Mistakes We All Make Before Going To Bed

By Tom Pearson 9 months ago

An Inconsistent Bedtime

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An inconsistent bedtime is one of the worst mistakes we make when it comes to bedtime. By keeping your bedtime the same, you get into a natural rytham, meaning your brain starts to wind down at the same time every evening. This also means its easier for you to wake up, as you get a set amount of sleep each night and do not need to try and run yourself on next to no rest.

Big Meals

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A large meal is a nice evening reward, but its the worst thing for keeping you up at night. As your body digests, a lot of your internal organs are going to town on the food you've just enjoyed. This means that you aren't actually able to properly rest. Paired with heart burn and indigestion, having a large meal can keep you up for hours and hours.

Energy Drinks

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As the name suggests, energy drinks give you a lot of energy. This should be pretty self explanatory, but if you drink a high caffeine energy drink, your energy levels rise and you become more alert. This is of course a negative when trying to sleep, as your alertness will keep you active until the early hours, great when cramming for a test, but pretty awful for the rest of the time.

Cleaning

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Cleaning up in the evenings is a great way to spend some time and tire yourself out before bed. Make sure to take some time after your cleaning however, as this simple activity is known to keep people awake for hours. The strong smell of chemicals and focus nature of cleaning activates your brain and is too much of a stimulant to aid sleeping and proper rest.

Working

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When at work we end up using the biggest muscle in the human body... The brain. When we are working we are really thinking about what we do, as no one wants to make mistakes and have to redo their work. When you get home from work, try not to think about the day you have had or what you have coming up, its super important to separate the time between work and home.

Bright Lights

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Bright lights are actually a renowned sleep deprivation technique used by the British SAS forces. By putting prisoners into brightly lit rooms, they keep them sleep deprived for days at a time. Obviously, the vast majority of us aren't living under these conditions. However, its still worth baring in mind that bright lights are one of the best things to keep you awake.

Watching TV

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Watching television at night combines bright light and mental stimulation into a recipe for lack of sleep. There's a reason that young children get so engrossed by bright television shows, and to a lesser extent it affects adults in the same way. The television keeps us thinking, so try and avoid it for at least three to four hours before bedtime.

Lying Awake

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Everyone knows that awful feeling of lying awake in your bed for hours on end. The night seems to slip away as we just lay there. It almost seems like the longer you lie awake in bed, the more stressful the thought of not sleeping becomes and the less sleep you end up getting. The best thing to do is get up for a bit, and head back to bed when you feel tired again.

Cheap Blinds

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Cheap blinds are great for one reason at least, they are pretty cost effective. As a result, cheaper blinds are made from thinner materials, meaning that when the sun comes up, your bedroom gets bright. Blackout blinds are best for keeping the suns rays out, but if you are on a budget then decent ones are hard to come by, so maybe opt for thick curtains too.

Coffee

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Coffee, like sugary energy drinks, is loaded with caffeine. If you take you coffee black the caffeine hit is more intense, and if you take sugar then the awake factor increases. Coffee actually contains even more caffeine than the vast majority of energy drinks, making it the best thing for getting you going in the morning, but the worst for getting to sleep at night.

Sleeping With Pets

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Everyone likes sharing a bed with their four legged friends, but they can be more of a hindrance than a help when trying to get some sleep of your own. Pets take up a lot of room and sprawling limbs end up kicking us awake throughout the night. Bigger pets like medium to large dogs can also get pretty warm, waking us up in a sweaty puddle.

Over Stimulation

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Over stimulation is the most common way that we subconsciously keep ourselves awake at night. With phones, laptops, games consoles and more things to research than we could ever imagine, the possibilities for learning and entertainment are endless. Whilst this is good during the day, try and switch yourself off a bit in the evening to avoid over thinking before bed.

Open Curtains

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Duh, open curtains is of course not a great way of getting better, deeper sleep. With your curtains open, you wake up when the sun comes up, robbing you of valuable resting time. During the night, passing cars and street lights keep you awake. Thick curtains are also a great way to block out street noise, so you wont hear people talking or cars passing by your window.

Daytime Napping

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Whats better and more refreshing than a daytime nap. When napping, try to set yourself a twenty minute alarm. This will stop you falling into a deep sleep and make going to bed at night easier. By napping for more than an hour, your brain goes into a state of deep sleep, meaning that you will require less sleep at night and you will stay awake longer.

Video Games

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Many people have the misconception that video games are the perfect way to relax and unwind after a day at work. Providing you stop playing games early enough, this can be true. However due to the bright screen and need for hand eye coordination, video games can actually perk us up and keep you awake for hours after to try and get some needed sleep.

