6 Habits That Are Hampering Your Sleep
If you’re tired of being tired, you’re not alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 35% of adults get less than the recommended seven hours of sleep per day, while Scientific American reports that a fifth of teenagers gets under five hours of shut eye per night.
Between 50 and 70 million Americans suffer from one or more sleep disorders, according to the Maternal and Child Health Bureau. The consequences are far-reaching.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, just under 20% of all car accidents are the result of sleepiness, and Fortune Magazine reported that sleep deprivation costs the U.S. over $411 billion per year.
While this is all quite alarming, much of it is the result of bad sleep habits. Being aware of these habits can help you determine what’s causing your sleeping troubles, allowing you to finally get some well-deserved rest.
For most of us, watching television or checking the phone right before bed is a daily ritual. The problem is that screens emit blue light, which reduces melatonin production and affects your circadian rhythm, thus making it more difficult to fall and stay asleep. Try limiting your screen time before bed and reading a book instead.
Snoring has long been a habit that proved difficult to remedy. It affects around 90 million Americans and becomes increasingly serious as you age. In addition to being detrimental to your sleep quality, snoring is linked to daytime sleepiness, confusion, memory issues and possibly even heart disease.
Aside from sleep position training, taping your mouth is one option that is becoming increasingly popular. This is done with mouth strips that are made to reduce open mouth snoring and improve nasal breathing ability. If you’re unsure as to how much you snore, consider discussing it with your partner or using a sleep app to detect your snoring patterns.
Improper Sleep Schedule
Not having a consistent sleep schedule is known to hamper sleep quality and duration. This is because an improper sleep schedule can disrupt your natural clock and cause more problems later down the line. If yours varies from weekday to weekend, consider using an app such as Bedtime to remind you when you should be sleeping.
Eating and Drinking
Despite being around for a good 300 years, the tradition of having a drink before bed to aid sleep (you might know it as a nightcap) has since been proven to be a myth. In fact, drinking alcohol before bed is quite detrimental to your sleep quality. The same applies to have large meals and unhealthy snacks.
This is because certain foods and drinks promote acid reflux and dehydration, causing some people to wake up in the middle of the night. Eating in the bedroom can also make smells linger, keeping you hungry and awake. It’s recommended that you avoid eating two hours before bed and stick to water if you’re thirsty.
Taking Sleeping Pills
Any sedative substance, whether it’s Benadryl, Ambien, Nyquil or Valium, is detrimental to your brain’s natural sleep process. This is because your brain works to remove harmful toxins while you sleep by cycling through the day’s memories, storing and discarding them appropriately. Sedatives, such as sleeping pills, interfere with this cycle.
Many people believe that sleeping in on weekends makes up for lost sleep during the week. However, quite the opposite is true, as binge sleeping interferes with your circadian rhythm. This makes you feel groggy and tired when you wake up, which might not matter on weekends but is detrimental to your productivity during the week.
Consider which habits are most applicable to you and work on eliminating them. Feeling energized every day after a good night’s rest makes it a worthwhile endeavor.