Despite a prolific amount of scientific research, there are still plenty of people who think that lack of sleep is no big deal. Part of this can be attributed to the fact that information pertaining to sleep’s effects on our health is not widely disseminated. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sleep is increasingly being recognized as important to public health. Sleep deficiency has serious consequences both for the individual, and for society. One in three adults do not get enough sleep on a regular basis. Sleep deficiency has been linked to motor vehicle crashes, industrial disasters, and medical and other occupational errors. One of the main reasons for sleeping problems in adults is a propensity for engaging in bad habits prior to falling asleep. These habits have been researched, and proven, to adversely affect both the quality and duration of sleep. To fall asleep quickly and get a better night’s sleep, these are the things you should never do just before you go to bed.
Watch TV – About two-thirds of adults watch TV before bedtime. The problem with watching TV is that it stimulates the brain, which can affect the secretion of melatonin, a hormone necessary for quality sleep. To fall asleep easier, shut the TV off at least one hour before bedtime.
Update social media, check email, text – Our desire to constantly interact with our social networks is seemingly insatiable. It’s easy to reach for our smartphone and check email, texts, social media, or browse the web. Similar to watching TV prior to bedtime, smartphones also stimulate the brain. The blue light produced by many electronic devices interrupts the body’s natural sleep/wake clock, also known as circadian rhythm. Put the phone away at least one hour before you go to bed.
Eat fatty, spicy or sweet foods. Eating foods that are spicy or laden with fat close to bedtime, can trigger the stomach to respond with acid reflux. And if you eat sweets just before bedtime, you are more likely to experience a crash in blood sugar while asleep. Try to eat no later than two hours before bedtime to allow for proper digestion.
Drink or eat anything with caffeine. Caffeine can stay in the body for as long as 12 hours. And be careful because caffeine can hide in unexpected places, like chocolate and even decaffeinated coffee. Have a nice cup of herbal tea before bedtime to help you relax.
Not having a bedtime routine. The brain needs a period of time to unwind and prepare for sleep. Any activity too stimulating close to bedtime, makes it difficult for the brain to do just that. It isn’t a good idea to do anything that requires significant brainpower before crawling into bed. Take at least 30 minutes and do something relaxing to invite a good night’s sleep.