Doom Scrolling

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Doom scrolling is the name given to looking through negative news articles for hours on end. When we undertake this practice, it isn't only damaging for our mental health, its also damaging for our physical health. We need sleep to restore muscles and process information, so try and put your phone down for a few hours before you get some sleep.

Reading Too Much

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Reading before bed is a great way to relax. The lack of screen and natural light used to read is great for helping us wind down. Even many e-readers do not use blue lights in their displays, as this is the light the keeps us up. Reading too much however can be too much, especially if we get into a good thriller. It can lead to speculation and keep us up reading more.

Playing With Pets

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Playing with your pets is great fun, but the activities can get a little boisterous and over the top. Pets make great play mates, but don't really like to stop for the most part. This means that pets are likely to bother you to play more when you want to go to bed. A great tip is to play, do some training then take pets for a walk. Make sure to relax with them so they get ready for bed too.

Working Out

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Working out raises your heart rate and creates endorphins. This means that when you get to bed, your body is preparing itself for more work. Working out in the morning is actually far more beneficial as it gets your metabolism going, making weight loss and muscle growth easier. Working out also raises body heat, again a negative when trying to sleep.

Drinking

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Drinking too much too often is a terrible habit to get into when it comes to getting full, restful sleep. Drinking too much puts our brains into a state of panic, as we don't really know how to process the alcohol and the brain treats it as poison. This means that we don't actually 'switch off' properly. Drinking for many nights in a row can be detrimental to out health.

Sleeping Late

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Sleeping late at the weekend is actually one of the worst things you can do for your sleep. We can't bank sleep on the weekend to use throughout the work week, so by sleeping in you are just wasting your days and making it more difficult to get out of bed during the week. Try and set your alarm for a similar time during the weekends to make it easier during the week.

Wrong Clothes

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Who sleeps in jeans? Psychopaths. Sleeping in uncomfortable clothes is of course one of the easiest things to change to help you get some sleep. There isn't really a formula to this one, just wear something that's comfortable to bed and it should help you get a good sleep. Try and wear something to sleep rather than naked, just in case you need to get up in a hurry.

Sleeping In A Mess

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Sleeping in a messy environment is more of a mental block for most people, rather than something that physically stops you from sleeping. When you are really tired, you can sleep anywhere, but lots of people struggle sleeping somewhere messy (especially in a new environment). If you have friends coming to stay, have a quick tidy up before they arrive.

Sleeping On The Couch

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Sleeping on the couch normally means that you are in deep trouble with the other person or people in your house. Couches are not meant to be slept on overnight. The cushions are firmer than a mattress, and the stiff arms are hard to rest your head against. They might be fine for a night, but try and avoid sleeping on the sofa long term if you can.

Hitting Snooze

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Hitting snooze may seem counter intuitive, you end up getting more sleep, right? Well though you might get slightly more sleep, hitting snooze frequently actually results in you getting worse, less restful sleep. The time spent sleeping after you have been woken up isn't really doing anything for you, so its best to get up as soon as the alarm goes off.

Working In Bed

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Working in bed is one of the worst things you can do. The screen is bright, its mentally stimulating and it can be pretty stressful. It is important to have boundaries between home and work, and working from bed crosses them boundaries. Working from bed makes it hard to disassociate that space from work, meaning you will subconsciously stay awake.

Snacks In Bed

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Similar to eating a large meal before bed, snacking in your sleep space causes you more harm than good. By snacking in bed, you will be digesting long into the night, which keeps you up for hours. Indigestion and heartburn can play a factor in keeping you awake, and not to mention the fact that you can get crumbs in your bed, its a recipe for disaster.

An Uncomfortable Bed

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Sleeping in an uncomfortable bed is awful for a restful sleep. If you have ever been camping and had to sleep on the floor, you'll know what i mean. Sleeping on a lumpy mattress or on someones bedroom floor will result in a sub par nights sleep. It's best to avoid this for long periods of time if you can, and try and get a better sleep when possible.

Social Media

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Social media is bad for our mental health in general, as it causes us to compare our lives to the unrealistic lives of others, which have been manipulated for the screen and maximum likes. Staying off social media for periods of time is just good advice in general, but its definitely a habit not to get into before you try to hit the hay and get some rest.

Stressing Out

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Stressing out is a tricky one. We all stress out, sometimes you know why, but most of the time you just feel stressed. It can be hard to know how to deal with this, but find something that works for you and use it before you go to sleep. Personally i recommend a cup of tea or cocoa and a good book to help de-stress before turning in for the night.