Are you a restless sleeper or do you have trouble sleeping? Common sleep mistakes you’re making might mean you’re not getting enough sleep, which can harm our health; it’s essential if we want to be productive throughout the day.
Sleep coordinates brain and physical function, including hormone regulation, mood, appetite, immune function and alertness, among other things. However, many people don’t make it a priority in their lives. Work, family and fun all conspire to eat away at hours better spent resting. For example, did you know that sleeping with pets and using gadgets before you go to bed could be negatively affecting your sleep? The problem has become so endemic in the America that the CDC has classified insufficient sleep a “public health epidemic.”
Fortunately, there are some lifestyle changes you can make to help improve your nights. UK-based bed company Dreams has created the following infographic. It lists seven of the most common sleep mistakes you might be making that you’re unaware of, and how to fix them.
7 Sleep mistakes you don’t know you’re making and how to fix them
Are you having trouble sleeping? You’re not alone:
- 22% of people sleep poorly most nights.
- 47% of people say stress or worry keeps them awake at night.
- 49% of people have never taken steps to help them sleep.
Counting sheep and listening to lullabies can only get you so far. Here are some common bedtime mistakes you might not know you’re making—and how to avoid them.
Caffeinated midnight snacking
Caffeine is a stimulant and in moderate doses can block sleep neurotransmitters causing insomnia. Refined sugars, however, can stress the organs in charge of hormone regulation—causing you to wake in the night as your levels fluctuate.
Solution: Snack on foods that contain tryptophan. This amino acid is needed by the body to produce serotonin, which in turn makes melatonin—a hormone that helps control your sleeping cycles.
Catching up on sleep
Sleeping debt is a common misconception: you accumulate lost hours of rest that you can pay back later on, and your body will be fine.
Solution: It isn’t a straight balance. Most people usually need two or three good nights’ sleep to get back to normal after serious sleep deprivation.
Sleeping with pets
According to research, 63% of pet owners who shared their bed or bedroom with their pet experienced restlessness.
Solution: Keep your pets in a different room. If they’re exceptionally noisy, consult your vet to rule out any medical problems—they might be making sleep mistakes themselves!
Hitting the snooze button
Any extra sleep you get is fragmented, making it low quality. You also prepare the body for a new sleep cycle that you won’t have time to finish, resulting in fatigue throughout the day.
Solution: Set your alarm for when you actually need to get up, and try to do it for the same time every day. This regularity will hopefully mean you should wake up without the need for an alarm.
Having a nightcap
Though alcohol does allow healthy people to fall asleep quicker, it reduces REM sleep—the phase of sleep associated with deep dreaming. And any disruptions in REM sleep may cause daytime drowsiness.
Solution: Avoid drinking alcohol just before you go to bed. On average, it takes an hour for the body to process one unit of alcohol. Instead, opt for herbal teas, such as camomile, which have a sedative effect.
Using technology before bed
78% of people use a smartphone, tablet or laptop before going to bed. But these emit blue light, which is said to delay the production of melatonin, the sleep inducing-hormone.
Solution: Give yourself a tech curfew, and move your electronic devices out of the bedroom altogether.
Leaving the TV on
38% of people watch TV to wind down for sleep. However, watching TV before bedtime encourages you to stay up later, harming the sleep cycle and leading to poor quality sleep.
Solution: Keep TVs out of the bedroom. Alternatively, listen to the radio to help yourself fall asleep. With a few changes to your bedtime routine, you’ll hopefully be dozing off in no time.
Are you guilty of making any of these sleep mistakes? Once you’ve trained yourself to be better rested, find out how to take back your mornings.