Getting enough time to sleep seems more like a privilege these days. Sometimes you don’t have time to sleep eight hours a day. Other times, even if you slept eight hours, you still feel tired in the morning, and you can’t explain why.
Poor sleeping habits can affect you in many ways, including health issues, high blood pressure, and it’ll even make you gain weight. There’s a lot of healthy reason why you should get a good night’s sleep, but the most important reason is that it feels awesome.
But what if I told you there are ways for you to fall asleep faster and have a more quality sleep altogether? And what if I told you it all depends on what you do before you go to bed at night?
From not using your phone at night to not meditating so much during the day (yes, really), here are six things you need to stop doing if you want a good night’s sleep.
6. Don’t Drink Caffeine or Alcohol
Caffeine and alcohol are hard to quit, but if you want to sleep better, you’ll need to stop drinking them. At least late at night.
It shouldn’t be a surprise for you, but consuming any form of alcohol or caffeine late at night will keep you awake. But in addition, drinking coffee or beer at night will reduce the quality of your sleep. This is because both beverages are stimulants that’ll give you a boost of energy.
Hot chocolate produces the same effect at night. It’s best that you try to avoid drinking anything at night to give you a better night’s sleep. Plus, we already know drinking too much beer might give you other health problems.
5. Don’t Eat (Too Much) at Night
If you’re someone who’s always up for a late night snack, you might need to reconsider if you want to fall asleep faster.
According to a dietitian from Cone Health Nutrition and Diabetes Management, Kate Watts, RDN, LDN, CDE, eating late at night keeps our bodies working when they should be resting. Your metabolism starts to kick in and your body doesn’t get the deep sleep that’s necessary for a restful night.
Watts recommends that you should leave at least two hours between your last meal and bedtime. You should also try to eat enough during the day to avoid feeling hunger at night.
It’s also about what you eat, though. If you’re hungry at night, try to eat something like Greek yogurt, fruit and cheese, a small handful of almonds, veggies, hummus, or air-popped popcorn.
4. Control Your Naps During the Day
Taking a nap during the day can give you the necessary energy to keep working without losing your sanity, but you need to be careful with them or else you won’t be able to sleep at night, causing you to take another nap the next day, and creating a vicious cycle.
It’s been proven that taking short naps can help your body and brain function during the day, but try to keep them below the 30-minute mark so you avoid having trouble sleeping at night.
You should also consider when to take your naps. If you take naps too late in the day, you’ll confuse your body and won’t be able to fall asleep when you have to.
Try to keep them short, take them early during the day and around the same time during the day to avoid losing sleep at night.
3. Don’t Exercise Too Late at Night
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with daily workouts, and it’s been proven that exercising can help you improve the quality of your sleep, but you need to know when to work out, not to mention your overall health.
Always try to include exercise or some form of physical activity in your day to improve your sleep, but you also need to know when you should work out.
Avoid working out before your bedtime because, just like caffeine or food, exercise is a stimulant that’ll automatically wake your body up and fill it with energy, adrenaline and increase your alertness.
Try to workout during the daytime to avoid giving your body unnecessary adrenaline right before bedtime. It’s worth noting, though, that everyone is different and some people don’t have any issues with exercising before they go to bed. If you can’t work out during the day because of lack of time, test your body and figure out the best way to exercise without compromising your sleep.
Plus, there have been studies that show people who meditate for over 30 minutes every day have poorer sleep quality. It sounds like that shouldn’t be the case, but a study from The American Psychosomatic Society shows that people who meditate for more than half an hour, five days per week, experienced a worse sleep quality.
2. Don’t Use Your Bed for Something Other Than Sleep
You need to use your bed as a trigger to let your body know it’s bedtime. Because of that, you should stop using it if you’re not going to sleep.
If you use your bed to work, read, watch TV, or play video games, you’re subconsciously telling yourself that your bed is for everything, not just sleeping. If you only use your bed to sleep, you’ll know it’s bedtime once you lay down at night, helping you create a sleeping ritual.
1. Don’t Use Your Phone at Night
You’ve probably heard this before, but using your phone at night is harmful to your sleep quality. There are many reasons why you should stop using your phone at night, but some of them will affect your body, mind, and even your eyes.
The blue light your phone emits at night can be extremely harmful to your eyes. Not only, will it prevent you from sleeping, but it’ll also give you eye strain and even dry your eyes.
Experts also say that using your phone at night suppresses the release of “sleep-promoting” neurons while activating neurons that promote arousal and stimulate your body, forcing you to stay awake longer than you should.
It’s recommended that you stop using your phone for at least 30 minutes or more before you go to bed. And, as we mentioned before, avoid using it on your bed. The same goes for other devices. Whether it’s your computer, your tablet, or your Nintendo Switch, it’s better that you stay away from them at night.