3 Practices you NEED STOP DOING before bed!

You'd be surprised what keeps you up at night. Here are 3 simple practices you may be doing, that you should probably stop doing in order to get a better night's sleep.

Ditch the Screens & Turn off The Tech

 Theory: Not only do series marathons make for a tempting reason to delay going to sleep, but the dramatic content of whatever it is you’re watching; whatever that might be - can have the exact opposite effect on the brain that you ought to be inducing: activating and engaging, rather than switching off and drifting off to sleep. When you watch TV or play games your attention is concentrated, your imagination stimulated and even hormones such as adrenaline can be released - hardly sleep’s best friend! You’ll know what I mean if you’ve ever shut your screen down only to find yourself imagining all the possible (or impossible) things that could happen in the next episode!

In addition, the blue light emitted from screens also affects your body’s naturally occurring process and rhythm by preventing the release of the hormone melatonin, an important hormone for maintaining and regulating your sleep cycle.

Action: Shut those screens down at least 30 minutes before bed - that includes your phone. And if you’re protesting with the fact that you use your phone as an alarm, leave it either in another room or on the other side of the room - at least then you can’t hit the snooze button.

Put that coffee cup down!

Theory: In a study conducted by Researchers from the Sleep Disorders & Research Center at Henry Ford Hospital and Wayne State College of Medicine found that drinking coffee/tea or any other caffeinated drinks, from anywhere between 0-6 hours before bedtime had a significant effect on sleep disturbance. Even after 6 hours, sleep times were affected by over an hour!

Action: Limit your intake to 4 cups maximum a day and set a cut-off point at 2/3pm

Say goodbye to Nightcaps  

Theory: If you’re a fan of the nightcap you may be thinking, ‘why would I do that? I fall asleep faster!’ Well, you may be right about that, HOWEVER, a good night’s rest is made up of much more than simply falling asleep quicker and the number of hours you sleep. Yup, you read that right, good sleep is more than how long you sleep for - it's about the quality!

So what’s alcohol got to do with the quality of my sleep you say? Well, sleep is a cycle, comprised of several stages. Drinking alcohol before bed causes us to spend less time in the most restorative stages of sleep: ‘deep sleep’ and the ‘Rapid Eye Movement’ (REM) stage of sleep. So, no matter how long you sleep for, or how quickly you fall asleep, you’ll awake more tired and much less refreshed. Remember, alcohol may induce sleep, but it won’t give you a good night’s rest!

Not only that, but you’re likely to need to get up and go to the toilet in the middle of the night. And it’s not just the alcohol you’ll be losing either. Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it encourages the body to lose extra fluid through sweat too which makes you dehydrated - yet another 2 reasons your quality of sleep will be impaired: dehydration +  having to get up.

Action: If you are drinking alcohol in the evening, try to make sure it’s at least an hour before you ‘hit the hay’, that way, you’ll have given your body the time it needs to process the alcohol. 

To Summarize: Ditch the Screen + Do away with the Nightcaps + Halt the Caffeine intake after 3 pm.

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