6 Bad Habits That Are Ruining Your Sleep
We lie down in bed at night and long for just one thing: deep, sound sleep. But then it doesn’t happen – we are wide awake. Minutes pass, we toss and turn, and although we are very tired, we just can’t fall asleep.
Have you ever experienced this? We did some research and today we would like to help you sleep better by making you aware of 6 bad habits that could be ruining your sleep.
1. Exposure to blue light
Do you often lie in bed at night and stare at your smartphone while scrolling through your newsfeed? Or perhaps you lie awake at night reading a couple of interesting articles on your phone? Then you’ve probably already noticed that you have trouble falling asleep afterwards. The reason why: blue light!
Televisions, computers and phones – all these electronic devices emit blue light and we are constantly exposed to it. This causes our body to believe it is still daytime and disrupts our circadian rhythm. Studies have shown that blue light affects the body like caffeine. It’s no surprise then that the light emitted by smartphones and other electronic devices can cause sleep disturbances.
Try to cut down on your smartphone or PC usage in the evening and set a time when you stop using these devices for the night. If this isn’t an option for you, you can also download apps that change the color of your screen to a warm orange-red hue. These apps adapt to the time of day – nothing like a beautiful sunset on your cell phone. In contrast to blue light, this doesn’t prevent our body from releasing the sleep hormone melatonin
2. Too much caffeine
Runtastic CEO Florian showed us how it’s done: he quit caffeine for a month. Can you imagine cutting out coffee and other caffeinated beverages? Naturally, you don’t have to go this far. If you want to sleep better, it’s a good idea to avoid caffeine after a certain time (say around 2 pm). This varies, of course, from person to person, but keep in mind what sleep researcher James Maas found out: caffeine stays in your system for 6-8 hours. A pretty long time, don’t you think?
3. Alcohol before falling asleep
A small glass of wine in the evening can make for a nice nightcap. But if you drink too much alcohol in the evening, it can disturb your shut-eye. How did you sleep the last time you drank at a party in the evening? Deep and sound? Or did you wake up a lot and were restless? Alcohol disrupts REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. We spend 25% of our night’s sleep in this phase, which plays a crucial role in our body’s recovery processes. Therefore, experts recommend to stop drinking alcohol 2-3 hours before going to bed.
4. Your bedroom is too warm
Of course, it’s cozy to sleep in a warm bedroom. Especially if your significant other has cold feet 😉 But sleeping in a warm bedroom is not good for our sleep quality: a cool room helps us fall asleep faster. The National Sleep Foundation recommends keeping the temperature between 60° and 67°F (15°- 20° C). We have also put together some tips for you on how to sleep better when it’s hot outside and you don’t have indoor air conditioning.
5. A big meal before going to bed
We’ve all probably done this before: we go out to dinner in a restaurant with friends and we simply eat what our heart desires. And why shouldn’t we?
But then we go home, lie down in bed – and we feel like we have a rock in our stomach. When you need quick relief, try drinking a cup of (decaffeinated) tea or going for a short walk to aid your digestion. And maybe the next time keep it in the back of your mind not to be so greedy in the evening.
6. Intense workout in the evening
A study has found that exercise shortly before bed can interfere with your sleep. Have you done a strenuous bodyweight workout or gone for a run late in the evening and had trouble sleeping afterwards? Of course, everyone is different, but sleep researchers recommend finishing your workout 2-3 hours before going to bed. Then you should have no trouble sleeping.
Do you have some tips for a good night’s sleep? Post your ideas in the comments below!