workplace

Last but not least, the fact that you utilise your bedroom as an office can be making it difficult for you to fall or stay asleep.

“When we utilise our bedroom as an office, we are developing an association with alertness,” said Morgan Adams, a holistic sleep coach for women. “This may have a negative impact on our ability to go asleep and stay asleep.” Working in bed undermines the bed’s role as a signal for sleep, which is why it shouldn’t be used for that purpose. It may be more difficult for you to fall asleep if you spent the whole day working from your bed, since you may have difficulty switching off your “working mind.”

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