5 Habits That Are Ruining Your Sleep (& How To Fix Them)

by Shruti Shukla

Bad sleep is more serious than just puffy eyes the following day. It can lead to several health concerns like irritability, lack of concentration, headache, and in more grave cases, memory loss and indigestion.

Although insomnia is a medical concern that can be addressed via proper examination, bad sleep is often the result of a bad lifestyle. You’ll be surprised by the habits that could be affecting your nap time. If you find yourself doing any of the things listed below, especially before bedtime, learn how to change your ways, fix your health, and sleep better at night. [Also Read: 5 Tricks For A Blissful Nap]

  1. You Exercise Before Bed: When you work up a sweat, it increases the level of energy produced by the body and disturbs your circadian rhythm, which lets the body know when it’s time to wake up or wind down. This can lead to bouts of insomnia, weight gain, impulsivity and decreased cognitive function. It is best to exercise in the morning. Early morning workouts can boost your metabolism and keep you pumped up through the day.

  2. You Drink Coffee In The Evening: Although you feel the caffeine rush only in the initial one hour after consumption, its effect lasts for up to six hours. This means, if you have your cup of Joe at 5pm, it remains in your system when you go to bed at 11pm. This can disrupt your sleep cycle by delaying the production of the sleep-inducing hormone, melatonin. As a rule, don’t consume too much coffee post 5 pm. Craving a nightcap? How about a nice, relaxing herbal tea?

  3. You Can’t Put Your Gadgets Away: If you’re one of those who can’t do without the smartphone, tablet or e-reader in bed, you’re putting your health at risk. Over-exposure to artificial light from these ‘blue light devices’ at night has serious health implications, both long-term and immediate. It is not conducive to the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, thus preventing the production of melatonin, which is necessary to make you feel heavy-eyed. Richard Stevens from the University of Connecticut in Farmington suggests you stick to soft, dim lights and longer wavelengths in the evening, avoiding the bright blue of your devices. If you need some form of entertainment at night, read a book or play soothing music to put you to sleep.

  4. You Drink Too Much Alcohol: One glass of vino never hurt anyone, but try not to consume too much alcohol close to bedtime. It has a diuretic effect that will make you wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom.

  5. You Take Long Afternoon Naps: While cat naps boost energy levels, sleeping for a long time in the afternoon not only delays sleep time routing in the night, but also leaves you feeling groggy for a while after you wake up. Quick fix? Do a 10-15 minute power nap, which is proven to rejuvenate you and benefit your decision-making ability too.

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