We all value our sleep, which is why it can be incredibly frustrating when it takes hours to fall asleep or when we wake up multiple times throughout the night. Here are some sleep mistakes you may be making that could be sabotaging your sleep.
Having an Inconsistent Sleep Schedule
The Circadian rhythm is the body's natural alarm clock. It alerts the body when it's time to sleep and when it's time to wake up. Having an inconsistent sleep schedule and going to bed at different times every night throws off your Circadian rhythm. As a result, your body no longer knows when to go to sleep. I know it can be challenging, but try to fall asleep at the same time every night, regardless of whether it's a weekend or weeknight.
Using Your Screens Before Bed
When you have trouble falling asleep, you might feel tempted to scroll through social media or binge-watch TV until you feel more tired. Unfortunately, using screens such as your phone or laptop before bed further negatively impacts your ability to fall asleep. The blue light emitted from your screens stops melatonin production, which is your sleep hormone. The never-ending consumption of information and media also stimulates your brain, making it difficult to relax and slow down your thoughts. Instead, put the screens away at least an hour before bed and read a book instead.
Intense Exercise Before Bed
While light exercise, such as a relaxing walk, can help you fall asleep faster, the opposite is true for intense, strenuous exercise. Intense exercise before bed raises your heart rate and gives you a boost of energy, which makes it difficult to relax and fall asleep. It also increases your body temperature and leaves you feeling hot, which is not the optimal temperature for sleep. Try to move your intense workouts to the morning or afternoon instead and leave the evenings to relax.
Too Much Caffeine Late in the Day
Caffeine stays in your body for much longer than you might think. Caffeine is a stimulant— its job is to keep you awake and alert. Not exactly what we're looking for when we want to sleep! Even an afternoon cup of coffee could be negatively affecting your quality of sleep. Cut the caffeine by noon and see if your sleep quality improves. If you need a pick-me-up, opt for a lower caffeine drink, such as green tea. Make sure you stay hydrated throughout the day, as this helps keep you energized without the need for caffeine.
Not Having a Nurturing Evening Routine
Do you feel like you collapse into bed once you've finally checked everything off of your to-do list for the day? Make it your mission to ease into sleep. Find your balance of the perfect evening routine that nurtures you and guides you into slumber in a relaxing, enjoyable way. This may take some trial-and-error, so try different things until you find what works best for you.
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