How often do you feel well rested? Probably not often enough. Even if you clock the suggested eight hours a night, you still wake up groggy. Feeling well rested is about both the quantity and quality of your shuteye. So what's keeping you from feeling like the Sleeping Beauty you want to be? The surprising reasons you're not getting a good night's sleep are probably things you do often and never realized could prevent you from getting the rest you need.
We've all been there: putting off going to bed because we want to finish work, need to do laundry, or can't stop binging on Downton Abbey. But not getting enough sleep can mess with your brain function. In the go-go-go world we live in, getting enough rest might seem like an impossible goal, but it's actually very necessary to our health and happiness.
So how can you make sure you're getting the proper amount of quality shuteye? There are all sorts of actions you can take to ensure you're sleeping better, like downloading sleep apps, or feng-shui-ing your bedroom to make it conducive to rest. But before you try to add new things to your nighttime ritual, first try correcting some of the things that you're already doing wrong.
Without even realizing it, the things you do before bed may be hurting your chances of a good night's sleep. Everything from when and what you eat, to what you do right before bed can contribute to the fact that you're constantly tired — especially binging on Netflix (sorry, guys). If you want to be a real-life Sleeping Beauty and wake up feeling rested and ready to go, here are some bad habits you should try and break.
1. You're Using Electronics Before Bed
You've probably heard by now that screen time before bed is sabotaging your sleep — and it's true. According to an article in The New Yorker, of all the factors that contribute to poor-quality sleep, using electronics right before bed is the biggest culprit. Your body interprets the blue light that shines off computers and phones as daylight, which triggers our circadian rhythms to go into awake mode. By watching TV or reading on a Kindle, you're actually preventing your body from going into rest mode and delaying sleep.
2. You're Eating Too Much Too Late
Midnight snacks are not your friend, at least when it comes to getting the proper amount of quality Zs. Business Insider reported that having a big meal right before lying down is horrible for digestion, which can then lead to bad acid reflux and a terrible night's sleep. Keep your pre-bed meals light and be sure to skip over certain foods to avoid before bed.
3. You're Going To Bed Too Hungry
On the flip-side, not eating enough before calling it quits for the evening will also make sleep a challenge, according to the New Yorker article. You know that grabbing feeling of hunger in your stomach? That will definitely keep you awake. Make sure you're eating a healthy-sized meal a few hours before going to bed to avoid hunger pangs in the middle of the night.
4. You Have An Old Pillows And An Ancient Mattress
Mattresses are expensive, but they're a worthwhile investment. It's something you use every day, which is more than you'll ever use those high-fashion spike stilettos you've been eyeing. Huffington Post notes that an uncomfortable bed can leave you feeling more stressed and lead to more tossing and turning, which will absolutely keep you up at night. But falling into a comfy bed will relax you and make it easier to nod off.
5. You're Having Too Much Caffeine Alcohol, Nicotine Too Close To Bed
Coffee may be your best friend in the morning, but come mid-afternoon, your cup of joe may be seriously hindering your ability to get to sleep. Studies have found that caffeine, alcohol and nicotine all have negative effects on sleeping, and the effects worsen the later you consume these substances during the day. So if you can, avoid that 4 p.m. pick-me-up or that after dinner glass of port when you really want to capitalize on your sleep time. And since smoking is all around bad for your health, do your best to try and quit!
6. You're Not Winding Down
Before you go to sleep, Self suggested you take some time to relax. Don't hit the gym right before hitting the hay, and definitely stop responding to work emails once you're ready to retire (for the night, not from your career). Take some time to read a good book, write in your journal, reflect on the day, meditate...whatever it is that makes you feel calm. Ease yourself into sleep instead of expecting that you can go from high energy to passed-out the minute your head hits the pillow.
7. You're Not On A Sleep Schedule
According to Mayo Clinic, circadian rhythms are a powerful biological process, and sleep schedules are no exception. If you follow a regular routine, your body will get acclimated to winding down around 11 p.m. and starting up again at 7 a.m. (or whatever times fit your schedule). You'll fall into the rhythm, and won't even have to think about forcing yourself to sleep, and you might be able to even do away with your alarm. Staying up late on certain nights, or totally changing your sleep schedule on the weekends can tamper with the routine you've already created, making it harder to actually get to bed when you want to. Your body is pretty perceptive and has the ability to do what it's supposed to do (read: sleep) if you just let it.