If you’re constantly jolting awake throughout the night, tossing and turning for hours on end, or waking in the morning feeling sluggish and fatigued, it may be time to re-evaluate your day-to-day behaviors. Unfortunately, everything from the food you eat to your exercise habits to fluctuating stress levels can impact your sleep cycle for better or worse. Because there are an array of situations that can disrupt a restful night, taking an honest inventory of your everyday habits is a critical first step when solving poor sleep.
Although a restless night here and there isn’t abnormal, consistent sleep irregularities or chronic insomnia are concerning for your mental and physical health. Disruptions in your rest cycle can lead to poor concentration, a hampered immune system, and an increased risk of depression, among other cognitive and bodily side effects. Because untroubled sleep is integral to your overall well-being, you should prioritize healthy behaviors and daily habits that promote undisturbed REM-filled rest.
Read on for six habits you should kick to the curb to improve your nightly shut-eye.
Settling for a subpar mattress
A sure-fire way to sabotage your REM cycle is slumming it on a poor-quality mattress. In addition to being wildly uncomfortable, sleeping on worn-out, second-rate bedding often leads to prolonged back pain, achy joints, and lung irritation from dust mites. While you may not want to fork out the cash for a high-quality mattress, your body and mind will thank you for the rejuvenating, slumberous nights to come.
That said, it can be challenging to know when to swap out your old bedding for a high-quality one. As a general rule of thumb, tossing and turning, sneeze attacks, and jutting lumps are all signs it’s time to treat yourself to a new-and-improved mattress. With an organic mattress from manufacturers like Essentia, you’ll be counting sheep rather than counting down the days until your new mattress arrives.
Checking your phone moments before bed
While it’s common practice to scroll through your social feeds for last-minute catch-up before bed, sleep experts frown upon late-night check-ins with your phone as the glaring light can negatively impact your sleep cycle. The blue hue emitting through your device disrupts melatonin production, a hormone output that aids in deep, REM sleep. While it may take time to acclimate to a “no-phones before bed” rule, your body will thank you with a restful night.
Living a sedentary life
For those living an inactive lifestyle void of daily movement or exercise, the chance of experiencing sleep disruptions increases significantly. By simply adding twenty to thirty minutes of aerobic exercise into your daily routine, you set your body up for a successful, restful night of shut-eye.
Watching TV while falling asleep
For many, the droning sound of a television playing in the background may feel relaxing during bedtime. However, leaving the TV to play while you nod off is likely having the opposite effect on your brain, resulting in unfulfilling sleep from bright lights and disrupting noises. That said, if you rely on background noise as a calming effect, consider trying out white noise machines or phone apps that can mimic TV sounds.
Caffeine in the afternoon
Although you may crave a midday cup of joe to keep you chugging along during work, the effects are much more long-lasting than an energized afternoon. Drinking beverages high in caffeine past 4 pm may hinder your ability to fall asleep quickly and settle into a healthy REM cycle.
It can be challenging to pinpoint which daily habits or behaviors are contributing to irregular, disruptive sleep. However, for every possible instigator, there are several solutions you can employ to douse insomnia-filled evenings with relaxing, sleep-inducing effects.