We all know the power of sleep and how it rejuvenates and refreshes, but if you don’t get enough, you might well need to know there are some things to stop doing before bedtime for better sleep. For those who don’t fall asleep as soon as their head hits the pillow, suffer broken sleeping patterns or simply don’t sleep for long enough, the things to stop doing before bedtime can have an impact and improve sleep. Lots of advice talks about things you can do to try and make for better sleep, but here are the things to stop doing before bedtime that will help you get to sleep more quickly, and produce better quality sleep.
1. Hot Showers and Baths
One of the things to stop doing before bedtime is taking a hot shower or bath. While it may seem counterintuitive, as the hot temperature helps to relax you and makes you feel sleepy, the temperature that your body gets to will actually stop you from sleeping. You need to make sure you are as cool (not cold!) as possible before you try and go to sleep.
No, don’t think that you can become a couch potato all day! While exercise does contribute towards your body feeling tired and thus enabling you to sleep better, it does not help you to actually get to sleep. Exercise raises not just your heart rate but also the temperature of your body, which stops you from being able to relax enough to get to sleep; exercise earlier in the day if you want to sleep well at night!
3. Too Many Fluids
If you are having trouble sleeping, one of the things to stop doing before you go to bed is drinking – yes even those milky hot drinks! Drinking at this time will only result in the call to go to the bathroom interrupting your precious sleep. While you shouldn’t try and sleep while you are thirsty, you shouldn’t consume too many liquids in the two hours before you plan to go to bed and avoid any beverage that contains caffeine in this time span.
4. TV and Internet
Do you go to bed with the TV on? Did you know that the bright lights from screens reduce the body’s ability to produce melatonin, a hormone vital for sleep? Avoiding late night TV and also web surfing on your laptop is definitely one of the things to stop doing before bedtime and this also applies to web surfing. Try to spend the last hour or so listening to soothing music or reading a book rather than watching TV or updating your Facebook status.
5. Read Engrossing Stories
While the tip I gave in the previous point was to read, you have to be careful about what you read before going to bed. An interesting novel will keep you turning the page until far later than you intended, and you will struggle to get to sleep even when you put down the book. Try and find something, perhaps non-fiction, to read before you go to bed (or something really boring!).
We’ve all been there: a late-night phone call from work about an urgent meeting the following morning or a new deadline you didn’t think you had. However one of the things you need to make sure to do before bedtime is simply to ignore such calls – they can wait until the morning! Working will stimulate your mind, and you will find it hard to focus on sleep when you finally shut your laptop and put your phone on silent.
7. Serious Conversations
Having a ‘talk’ with your partner before going to bed is a big no-no when it comes to trying to get to sleep. While being in bed may be one of the few moments of peace you both get together (especially if you have kids!), you will find that having such conversations stimulates your mind and you will therefore struggle to sleep. Try not to argue before bed; studies have found that arguing before trying to sleep makes your night a lot less enjoyable, so try and sort out your problems before settling down for the night.
8. Cuddling Your Pet
While at the time it may seem like a nice idea to snuggle up with your dog of an evening, you will find that it is one of the worst things you can do at bedtime. They will disturb your sleep by taking up space on the bed, and you will be anxious about not trying to wake them up. It’s great to be loving towards your pets, but perhaps there is another time you can do it in your day and there are better places for them to sleep than your bed.
Not getting enough sleep can be detrimental to your health and well-being, so if there are things to stop doing at bedtime that will help you achieve better sleep experiences, they are worth a try. Some of them are simple ‘just don’t do it,’ while others are about finding a balance. What pre-bedtime habits do you have you think you should give up?