There is no questioning the fact that our sleep is important, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 1 in 3 American adults aren’t getting enough of it! While there are a number of different factors out of your control that could be impacting your sleep, there are also many that you do have the power to fix.
We may not realize it, but the little choices that we make throughout our day, especially right before crawling into our bed at night, can drastically alter our ability to get a well-rested sleep. From preventing our ability to truly slow down and relax to creating disruptions throughout the night, these mistakes may be leaving us drained and exhausted. The good news is that they are all relatively easy to fix, so long as you take the time to identify them in your own life.
Avoid these 14 common mistakes for a better night’s sleep:
#1 – Bedtime Routine
This may sound like something that you would stress to a child but having a solid bedtime routine can make a significant difference! Why? Your brain is a creature of habit, so establishing a set pattern of behaviors that it can associate with time to slow down and prepare for sleep. This may include brushing your teeth or putting on your comfortable pajamas.
#2 – Avoid Electronics
This doesn’t just mean sitting your phone on your bedside table. If you are genuinely looking for a good night’s sleep leave all electronics out of the bedroom at night. Do you currently use your phone as an alarm? A cheap alarm can be picked up at most dollar stores. Your quality of sleep is worth a couple dollars! End all screen time at least two hours before bed.
#3 – Your Alarm Clock
Sure, your alarm clock serves a pretty important function, waking you up in the morning, but your choice of alarm clock may actually be keeping you up at night as well. We are far more sensitive to light than many of us realize, and a bright alarm clock may disturb your sleep. When choosing an alarm clock, pay attention to the amount of light it’s going to produce throughout the night.
#4 – Exercising
While exercising may make you feel exhausted, it also triggers a number of others changes in the body. One of which is the release of adrenaline, helping you to stay active and moving. Unfortunately, this adrenaline is going to keep you wide away for quite awhile. If you want to include an evening workout in your schedule, make sure it ends at least 3 hours before bedtime.
#5 – Skip the Caffeine
This isn’t saying you shouldn’t have caffeine ever, in fact, I am a HUGE supporter of a strong cup of coffee to help get you moving in the morning. However, consider that statement for a moment. If you use a cup of coffee to get you moving in the morning, you shouldn’t be surprised that having a cup at night will keep you awake. Starting 4 hours before bedtime, avoid all caffeine.
#6 – Put Down the Alcohol
You may believe the exact opposite, as drinking can often lead to passing our relatively easy. However, what many don’t realize is that the quality of sleep that you get when you have been drinking is significantly lower than when you climb into bed sober. Waking up from a night of alcohol-fueled sleep doesn’t leave you feeling rested and relaxed, and there’s a reason for that.
#7 – Avoid Fluids Before Bed
Many of us have the habit of grabbing a glass of water as part of our bedtime routine but drinking fluids directly before bed will actually disturb your sleep. How? What goes in, must come out, and if you are drinking a glass of water that close to when you fall asleep then your bladder will be waking you up when the time comes.
#8 – Cold Feet
If your feet are cold right around the time that you’re considering climbing into bed, take a few extra minutes to warm them up, or put on a pair of socks. Socks are also your friend if you are prone to cold feet during the night as they could wake you up, ruining the quality of your sleep.
#9 – Eating Before Bed
Some people seriously struggle with midnight snacking, grabbing something to eat before bed each night. However, going to sleep with a full stomach can actually prevent a good sleep. When your body is in the process of digestion, it hinders it from being able to shut down enough to create that state of rest and relaxation that sleep requires. Avoiding eating anything in the 2 hours before crawling into bed.
#10 – Pick Up a Book
Now that you have given up your electronics, what are you going to do when you first start getting ready for bed? Experts say that curling up with a good book is a great way to help you relax, leaving the stress of the day behind. Studies show that just 6 minutes of reading can reduce stress by up to 68%! However, don’t make this the last thing you do. Reading is still an act of wakefulness and can prevent your brain from shutting off. Instead, try scheduling your reading time before the rest of your bedtime routine.
#11 – Skip the Nap
If you are struggling with sleep, then try skipping that afternoon naps. They may make you feel rested at the time, but by laying down in the afternoon you are altering the body’s natural sleeping routine. This can create problems when you really want to go to bed. Instead, stay productive throughout your afternoon and go to bed that little bit earlier at night. If you do need a nap to get through your day, keep it short and earlier in the day.
#12 – Sleeping Positions
There is a lot said about the various sleeping positions you may enjoy, and which are best for your overall health and well-being, but much of this advice overlooks the fact that some sleeping patterns simply promote a better sleep! Experts suggest sleeping on your left side.
#13 – Temperature
Whether you are too hot or too cold at night, it can have a significant impact on your ability to get a well-rested sleep. The National Sleep Foundation reports that you should keep your bedroom at approximately 65 degrees Fahrenheit for your best night’s sleep. If you find this isn’t quite the right temperature for you personally (we’re all unique) opt to go a little on the cooler side.
#14 – Mattress Quality
I always laughed when people talked about just how important the quality of your mattress is until I purchased a new one… A high-quality mattress will promote a deeper, better-rested sleep. If you have been wavering on upgrading, and your sleep quality isn’t where you want it to be, you won’t regret it!