5 Habits To Avoid Before Bed For Better Sleep

Jun 27, 2016
Tagged with: 5 Habits To Avoid Before Bed For Better Sleep

Arianna Huffington, co-founder of The Huffington Post and renowned sleep advocate, was recently quoted as saying “Sleep deprivation is the new smoking”. She could not be more correct. We are currently in the middle of a national epidemic, with 70 million people suffering from a sleeping disorder. For many, getting a good night’s sleep is now a rare occasion. This is largely due to a lack of awareness of the importance of getting that 8 hours of sleep every night. It is also due to bad habits which have become normalized. So what are some of these bad habits, and what can we avoid to get a better night’s sleep?

The first two relate to what we are putting into our bodies. For many, eating a large meal before going to bed is unfortunately a regular occurrence. Of course we all need to eat dinner, but the time we do this is very important. If we eat right before going to bed, our bodies will be digesting while we are trying to sleep. This digestion is essentially physical activity. By eating a couple of hours prior to our bedtime, we can give our body some time to metabolize our food. This increases our chances of sleeping well.

Other than food, you want to avoid consuming alcohol before bed. This is because it leads to dehydration which in turn prevents optimal sleep. So keep alcohol intake to a minimum in the two hours before bed.

Do you find that sometimes you cannot switch your mind off when trying to sleep? This can at times be difficult to avoid. However, we can try to minimize the chance of it happening. To do this, avoid stimulating your brain before bed. Whether it be by working late, or some other activity which triggers a lot of thought. Give your brain an hour or so to relax and unwind before hitting the pillow.

One of the most common pre-bedtime habits is to have a shower or take a bath. This should be avoided right before going to bed. The reason being, it increases your body temperature. Our sleep is aided by cooler temperatures, so we want to keep our body temperature cool at bedtime. By all means shower or bathe yourself, but do it an hour before bed.

The final habit to avoid is using your smartphone or device in bed.  Not only will doing so stimulate your brain activity, the blue light the screens emit disrupt the natural release of melatonin. We rely on this hormone for the best sleep, so put your phone down and read a book instead.

Author: Nick Hasche

  • bobl07

    Thank you for this piece. I unfortunately struggle with eating before I sleep. Now, I know why I do have issues sleeping.