10 Sleep Mistakes You Don't Know You're Making
It’s no secret that sleep is critical to our health and well-being. Unfortunately, 1 in 3 adults don’t get the sleep they need. Believe it or not, you may be losing sleep due to common mistakes you don’t even know you’re making.
Here are the top 10 sleep mistakes to avoid:
1. Not Sticking To A Sleep Routine
Going to bed and waking up around the same time every day is important for overall health. Irregular sleep patterns can lead to higher risk for obesity, hypertension, elevated blood sugar, and heart disease. Keeping the same sleep routine helps our internal body clock build a stronger sleep-wake cycle. To create a routine that you can stick to, set a realistic time for bed and an achievable time to wake up every day. Remember, the most important part is getting your full 8 hours of sleep.
2. Getting Into Sleep Debt
Let’s face it – nothing beats a great night’s sleep, and those who think they can catch up on sleep after staying up late or waking up early may struggle with sleep problems due to “sleep debt.”
Sleep debt refers to the effects of sleep deprivation and may result in physical or mental fatigue. However, those who focus on going to bed at the same time each night and getting eight hours of consistent rest will be better equipped to avoid the dangers of sleep debt altogether.
3. Snoozing Your Alarm
We’re all guilty of this sometimes There’s nothing more tempting than pressing that glorious snooze button and getting a few more minutes of sleep. But while it may feel like a great idea at the time, the snooze button can disrupt important REM sleep. Late-stage REM sleep is a restorative sleep state, where your brain and body repairs, heals and grows. Disrupting this stage of sleep puts your body in fight or flight mode, increasing your blood pressure and heartbeat. Furthermore, that little amount of sleep you’re getting between snoozes probably won’t help you become more productive and efficient. Instead, try to get up as soon as your alarm goes off. Eventually you’ll settle into a routine where it gets easier.
4. Eating Unhealthy Snacks
Feeling hungry before bedtime? While it may be tempting to reach for a bag of chips or a slice of cake to ease your hunger pangs, fatty and sugary late-night snacks should be avoided. Junk food can lead to digestive issues like indigestion, heartburn, and acid reflux that disrupt your sleep. By resisting the urge to graze on empty calories and maintaining a healthy diet, you’ll be better equipped to get the zzzs you need consistently.
5. Consuming Caffeinated Beverages
Remember the cup of coffee or soda you decided to drink after dinner? Well, this beverage could come back to haunt you if you consume it too close to bedtime.
As bedtime approaches, try to drink water and decaffeinated beverages. Removing caffeine from your afternoon and evening diet may make it easier to become tired at the end of the day, and ultimately, rest throughout the night.
6. Using Electronic Devices Before Bed
It’s getting late, so you brush your teeth, put on your PJs, then crawl into bed. What comes next? If you go straight for your smartphone to enjoy some late night scrolling, you’re one of the 66% of Americans making this common sleep mistake. The blue light emitted by your phone screen decreases melatonin production and reduces feelings of sleepiness. Plus, being on your phone stimulates your mind, making you more awake and active.
Next time you feel the urge to hop on Instagram after the lights go out, try alternatives such as listening to calm music or meditating in silence. The temptation to use your smartphone or tablet before bed can be overwhelming, so keep your devices out of reach.
7. Taking A Nap Late In The Day
Naps come with plenty of benefits. The National Sleep Foundation notes even a 20- to 30-minute nap can help improve your alertness, mood and overall performance. Conversely, a prolonged mid-day siesta can disrupt your ability to fall asleep at night. As a result, you may mess up your nocturnal sleep cycle. Most sleep experts recommend taking a nap before 2pm to avoid tossing and turning at night. Furthermore, you should aim to nap for no more than 20 minutes. Shorter naps have been shown to decrease grogginess and fatigue and keep you alert during the day.
8. Worrying About Sleep
The more you worry about falling asleep, the less likely it becomes that you’ll be able to fall asleep without delay. Luckily there are simple tricks you can do to ease your mind and help you get to sleep faster. Tune out intrusive thoughts by practicing meditation or reading a book. If you find yourself checking the time, turn the face of your alarm clock away. This will help you eliminate the temptation to look at the clock in the middle of the night and think about how much time is left before you need to wake up.
9. Sleeping With Pets
A recent American Pet Products Association survey showed that 62 percent of cats and nearly half of all dogs sleep with their owners. And even though it may seem worthwhile to have your four-legged friend in bed with you, your pet may disrupt your sleep patterns.
Allergies or asthma may keep you up at night if you sleep in bed with your pet. Additionally, if your cat or dog snores, hogs the bed, or gets up in the middle of the night, you may be woken up as well. If this sleep mistake is keeping you from getting the rest you need, it’s time to try alternative sleeping arrangements. Place pets in a separate room if possible. Alternatively, if you’re your beloved pet insists on sleeping next to you, place a comfortable pet bed or a crate beside your own bed.
10. Sleeping In A Poor Sleeping Environment
One of the sleep mistakes that may be easiest to fix is your poor sleep environment. People often focus on the look and design of the bedroom, but don’t put much thought into how their room affects their sleep. Sleep should be at the forefront when putting your bedroom together.
For starters, use window coverings that allow you to make your room as dark as possible, such a blackout curtains to block out the sun in the early morning.
Next, keep your room cool, around 65 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit, when going to sleep. This can help with your temperature regulation and letting your body know it’s time to sleep. Lastly, your bed should be comfortable.
The right pillows, blankets, and especially the right mattress can have a huge impact on your quality of sleep. Visit your neighborhood Sit ‘n Sleep mattress store. Our knowledgeable sleep consultants can help you find the right mattress, bedding and accessories settings to give you the best sleep possible.