Getting quality sleep is essential for your health in many ways. Therefore, developing healthy sleep patterns is crucial to help your body get the rest it needs. Bad habits can impact sleep patterns in a variety of ways. For example, staying up late to watch television or using electronic devices can disrupt the production of the melatonin hormone, which facilitates sleep.
Before you know it, insomnia becomes a nightly routine. The concern is the interference with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle and its ripple effects. With 70% of the adult population struggling to sleep, it’s vital to prioritize getting quality sleep. And knowing which habits to avoid is a good place to start.
Here are some habits that negatively impact your sleep…
Watching TV or using electronic devices late at night
Have you heard of blue light? It is an electromagnetic light or energy spectrum that boosts brain function. This energy spectrum activates neurons (brain cells) by targeting the brain, explaining why it boosts alertness, elevates mood, and keeps you awake. On the surface, it looks all hale and hearty to have an electromagnetic energy spectrum that offers these positive benefits. However, excessive blue light could negatively impact your health.
It all boils down to timing and being mindful when using blue light. Modern electronic devices like smartphones, computers, and television emit this energy spectrum, explaining why people can stay glued to these devices for long periods. Long hours behind blue light-emitting devices stops melatonin production, negatively affecting sleep. Sleep specialists advise against using these devices so close to your sleeping hours. It’s best to put them away to reduce distractions and make it easier for you to prepare for bed.
Unplugging is a great way to condition your mind for a good night’s sleep.
Being constantly stressed about your inability sleep
If you have experienced a persistent inability to sleep, the anxiety associated with it can be extremely disturbing. According to sleep and behavioral experts, anxiety peaks just around when it is time to sleep, contributing to an inability to sleep at night. Without guided therapy to deal with the underlying anxiety, there is an increased risk of depression. Research has shown that people who experience insomnia for more than three months are twice likely to deal with depression.
Fortunately, there are ways to deal with such anxiety, increasing your chances of enjoying a quality night’s sleep. People practice mindful exercises such as meditation and yoga to calm down.
In some cases, others explore alternative relaxation methods such as Delta 8 gummies to help resolve anxiety. These coping mechanisms relax the body and the mind, resulting in a feeling of inner peace. You can try any of these to determine what works best for you. Identify everyday activities you love that help take your mind off things when you’re stressed. These include listening to soothing music, reading your favorite book, and journaling, to name a few.
Taking excessive stimulants and depressants before bedtime
You may have heard much about coffee and its interference with normal sleep patterns. The main ingredient in coffee is caffeine, which is a natural stimulant. Research often reveals that drinking coffee before bedtime is not advisable. As a stimulant, its primary function is to bind to receptors in the brain, triggering your brain cells to remain alert and reducing the chances of you feeling sleepy anytime soon.
Another stimulant you should avoid before bed is alcohol, as it also interferes with normal sleep patterns. When alcohol enters the bloodstream, it targets the brain and slows signal transmission. In other words, active neurons stop firing, and that’s when you start to feel relaxed, intoxicated, and sleepy. Many wonder how something that brings on sleep turns around to disrupt it. However, the answer lies in post-metabolism.
After your body fully processes alcohol, it stimulates excess glutamate, an excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain that can prevent you from staying asleep for long hours. When your body fully metabolizes the alcohol, you wake up, and this cycle disrupts your sleep.
Eating heavily before bed
Heavy meals can also negatively impact the quality of your sleep. Although they may make you drowsy a few minutes after eating, they can also cause discomfort at night. Indeed, you may doze off for a maximum of one hour but may find difficulty sleeping afterward. A heavy meal right before bed means your body redirects all its energy to digest the food, which is a heavy-duty activity.
Your stomach and intestines are compelled to break down the food you ate just before bedtime. As a natural response, the brain stops the production of melatonin (sleep hormone). Unfortunately, the outcome interferes with your sleep.
Additionally, you may experience discomfort through heartburn, acid reflux, and so on. If you can’t avoid having a late meal occasionally, liver salts may help to some extent after your meal, but it is advisable not to make it a daily habit. An early dinner, followed by a light snack, can be ideal for your digestive system and quality sleep.
Exercising too close to bedtime
Exercise is great for the body. Apart from the physical benefits, it has great advantages for your mental and emotional health. It is a great way to release dopamine and endorphins, which are mood-regulating hormones that are healthy for your body. However, exercising too close to bedtime releases a flood of these crucial hormones, which can be disturbing when it’s time to sleep.
That is why it is better to exercise earlier in the day and not anytime close to when you finally retire to bed. Experts say working out at least four hours before bedtime is best because it allows your body to hit dopamine and endorphin peaks. After the peak, the levels gradually reduce and normalize, resulting in a night of better and more enjoyable sleep.
With a little observation, you will notice that the gradual decline of these two hormones activates better sleep. If this works for you, sticking with the routine is best.
Napping too close to bedtime
Napping is an excellent way to boost your energy, increase productivity, and allow your body to relax after a stressful period. However, the timing of your naps makes all the difference. The tip here is knowing when to nap without affecting your sleep.
Grabbing a little shuteye too close to bedtime diminishes the positive benefits of a quality night’s sleep. The truth is that late napping reduces the natural sleep drive that kicks in at night. It’s almost as though your body has already rested and doesn’t need any more sleep. As a result, napping about three to four hours before your actual sleeping hours could leave you wide awake for the rest of the night.
According to science, this happens because of the interference of melatonin. When you nap late in the day, the brain loses a bit of its natural ability to trigger ample melatonin – the sleep hormone. Moreover, you feel uncomfortable after a late nap because of the conflict between your brain and the body. That means your internal clock, or the circadian rhythm, knows it’s time to sleep, but your brain cannot sync.
As technical as some of the above-listed habits may sound, it’s best to understand them to identify which ones to avoid. Keeping them in mind will help you improve your sleep patterns and get the quality sleep your body deserves. It will also benefit your overall health and well-being in the long run.