Most people know that getting a restful sleep is essential for good health, both physical and emotional. Sleep lets us rest and unwind from the day’s activities, it restores our energy for the next day and is essential for the proper functioning of the entire body. Today’s busy lifestyle, modern technology and many other factors have significantly affected the quality of sleep we get, causing a variety of health problems.
Many things can influence our sleep. If you can’t sleep, some of your habits could be responsible. In this article, we’re going to share 9 things you should avoid before bed for a restful night’s sleep.
Drinking alcohol may cause you to feel sleepy, but once your body begins metabolizing alcohol it significantly reduces the amount of time your body spends in REM sleep, which is the stage of sleep where your body restores itself. This disruption of the sleep cycle leaves you feeling tired and unable to concentrate the next day. In addition, alcohol is a diuretic which will cause you to wake up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom.
Many studies have determined that the light from electronic devices affects sleep quality. Light from a cell phone, tablet, computer and even the television can interrupt your sleep as it impedes the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. Experts recommend removing these devices from the bedroom and avoiding their use for at least an hour before bedtime.
Taking certain types of medication before bed can also influence your sleep quality. Consult your doctor and ask if there are alternatives to taking the medication before bed. For example, antidepressants can affect sleep in both directions. Sleeping pills can be habit forming and this will also affect your sleep. Pain relievers can cause stomach upset and disrupt sleep.
Spicy and High Fat Foods
Eating spicy or high fat foods before bed can alter your sleep as they are associated with acid reflux and other stomach problems. For this reason, experts recommend avoiding these foods in the evening. Instead, opt for a light meal at least two hours before going to bed to give your body time to digest.
Coffee or Tea
Coffee and tea act as stimulants in the body and you cannot sleep when these are consumed in the evening hours. These two drinks possess diuretic properties that can interrupt sleep by making you need to use the bathroom. Both tea and coffee contain caffeine which can keep you up at night.
Although smokers claim that they feel more relaxed after smoking, the truth is the nicotine in cigarettes is a powerful stimulant that can make insomnia worse. This applies to all types of cigarettes,patches, pipes or anything else that contains nicotine.
The evening seems like the best time to exercise for a lot of people. For some, this is the only time they have to practice sports and exercise. However, if the exercise is really intense, it can alter the quality of your sleep.
Talking about Problems
If you’re experiencing problems or a family member or friend is going through a difficult time, it’s better to talk about it in the morning hours after a good night’s rest. Discussing personal problems and stressful situations before bed can keep you from falling asleep. Stress and over-stimulation before bed can cause delayed sleep deprivation, otherwise known as parasomnia.
Sometimes we have no other choice but to work extended hours to meet our obligations. However, you shouldn’t let this become a habit as it can cause problems with sleep, anxiety, nerves and trouble concentrating.