Sometimes you try everything but just can’t seem to get to sleep. You toss and turn, count sheep, get up, have a cup of tea, and still when you lie your head back down, your mind just won’t shut off. I know the feeling.
It can quickly become frustrating. Feeling completely exhausted and yet being unable to get the sleep that you need can be absolutely brutal.
Yet, it might be less about what you aren’t doing, and more about what you are. You could very well be unknowingly causing your inability to nod off.
5 NIGHTTIME HABITS TO BE AVOIDED
1. Drinking Alcohol
I’m not sure where the term “night cap” came from, but it’s way off. Though we often think of a glass of wine or a beer as helping to make us drowsy, alcohol can actually impair REM sleep. This leads to lower quality sleep, causing you to wake up feeling groggy and tired. Plus, alcohol is a diuretic, so it’s likely causing the late night trips to the washroom, which once again interrupt your sleep.
2. Eating Chocolate Treats
We all enjoy a late night treat from time to time, but not only do they contribute to weight gain, they can also keep you up. A little chocolate ice cream or a tiny sliver of fudge cake might seem harmless, but if your body is sensitive to caffeine at all, you’re asking for trouble. And while dark chocolate is a healthier option, it often contains even more.
3. Texting, TV, Facebook, Pretty Much Everything You Normally Do Before Bed
You’ve probably heard it before, as study after study has confirmed the same thing, electronic devices keep you up. The blue light they emit inhibits your brain from producing melatonin, which is the hormone responsible for making you sleepy.
Most experts now recommend putting down your phone and shutting off your television and computer at least one hour before you plan to go to bed. Better alternatives include reading, going for a light walk, or actually interacting with real life people. But if you still can’t manage it, (it is really hard) try to at least keep your face as far away from the screen as possible and to turn down the brightness if possible.
4. Working Out
With the busy schedules we keep these days, sometimes it’s hard to get around to working out until after dinner. But doing so can keep you up. You should try to work out at least four hours before you plan to go to sleep. Try to sneak in your exercise before work, or during lunch, if possible, because people who do exercise regularly generally sleep better than people who don’t.
5. Consuming Anything at All Right Before Bed
If you’re really not sure why you can’t sleep, it’s best to avoid consuming anything at all before going to sleep. Any kind of food, spicy, fatty, or otherwise, can lead to digestive discomfort, so try to eat dinner at least two hours prior to going to sleep. Beware of any medications you are taking at night that could be causing alertness. Even a cup of tea may contain more caffeine or other stimulants than you realize.
Try to develop healthy sleep habits, get into a good routine with no alcohol, no food, and no blue light, and you’ll be sound asleep in no time.