The Absolute Worst Things To Do Before Bed
In sickness or health, good sleep is essential to make you feel your best. Activities like midnight munching, binge-watching, and scrolling on your phone can prevent you from getting the sleep you deserve. Here are habits you should avoid if you want to get quality sleep.
After a long, tiring day, all you want to do is just crawl under your blankets and sleep it off. Instead, you end up scrolling through your Instagram feed or binge-watching a show for the 10th time along with snacks. It can be a pretty addictive cycle, right?
Getting enough sleep daily is important for your physical and mental well-being. But good sleep is difficult to come by when midnight munching, binge-watching, or getting caffeinated. On average, adults between 18-60 years of age need seven to nine hours of sleep. As per a 2022 report in BMC Psychiatry, 81 per cent of Indians reported troubled sleep.
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Sometimes, what prevents you from achieving that shut-eye is what you’re doing before bed. For instance, working out may be a good thing to do as it keeps the body active, but exercising close to your bedtime can disrupt sleep. Blame it on the cocktail of hormones that are released after exercising. Even doom scrolling can lead to bad sleep. You may feel these habits are harmless, but they could quietly be disturbing your sleep pattern. Interrupted sleep and sleep deficit may be the reasons why you feel tired and sluggish all day even after clocking in eight-hours of sleep.
A good night’s sleep is more than simply going to bed on time. Knowingly or unknowingly, we might all be messing with our sleep cycle. But what are these habits, and are they really ruining your sleep as much as you think? Let’s find out:
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The Absolute Worst Things To Do Before Bed
1. Staring at a screen: You feel tired, but cannot stay away from scrolling your mobile or laptop before bed. According to a 2022 study published in Sleep Science, excessive use of electronic devices (mobile, laptop or TV) before bed can disturb sleep or sleep latency (transition from wakefulness to sleep). The blue light emitting from gadgets can stimulate your eyes and decline your melatonin levels that controls the sleep-wake cycle.
To be honest, anything on the screen will not help you sleep unless you power them down at least an hour prior to sleep time. This will help calm your eyes and mind.
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2. Indulging in fast food: After the 4-hour scroll you’ve just done through your social media pages, there’s no question that you need a snack! And, what about when you wake up hungry at night? But, it's not good for your sleep. Midnight snacking can mess with the body’s circadian rhythm and make sleep disorders like obstructive sleep apnea worse. It results in producing calories that are stored as fats from late-night treats and can cause acid reflux, bloating, and less time spent in the rapid eye movement (REM) stage of sleep.
Before calling it a night, try easy-to-digest proteins like milk, soft cheese and yoghurt that can keep you full while you slumber. Keep at least a three-hour window before going to bed for undisrupted sleep.
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3. Consuming caffeine or alcohol: Who can say no to a cup of hot coffee? But it's a BIG no-no when you want a good night’s sleep, and the same goes for alcohol. Like coffee, alcohol contains high levels of caffeine that can disturb your sleep routine. It is a no-brainer to avoid caffeine or alcohol a couple of hours before bed, as caffeine can take longer to leave the system.
Alcohol can make you feel drowsy at bedtime, but it'll make your night jittery and unsettled. So have that glass of wine early and get it out of your system long before you turn out the light.
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4. Getting into an argument: We all know not to do it, so here's your gentle reminder: "don't go to bed angry". The bedroom is for sleep, and once you have decided to rest, keep phones away. The best you can do is try to resolve the issue that has been egging you. This can bring you peace of mind and help you sleep without any negative thoughts.
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5. Reviewing the day non-stop: Do you feel that sometimes you cannot turn off your thoughts at night? Your subconscious mind can even pull out some embarrassing memories from your everyday routine, teenage years, or something you’re not proud of. Fun times!
Thoughts that you cannot shake can create chaos in your sleep cycle. You can try a simple meditation practice, free writing, or simply take a few moments to reflect on the issues you're facing.
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6. Having an erratic bedtime schedule: We all are guilty of trying to keep a sleep schedule and failing at it. Many of us have long working hours and odd timings like graveyard shifts that can make it hard to fall asleep at the same time every day. But, irrespective of days or level of tiredness, you should never fight your body’s sleep cycle.
Your body and mind needs a cue that it’s time to rest. And, to get the same, you need a little preparation. The best step to start getting better sleep is to set an appointed sleep timetable and stick to it. Being consistent can get your body rhythm on track.
7. Chugging lots of water: Sipping water all day is great to stay hydrated. However, try to reduce the quantity before bed to avoid frequent urination in the middle of the night. It's completely up to you, but keep in mind it will affect your sleep as you will have to get up every time your bladder pushes you.