Your bedtime routine is one of the most important parts of your day. Not only is it how you settle down, and get your body and mind ready for sleep, it’s an important part of your overall health. But most of us are guilty of engaging in some bad bedtime habits that can have a negative effect on our sleep.
Habit #1: You go to bed whenever you feel like it.
That’s not just going to bed late when the occasional important event pops up. You roll into bed when you’re tired or when it’s convenient for you, not when it’s actually bedtime. Not only that, your bedtime habits on weekdays, when you have to be at work, are drastically different from your weekend habits.
Better habit: Try to go to bed around the same time every day and get up at your usual wake-up time, even on weekends. Evidence supports regulating your body clock in order to sleep better on a regular basis.
Habit #2: You scroll through your phone before bed.
The last thing you do before you roll over to go to sleep is scroll through your Facebook newsfeed one last time. It’s a good way to unwind right before going to sleep, right?
Better habit: The blue light from your phone can sabotage your ability to fall asleep as it tricks your brain into thinking that it’s much earlier than it is. Avoiding your devices for at least an hour before bed can help you fall asleep easier and sleep more soundly. Reading a book or talking with a loved one is a much better way to unwind.
Habit #3: Grabbing a last snack before bed.
You don’t want to wake up starving in the morning, so right before you go to bed, you open the fridge and dig out a snack. Your judgment often isn’t the best last thing at night, so you frequently end up with a “snack” that’s higher in calories than most of your meals through the day.
Better habit: Don’t go to bed with your stomach too full. If you must have a bedtime snack, try to make it at least an hour before you head off to sleep. Choosing from healthy foods that will help you sleep better also makes for a better snack choice: try a handful of walnuts, toast with almond butter, or a banana smoothie, for example.
Habit #4: You grab a quick drink to “help you sleep.”
You’re tired of feeling like it takes forever for you to fall asleep, so instead, you’re grabbing a quick alcoholic beverage before you go to bed. You fall asleep faster every time!
Better habit: That before-bed drink can actually destroy your sleep cycles and make it harder for you to get REM sleep. If you’re going to drink, let the alcohol wear out of your system before you go to bed. If you need a bedtime drink, try some soothing caffeine-free tea instead.
Habit #5: Rolling straight into bed without winding down.
You’re on the go from the moment your feet hit the floor in the morning until the moment you fall into bed at night. Often, there’s no transition time in your day to allow you to wind down before bed.
Better habit: Never winding down doesn’t just make it difficult for you to sleep; it also increases your overall stress level and can lead to other health problems. Take thirty minutes before bed to complete a calming ritual that makes you feel refreshed.
Your sleep habits can heavily impact how you’re going to feel the next day and what you do before bed has a serious impact on your sleep. Make sure your bedtime rituals and habits are designed to be good for your health. You’ll find that you get a better night’s sleep, see improvements in your nutrition, and are better prepared to face whatever comes your way the next day.