A productive day is determined not on what you do the moment you wake up but on the quality of sleep you get throughout the night. A quality sleep revitalizes your body and provides you the much-needed energy you need for the next day’s activities.
Toss and turn at night and you’ll surely wake up tired, less energetic, with decreased mental capacity and productivity and even a worse mood. All these things are possible to happen when you stick to the bad habits that make your sleep patterns worse. Getting quality sleep is much possible when you replace the following bad habits with good ones.
Bringing your stress to bed
Zen masters say stress shouldn’t be a part of our life because we’re created to enjoy better living conditions. This can be ideal, but today’s fast-paced world makes it impossible to totally eliminate stress from your life. The only way to fight off stress is to manage it the best you could. If you’re unable to keep stress at bay, it will intrude on your sleep and affect all other areas of your life, including your productivity.
During stress, your body releases hormones that prepare you to fight or flight responses. These hormones keep you alert by increasing your heart rate and blood pressure. For this reason, falling asleep at night is difficult.
Manage your stress by doing calming activities like meditation, light exercise, listening to soothing music or practicing conscious breathing. Don’t make it a habit to sleep with your stress if you want to get good Zzzs.
Drinking too much coffee
Some people drink coffee to help them wake up while others do it to calm themselves down. Whatever your reason for taking your cup of joe, just make sure it’s not part of your bedtime routine. Coffee contains caffeine, a substance that makes you alert. Start to create a habit of drinking your coffee at least four hours before bedtime to avoid tossing and turning in bed.
Drinking alcohol at night is a habit that some people have developed to ease up from the demands of the day and connect with their drinking buddies. While alcohol can be a good tool for improving your social circle, it can work the other way around when it comes to achieving a good night’s sleep. Alcohol acts as a stimulant that increases your chances of awakenings throughout the night, aside from the frequent trips to the bathroom to pee.
Sleeping in bright lights
One good strategy to achieve a good night’s sleep is by making your bedroom conducive for sleep. This means there should be no bright lights inside. If you want to read before sleeping, use a lampshade instead of having bright lights overhead. And when you decide to hit the pillow, dim the lights. This can give your brain the message that it’s time to sleep.
Your body is governed by sleep-wake cycles. The wake cycle is determined by natural or bright lights while darkness signifies the time for sleep. A dark room would be ideal but if you can’t sleep in total darkness, a dim light will do.
Sharing room with pets
Your pets’ sleep patterns are not regulated by sleep-wake cycles the way humans do. Pets can be nocturnal creatures, making them stay more active during the night. Sharing bed with your pets can affect your sleep, especially when they always get up to play or do some other things.
Going to sleep when you’re still mentally active
Your body should be relaxed and a bit tired when you go to bed. Going to bed when your mind is still focused on too many things prevent you from falling asleep quickly. This makes you toss and turn. The longer you fall asleep, the more frustrated you become, leading to becoming more awake.
Instead of fidgeting in your bed when you can’t sleep, get up and do relaxing activities. Stroll in your garden when the moon is out or play with your pet until you feel tired. But don’t reach out for your gadget. The blue light can keep you awake rather than induce you to fall asleep. If you can’t help reaching out for your phone, call a friend and have an engaging conversation.
Taking longer afternoon naps
Power naps are helpful for your health. But you need to set your limits. Don’t nap for longer than thirty minutes and avoid doing it later in the day. Doing so will make it hard for you to fall asleep at night since your body has more energy derived from the power nap.
Eating heavy evening meals
Your body is supposed to rest at night, which means there’s no need for you to stuff your body with much food. Sleeping with a full stomach can disrupt your sleep because your body will work hard to digest the food instead of preparing you for a restful night.
Gulping too much liquid
Staying hydrated is essential for your body’s health. But do it most in the mornings and less in late afternoons or evenings. Drinking lots of water increases your bathroom trips. When you do it close to bedtime, you’re likely to wake up in the middle of the night to pee. Drink enough water in the evening to keep you from being thirsty but not too much.
Eating chocolates before bedtime
Like coffee, chocolates contain stimulants that can keep you alert and awake. Chocolate also contains theobromine, a stimulant linked to increased heart rate and sleeplessness. If you can’t say no to your sweet tooth, have yourself a milk chocolate bar, which has less caffeine compared to dark chocolates.
Allowing clutter in the bedroom
Your bedroom can be messy, especially when you’re a busy person who has a lot of things going on your plate. Yet, these should not be an excuse to not clean up the mess before going to bed. After all, a cluttered room can greatly affect your sleep quality.
One study revealed that people who have cluttered rooms were more likely to suffer from sleep disorders. The clutter around you can influence whether you sleep easily or not. Make it a habit, then, to clean your room before hitting the pillow and you won’t regret it.