Common sleep mistakes and how you can fix them

Common sleep mistakes and how you can fix them

Posted by Sam Davies (Sleep Guru) on

Sleep is often underrated. In fact, according to the Centre for Disease Control insufficient sleep is currently a public health epidemic.

Statistics show us that 22 percent of people experience a poor sleep on most nights, 47 percent are kept awake due to worry and stress on most nights and 49 percent of people have never taken steps to help them sleep.

This shows that although a large percentage of the population struggles to get to bed every night, they also struggle to ask for help or do anything about it.

Other than ensuring that you have the perfect mattress, we know all about what contributes to a good night’s sleep and have compiled a list of common sleeping mistakes and how to fix them.

Here they are-

Sleep Mistake #1: Catching Up on Sleep on the Weekends

The most common sleep mistake that people make is believing that they can catch up on sleep over the weekend and rectify all the damage they have done from a poor week of sleep.

The truth is that you really need two to three nights of good sleep to rectify the damage from one night of not enough sleep. Meaning that the weekend simply isn’t enough time to play catch up.

According to experts, most adults need no less than 7 hours of sleep per night to feel rested, so if you are not reaching this number on a nightly basis, it may be time to adjust your evening routine.

Sleep Mistake #2: Sleeping with Pets

Even though sleeping with a pet may allow us to feel comforted throughout the night, it may not be the best idea.

Research has shown that those who sleep with their pet are more likely to experience a poor night’s sleep. In fact from a survey conducted, over 63 percent of people who shared their bed with a pet reported difficulties in sleeping soundly throughout the night.

Even though it may be difficult at first, the best way to solve this problem is to put your pets into their own bed. This is the best way to ensure that you and your furry friend receive the best possible chance at a deep, restful sleep.

Sleep Mistake #3: Eating Caffeinated Foods Later in the Day

That extra cup of coffee at 3pm may seem like a good idea to get you through the afternoon, but it may also make falling asleep more difficult.

Caffeine is a stimulant, and even small doses can block the release of neurotransmitters that are responsible for inducing sleep. Meaning that any caffeine based product consumed after lunch can really decrease your chances of having a restful sleep.

Caffeine based products include more than just coffee. Caffeine is also found in some soft drinks, energy drinks, some weight loss supplements, chocolates, and teas. 

For a good night’s sleep, it is best to avoid consuming caffeinated products after 3pm and to switch instead to foods that contain natural sugars and protein like nuts, yogurt and fruit.

These foods will help you to maintain your energy levels and ensure that you have a restful night of sleep as well.

Sleep Mistake #4: Using Technology Before Bed

Using technology before bed may seem harmless, but experts have found that it can also be the cause of insomnia or a restless sleep. This is due to the blue light that is emitted from the screen.

Research has shown that this blue light influences the brain to delay the production of melatonin, which is a hormone responsible for inducing feelings of sleepiness.

Scrolling through social media or browsing the web can also distract us from falling asleep and stimulate the brain in other ways as well.

Over 78 percent of people admit to using a smartphone, tablet or laptop before going to bed, and this may very well be contributing to the high rates of sleep deprivation.

The best way around this is to avoid using technology before bed. It may even help to set a curfew or remove technology from the bedroom completely so you can’t be tempted.

Sleep Mistake #5: Having a Nightcap

It is a common misconception that drinking alcohol at night can help you to fall asleep quicker. While alcohol will help you to feel tired, it doesn’t support having a deeper night’s sleep. This is due to the fact that alcohol can reduce REM-sleep, which is the cycle of sleep associated with deep dreaming.

When the body doesn’t enter REM sleep during the night, it can cause feelings of grogginess, tiredness, and general fatigue during the day.

After consuming alcohol your body also has to work harder to process it, so this can also impact on your ability to get a peaceful night of sleep.

For these reasons, it is best to avoid drinking alcohol before you go to bed. If you do wish to consume alcohol, remember that on average it takes your body at least one to two hours to process a standard drink. If you have relied on alcohol to help you fall asleep faster, choose herbal tea as an alternate beverage.

Sleep Mistake #6: Watching TV Before Bed or Sleeping with the TV On

Just like using technology can impact on a good night’s sleep, so too can watching TV.

38 percent of people admit to watching TV  as a way to wind down before bed, and at least 50 percent of these people admit to falling asleep with the TV still on.

Like your smartphone or laptop, the lights emitted from your TV can block your brain from releasing sleep hormones and can make it more difficult for you to stay asleep.

While you may fall asleep while watching TV, the sounds and lights will eventually wake you up and cause you to have a disrupted sleep.

Watching TV before bed also encourages you to stay up later and can also negatively influence your dreams.

While there is nothing wrong with watching TV in the evening, try to avoid doing it just before bed. One positive step towards preventing temptation is to remove your television from your bedroom. 

Sleep Mistake #7: Not Sticking to a Routine

The best way to ensure that you are sleeping peacefully throughout the night is to establish a routine.

When you go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time, your body gets used to it and naturally adjusts your sleep cycle for the perfect night’s rest.

Research has also found that those who keep a regular sleep routine are more likely to have an easier time in falling asleep and waking up in the morning. They are also more likely to wake up feeling refreshed and full of energy to start the day.

To set up your routine, aim to pick a suitable bedtime and stick to it. When it comes to setting your alarm, avoid hitting snooze and set it for the time you actually need to wake up. Doing this will help your body to establish the perfect rhythm and routine.

Sleep is more important than we give it credit for and avoiding these nasty habits will help to ensure that you are giving yourself the best chance possible for a night of peaceful slumber.

Sweet dreams, Koalas.