Thoughts and worries, like “Did I get the job?” or “What will the medical test results reveal?” can keep a person up at night. However, failing to fall asleep due to worrisome thoughts is not the only springboard for insomnia. Suffering from sleep onset insomnia (which makes it hard to relax in bed and fall asleep), sleep maintenance insomnia (which makes it difficult to stay asleep through the night), or both, can lead to a long day of impairments. Sleep deficiency affects your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and yes, even your safety. Falling asleep behind the wheel of a moving vehicle is one example of how sleep deprivation can lead to a dangerous situation. So, what are some of the things we should avoid in order to secure quality sleep through the night?
Watching TV in Bed
Falling asleep to a television playing is not relaxing for the body. According to Jennifer Weber, director of behavioral health for PM Pediatrics Behavioral Health, the constant chatter and loud noises don’t allow us to settle ourselves for sleep and we feel pressure to finish viewing an episode.
Reading a Thriller Before Bedtime
Reading might be relaxing but turning the pages of a suspenseful thriller may have you tossing and turning once the lights are turned off. Try reading something light or turn to an app like Calm, instead.
Drinking Alcohol Before Bed
Nathan Brandon, a licensed psychologist, says, “Drinking alcohol before bed can cause people to lie awake at night. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, so it makes you feel sleepy, but your brain doesn’t go into deeper stages of sleep.” Besides, a full bladder means frequent trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Thus, sleep disruption.
Sleeping In A No Zen Zone
Where you sleep matters. Having a clean, calming, peaceful space helps optimize better sleep. The more organized and decluttered, the better your chances are for sweet, sweet slumber.
Looking at Screens Before Bed
Dr. Sasha Hamdani, a board-certified psychiatrist and ADHD clinical specialist, states that the blue light coming from your phone, tablet, and TV screen has been shown to suppress melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate your circadian rhythms and lets you get better sleep.
Eating Late at Night
The urge to eat late at night is common and indeed tempting but the body needs time to digest properly, and this occurs when you’re up and moving. Katherine Hall, a sleep psychologist, and sleep coach at Somnus Therapy says, “If you’re lying there with your stomach grumbling, you aren’t going to be able to get comfortable enough to sleep. If you find yourself regularly feeling hungry in bed, consider a light snack close to bedtime — this can help you find the right balance.”
These are just some habits to drop in exchange for some quality sleep. There’s also one other thing to consider: a regular lack of sleep could also be due to an undiagnosed sleep disorder. When all else fails, make an appointment with a sleep disorder specialist. Obtaining proper rest is important.