Like most people, you probably have a good understanding of how important sleep is to your overall health, but are you aware of the poor habits that could be affecting your sleep quality?
The seven habits we’re about to discuss in this post can have a harsh impact on how well you sleep, as well as how you feel in day to day life. Discover more about these poor habits that can affect sleep quality and whether you could be reducing your own sleep quality with them.
1. Late night gadget use
If you’re spending the last hour or so awake catching up on your favourite TV show, looking through the latest social media updates on your phone, or even checking emails on your laptop, chances are you’re badly affecting your sleep.
The light that’s emitted from devices such as TVs, smartphones and laptops can stimulate your mind and keep you awake later than you planned – it can even affect how well you switch from one sleep cycle to another throughout the night. With that in mind, it’s well worth thinking about alternative ways to wind down ahead of bedtime.
Try to avoid these devices at least an hour or so before you plan to get some sleep – try reading or soaking in a relaxing bath instead.
2. Exercising in the evening
Exercise is extremely good for you, of course, but hitting the gym or going for a run too close to bedtime can leave you tossing and turning for hours on end. That’s because exercise delivers a rush of endorphins, adrenaline and cortisol, each of which can leave you feeling invigorated and not at all ready to sleep.
Try ticking off your workout regime in the morning, after you come home from work or before dinner. You’ll still be able to reap the benefits of a solid session without putting a strain on your sleep schedule. If, for whatever reason, you struggle to fit exercise in until late at night on the odd occasion, try to opt for yoga or another more gentle exercise, or follow your session with a warm bath to relax your body and mind ahead of bed.
3. Putting work before rest
Work is an important aspect of life, but it should never be put ahead of your health and wellbeing – of course, that’s easier said than done. In fact, too many of us are kept awake at night either thinking about work the next day or checking up on emails before hitting the hay. But did you know, the bright lights, worries and stress can wreak havoc on your sleep quality, which can leave you feeling tired and less productive at work over time.
By putting your sleep schedule first, you’ll have much more get up and go to tackle tasks at work and to have a thoroughly productive day in the hours you’re meant to spend working. Allow yourself time to switch off and relax, to enjoy a better night’s sleep and a great day at work too.
4. Eating in the later hours
Late night hunger pangs can very often lead to a snack or two, and a busy day with no time to eat dinner until later on is just as bad. Your body should be allowed to digest food before heading to bed – eating in the later hours will only keep you up later than expected as your body works its way through this process. What’s worse is that you’ll probably be kept up with heartburn, from lying down too shortly after eating.
5. Altering your routine at the weekends
Those well-deserved weekend lie-ins can feel great at the time, but they often affect your natural body clock, leaving you struggling to sleep come Sunday night. A night of tossing and turning will only leave you feeling drowsy on Monday, which can impact your entire working week until the next weekend comes along.
Try to avoid the temptation to lie in at weekends. Maintain your routine and you’ll be able to make the most of your weekends whilst feeling fresh and ready to tackle another week at work come Monday.
6. Staying up as late as possible
As with having a cheeky lie in at the weekend, staying up as late as possible can also drastically affect your sleep schedule and quality. Whether that’s on a week night or a weekend, you’ll immediately feel the effects the next morning, and it’s even more of a struggle to get back into your normal routine. Make it a priority to stick to your routine throughout the week, to really make the most of the benefits of sleep can bring to your health and lifestyle.
7. Late night drinking
You’ve probably heard of a nightcap and might have even enjoyed one on the odd occasion, but alcohol can more often than not leave you feeling fuzzy and drowsy the next morning, even after one or two!
That’s because alcohol can help you to feel drowsy, which can lead to you falling asleep earlier than normal. When the effects wear off, you’re likely to wake up early and find it difficult to fall back to sleep.
With that in mind, try not to drink alcohol too close to your bedtime – enjoy a couple of glasses with your dinner and go to bed with a glass of water instead, which will definitely help you to feel relaxed and ready to face the day in the morning.