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5 Mistakes You Make Before Bed That Keep You From Falling Asleep

A good night sleep is a gift that keeps on giving; it makes you feel rested and ready to take on the day. So it can be super frustrating when you turn off the lights and are unable to fall asleep. You lay there in bed, eyes staring at the ceiling, with visions of to-do lists running through your head. If you're not sure what's causing you to stay awake at night, you may want to consider the decisions you are making throughout your day — especially close to bedtime.

According to the Psychiatric Times, your body needs to release the right amount of melatonin in order to drift off the dreamland. It also needs to stay in sync with your body's circadian rhythm, a 24-hour internal clock that helps to regulate periods of sleep and waking. But too often, people disrupt these two crucial sleep-inducers. A simple decision to catch up on some texts before bed or have an extra glass of wine at dinner  could be the cause of your tossing and turning.

If you're searching for ways to get some shut-eye without reaching for sleeping pills, consider changing a few of your night time habits. Find out if you are guilty of these five bedtime mistakes that will keep you from falling asleep.  

1. Drinking Alcohol

This news is just as devastating to me as it is to you.  Psychology Today reported that although a nightly drink can help you relax, the stimulating effects of alcohol are magnified depending on the time of day you drink. The take away here: timing is everything. Try enjoying that cocktail earlier in the day, instead of close to bedtime.

2. Eating Too Much

If you want to slip into a quick sleep, try not to eat too much food close to bedtime. To avoid this problem, a Today article suggested you stop eating three of more hours before you plan to sleep.  If you must snack close to bedtime, opt for something light and just a moderate amount. This will keep you from tossing and turning while your digestion process is slowing down.

3. Drinking Caffeine

TI know this one seems like a no-brainer, since caffeine is what we rely on to give us a little energy boost. But as Mayo Clinic pointed out, even late afternoon caffeine can keep you from falling asleep. This is sad news for those of us who like to enjoy an afternoon latte. Same goes for those who drink a soda with dinner or a cappuccino after a big meal. Looks like you better enjoy that java in the morning if you want a dreamy bedtime.  

4. Reading In Bed

Although reading is a wonderful thing, doing it in bed may make you feel more awake. Keep reading to another part of the home or bedroom so your mind does not start to equate the bed with the entertainment of reading.

5. Looking At Screens

You know that last quick scroll through Instagram before dozing off? That might be the reason you can't seem to fall asleep, even though your devices have powered down. According to Psychology Today, the blue lights are responsible for the delayed release of melatonin and interruption of the circadian rhythm. This means televisions, tablets, and smart phones are sending out wavelengths that actually stimulate your brain, causing you to be more alert and less likely to catch some Z's. Best to power down long before bedtime and settle for something less stimulating till then.

Images: Mateus Lunardi Dutra, Suzanne Nilsson, Taz, James Joel, Betsssssy, Johan Larsson/Flickr