Getting proper sleep is equally important as exercising regularly and eating healthy. Without these three pillars of health, it’s impossible to stay physically healthy. Unfortunately, many of us don’t get as much as slumber as we need. There are so many people out there that get less than the minimum 7 hours of sleep that the CDC has declared sleep deprivation a public health epidemic.
Sleep deprivation has been declared a public epidemic not only because it affects you as an individual, but also the entire society. Sleep insufficiency has been linked to higher chances of motor vehicle crashes, medical errors, industrial disasters and much more.
When it comes to our health, sleep deficiencies have been associated with hypertension, diabetes, depression, obesity, and overall reduced quality of life. In order to make sure our poor sleeping habits don’t affect our health and quality of life, we have to do everything we can to improve our sleep hygiene. Counting Sheep sleep research had investigated people’s most common habits before sleep and identified the ones that might wreck it. Here are eight everyday habits you should avoid before bedtime.
#1. Going To Sleep or Waking Up at Different Hours
Sleep routine is not only useful for kids, but for adults too. For healthy sleep, it is best to create a specific sleep and wake up a schedule, and stick to it every day, even on weekends and holidays. It is essential to do this in order to train your circadian rhythm. Our circadian rhythm relies on consistency, and sticking to a particular schedule will help you fall asleep faster in the evening and wake up refreshed and alert in the morning.
#2. Drinking Water Immediately Before Bedtime
Drinking plenty of fluids and staying hydrated is very important for your health and wellbeing. However, drinking water immediately before bed will disturb your sleep, and you will probably wake up with a full bladder and have to pee.
#3. Eating a Large Meal
Eating a large or a heavy meal close to your bedtime is not good because all that food has to be digested and that can disturb your sleep. Also, having a large amount of food into your stomach can make you feel uncomfortable, and cause you to wake up. You should also know that eating large meals in the evening is associated with weight gain and acid reflux disease.
#4. Using Your Smartphone
We all love our gadgets, but playing a game, texting or reading an e-book while snuggled under the covers is not good for our sleep. We may like it, but our brain hates it. The reason for this is that electronics emit blue light that stimulates our minds, making it rather difficult for our brain and body to transition into sleep. For a good night’s rest, avoid your favorite gadgets at least 2 hours before going to sleep.
Exercising is healthy, but you shouldn’t do it before bed because our brain becomes highly alert after it. Not only that your muscles and heart will be stimulated due to increased blood flow, but your mind will also be very alert due to the release of endorphins. Working out also raises your body temperature which will further disrupt sleep.
#6. Trying to Force Sleep
With all the fuss of the importance of getting proper rest, you may be overwhelmed and force sleep even when you just can’t seem to drift off. It may seem natural to stay in bed until sleep comes, but this is actually not a good practice. Forcing yourself to sleep will just make you feel stressed and anxious which will make you insomnia even worse. When you can’t fall asleep, get up and do something that relaxes you. The key is to take your mind off sleep and allow it to come naturally.
Just as it’s essential to get enough sleep, it’s also vital not to overdo it. The main reason for not oversleeping is because it can mess up with your internal clock, making you feel nervous, tired, and simply unprepared to face your daily tasks. Oversleeping also makes it harder and harder to get back into your good sleep pattern. Sleeping in once in a while is not harmful, but it mustn’t become a habit.