Who knew there was a right way or a wrong way to sleep? Turns out there are probably some things we’re all doing wrong if we want to get a good night’s sleep and be awake and refreshed in the morning. I don’t know about you, but when I hit the sack at night, I want to get the best and the most sleep I can before the alarm buzzes. Are you with me? Here are the sleep mistakes you should be watching out for. Don’t worry if you’re making them. Now that you know what they are, you can get to work fixing them. Sweet dreams!
1. Letting Fido or Fluffy Snuggle up with You is a Bad Idea
My dog is very sneaky and she waits until I’m asleep to get in my bed. Usually I don’t notice she’s there, but the sleep expert say that having pets in bed with you at night can get in the way of good sleep. They disrupt you when they move around and their fur can make you sniffly, even if you’re not allergic. Buy your pet a nice, comfy bed of their own and make them sleep near your bed instead of on it.
2. Don’t Even Think about Having a Different Sleep Schedule Every Day
Don’t worry if you mess this up now and then, but for the most part, you’ll sleep a lot better if you go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Your sleep/wake cycle depends on consistency, so it’s important to try and stick to the same schedule as much as possible.
3. You Need to Have a Going to Bed Ritual to Help You Get in the Mood
The mood for sleep, that is. Yes, you’re tired, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to be able to fall asleep. Experts suggest a winding down ritual that primes your body and tells it that it’s time to go to sleep now. Mine involves reading a book or magazine before turning on my white noise machine and arranging my pillows and blankets just so. Whatever your routine is, make sure you do it every night for the best sleep of your life.
4. You Shouldn’t Be Eating Sugary Snacks before Hitting the Sack
If you love to have a sweet treat to end the day, try and do it a couple of hours before bed, if possible. Sugar wreaks havoc on your hormone levels, many of which play a role in sleepiness. When you mess with them, you may find yourself waking up in the middle of the night or having a hard time drifting off. If you must eat before bed, have a protein-filled snack instead. Nuts or cheese are perfect!
5. Taking Sleeping Pills Shouldn’t Be a Regular Thing
I’ve been known to drug myself to sleep on occasion, but the truth is that doing so too often screws up your sleep/wake cycle and makes it hard to go to sleep without the pills. Technically, this isn’t an addiction, but it can be a problem. Learn relaxation techniques to make yourself drowsy and you’ll be a lot better off.
6. Watching TV before Bed is a Big Time No-No
Sure, it can make you sleepy to watch reruns of Jeopardy or the local news, but the light emitted by televisions actually makes your body think it’s wide awake, making it really hard to fall asleep when you want to. Ditto for your cell phone or your tablet. Experts suggest powering down your devices about an hour before bed.
7. Stop Trying to Catch up on Sleep by Taking a Nap
It can be super tempting to spend a couple hours napping after a late night and early morning. Stop! Taking a nap might feel great at the time, but it totally throws off your circadian rhythm, which will make it hard to go to sleep later that night. If you want to refresh with a nap, make sure it doesn’t last more than about 20 minutes, suggest sleep experts.
Which of these mistakes are you making? What are you going to do to fix the problem?