Let’s not waste time explaining the importance of sleep in our lives and the consequences of sleep deprivation. Because almost all of us know the feeling after a sleepless night.
While taking a couple of nonrestorative sleep can be tolerated by our bodies, constant sleep deprivation can take a toll on our health, and social and business life.
More specifically, sleep deprivation can cause acne, anger, irritability, lack of concentration, under-eye bags, fatigue also many other diseases and ailments, if continues too long…
However, quite ironically you, yourself, might be ruining your sleep at night knowingly or unknowingly. Because according to sleep experts what we do before bedtime directly affects the quality of our sleep.
In this article, we are going to look at the 8 mistakes you should avoid making before bedtime if your goal is to take a restorative night’s sleep.
The followings are the common mistakes that can ruin your sleep. Avoiding these mistakes before bedtime can increase the quality of your sleep.
1- Staring At Screens
Spending time by scrolling down on social media platforms, reading an article on the internet or chatting with your friends via social media tools.
While the positive bringings of technology to our lives are undeniable, untimely use of some of these devices such as your cellphone or laptop can cost you a night of sleep.
In fact, the theory that looking carefully at the screens of electronic devices at night interrupts your sleep is related to the blue light emitted from these screens.
Blue light hinders the melatonin hormone that regulates your sleep cycle and that also makes you sleepy at night.
If melatonin is disrupted, your brain becomes convinced that it is not the right time to sleep. Therefore, for the sake of a good night’s sleep, leave your electronics aside before bedtime.
2- Drinking Water
Since when drinking water is harmful to the body? By no means, water consumption is harmful, however, drinking water too close to bedtime can result in disrupted sleep at night, according to sleep experts.
Drinking water or other fluids two hours before bedtime most likely wakes you up in the middle of the night to urinate, maybe more than once, depending on the amount of liquid you have drunk before bed.
As waking up to go to the toilet affects your quality of sleep, try not to drink water at least 120 minutes before sleep.
3- Intense Exercise
Doing regular exercise is one of the essential components of a healthy life. However, like in the water section, the time you do exercise can be a determinant factor in your sleep quality.
According to the U.S National Library of Medicine, any physical activity that accelerates the heartbeat and causes sweating 2 hours before sleep, can interrupt sleep at night.
Evenings might be the only free time in your schedule to exercise. However, you should make sure that you are not doing exercise two hours before your bedtime to be able to fall asleep.
4- Cigarette and Alcohol
Well, you are ( most likely ) an adult, thereby, are well aware of the consequences of having these habits. Therefore, let’s skip the lesson about the health impact of cigarettes and alcohol on your body, and concentrate on their relationship with your sleep.
Let’s start with alcohol. You might be thinking that drinking alcohol close to bedtime makes you relaxed and sedated which in turn helps you fall asleep. Sounds like a good plan! Yes, alcohol has a sedative feature and makes you sleepy.
But the problem starts at the REM stage of sleep. Alcohol makes you spend less time in the REM stage of your sleep, which results in experiencing fatigue and tiredness, according to experts.
Maybe, igniting a cigarette before going to bed is your thing. But, what you need to know is smoking cigarettes right before bedtime will drive your sleep away because nicotine is a stimulant and makes you alert.
Taking all of these into account, leaving cigarettes and alcohol, at least, before your bedtime seems a logical action to sleep better.
5- Caffeinated Drinks
You must have heard that having too much coffee during the day disrupts sleep at night. However, coffee is shown as the sole culprit is not a fair judgement.
In addition to coffee; cola, tea and many other beverages that contain caffeine, which is a sleep-killer, can disrupt your sleep.
Therefore, you should avoid not only coffee but also other drinks that contain caffeine 7-8 hours before sleep, if your goal is to fall asleep easier and faster.
As for the explanation of how caffeine affects your sleep; caffeine restrains adenosine receptors in the brain that promotes sleep. Therefore, after caffeine consumption falling asleep becomes harder, according to experts.
Caffeine may not affect you as badly as affecting someone else, nevertheless, experts think that giving up drinking caffeinated drinks 7-8 hours before sleep will contribute to the sleep quality.
6- Sleeping in a Hot Room
Who wouldn’t want to sleep in a warm/hot room, when snowing or raining outside? The answer is, that those who want to take a restorative sleep wouldn’t !!
Because temperature is one of the key factors of our natural sleep cycle.
At night, melatonin decreases the body temperature by one to two degrees to help you fall asleep.
If you sleep in a hot room rather than a cool room, it is most likely your sleep will get disrupted during the night.
This might also be the reason why we sleep better in cold weather relative to hot summer nights.
7- Eating Too Much
” Two hours before bed rules ” should definitely apply to this habit as well. You might fancy eating before bed, however, there will be consequences of it to your sleep, if you do it constantly.
According to The U.S. National Library of Medicine; eating two hours before bed is among the mistakes many individuals make. Because, it forces the digestive system to do overtime at night, and steals from the time that the digestive system uses for resting at night.
On the other hand, acid reflux, which is one of the most common diseases of this century, can occur or can be triggered due to eating before bedtime.
To avoid acid reflux and to get a good night’s sleep, it is worth giving up on eating two hours before bedtime.
8- Not Managing Your Thoughts
Manage your stress and control your negative thoughts! Yes, it is easier said than done. Especially, in this modern world where we are enclosed by stress triggers.
However, what’s certain is stress and negative thoughts delay you to fall asleep and cause insomnia as a result.
According to MedicalNewsToday; constantly being in a state of alertness and stress bring about sleep deprivation, and insufficient sleep can cause further stress.
Jotting down your fears, stress triggers or worries may help. Or, doing some breathing exercises, listening to relaxing music and maybe doing meditation before bedtime can help you control your thoughts and emotions.
Tarkan is an experienced health writer ( currently more than 600 articles ) and also the founder of this website namely www.neededforhealth.com. His expertise in health stems from in-depth medical research and knowledge which he obtained over the course of many years.
Tarkan enjoys sharing factual knowledge on health, psychology and nutrition. He always aims to deliver evidence-based recommendations, provide links to related scientific studies.