Sleep habits can strengthen or weaken your sleep Duration, Timing, Quality (DTQ). When we build and regularly practice positive sleep hygiene, we set ourselves up for optimal sleep health success. Avoid these scary sleep habits to be better prepared for the upcoming holiday season.
Inconsistent Bed/Wake Time
What time we lay down to sleep and wake up to begin our day says a lot about a person. Are you a night owl or morning bird? Do you get 7-9 hours of sleep each night or do you consider yourself lucky when you get half that?
As habitual creatures by nature, we greatly benefit from consistency. When we regularly follow bed and wake time routines, our bodies positively respond to those patterns, making it naturally easier to slip into our sleep cycle and provides more restful slumber. Long term benefits include reduced daytime sleepiness and more energy in the mornings. The key here is following your routines each day of the week, including weekends.
Technology Usage In Bed
While it’s tempting to scroll through our phones when we lay down to sleep, screen time severely hinders our ability to get quality sleep. Blue light suppresses our melatonin production and gives a false sense of daylight, which keeps our brain alert and weakens our ability to fully benefit from our sleep cycles. Keep phones and tablets out of the bedroom and turn off the TV at least 30 minutes before bed.
Late Night Eating
Say it isn’t so! Sadly, late night munchies aren’t just bad for our waistlines. Eating too close to bedtime, particularly spicy, fatty, greasy, or sugary foods, can keep you awake longer and disturb your sleep throughout the night. With the risk of heartburn and upset stomach too high to ignore, aim to eat dinner 3-4 hours before bed and keep any late night snacks to healthy portions of protein or carbs.
Caffeine & Alcohol Before Bed
Calling all coffee drinkers! Caffeine keeps you awake and causes restlessness at night so be sure to limit caffeine intake after 2 p.m. Don’t forget any sneaky caffeine contributors, like chocolates, soft drinks, protein bars, and ice creams. Another drink to avoid? Alcohol. That glass of wine may help you drift off to sleep initially, but it hinders your ability to get restorative sleep as the wine is metabolized. Avoid the late night glass of wine or enjoy it a little earlier in the evening.