Sleep: it’s something a third of Americans aren’t getting enough of. You’ve heard your doctor say you need 7-9 hours every night. And you’ve been working on it!
So why don’t you feel rested when you wake up? Do you need 10 hours? It’s likely that the things you do before sleeping are affecting your quality of rest.
Consider this list and determine whether you need to reevaluate your nighttime routine.
Using electronics before bed will impact your sleep, and not in a good way. But understanding the way your mind and body work will help you know when to use electronics.
Your body analyzes information from the environment to keep you functioning properly. This means, when the sunset fills the sky with warmer light, your mind tells your body it’s time to rest.
The problem with electronics is that they mimic morning light. This tricks your mind into thinking it’s still daytime. As a result, you may have a harder time getting to sleep and staying asleep.
Inconsistent Sleep Habits
Not only are 7-9 hours important, but the same 7-9 hours matter, too. Avoid bad sleeping habits like staying up late one night or trying to catch up on all your sleep over the weekend.
Instead, keep consistent sleeping hours. Get some sleep at the same time (or similar) every night and wake up around the same time every day.
Eating Before Bed
Eating before sleeping can also impact your quality of sleep. When you eat too close to when you go to bed, your body isn’t able to fully rest. It’s too busy expending energy to digest your meal.
Instead, try giving yourself at least an hour buffer between the end of your last meal and when you get into bed. That’ll give your body time to digest and help you fall asleep faster.
Watching the News
Watching the news, checking emails, and texting friends can all be included in this point. These activities can get your mind racing and keep you from falling asleep. Or, they may cause notifications to ping on your phone (which is probably next to your bed, are we right?).
Take time to unwind before sleeping. Try incorporating meditation or a spiritual practice before bed. You could stretch or read for half an hour, too.
Drinking Too Much Water
This one is a no-brainer, right? Too much water before bed can have you up in the middle of the night for a trip to the bathroom. As with eating, don’t drink too much in the hour leading up to bedtime.
What to Do Before Sleeping
If you’re not a morning person, that’s one thing. But if you wake up wanting another three hours of sleep, you may be tossing and turning during the night.
Before sleeping, consider if you tend to grab your phone for one more swipe through Instagram. Think about whether you chow down on a late-night snack most nights. Check your nighttime routine and see what changes you can make.
For more on how to set the right habits, visit our Healthy Living section.