According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, one and three American adults struggle with insomnia. Dr. Matt Goldenberg, who is a certified psychiatrist, says that one of the most common complaints that his patients report to him is insomnia. The cause of insomnia can be anything from anxiety to depression. To best determine the specific causes for your sleeping troubles, you should consult your doctor. But there are a few bedtime habits that you can refrain from doing today that could give you a better night’s sleep.
Avoid Drinking Coffee After Lunch: Goldenberg recommends that you avoid any caffeine after lunch and four to six hours before bedtime. I agree with his statement because caffeine is used as a pick-me-up. So if you are drinking it close to bedtime, there is no way you’ll be able to quickly fall asleep because coffee heightens your senses so you’re alert.
No Alcohol Before Bed: Some people may be surprised when they learn that alcohol actually makes your sleep worse and is one of the common bedtime habits. Although it can make you fall asleep quicker, Goldenberg explains that it actually causes more disruption during a normal sleep in the second half of the night. He adds that it decreases and delays rapid eye movement throughout the night. Another fact that he states is that alcohol can make snoring and sleep apnea even worse, which will contribute to you being fatigued the following day.
Stop Smoking Before Bed: This habit goes beyond a good night’s sleep. Quitting smoking alone is one of the hardest things do in life. So asking someone to top this routine before bed is easier said than done. But it just adds another reason why people should quit smoking. Goldenberg says that people who smoke before bed feel the stimulant effects of nicotine withdrawals during the night, experience breathing disorders and could be associated with psychological disturbances which can keep them up at night.
Avoid Large Meals Before Bed: Some people think that eating a large meal will put them into a “food coma” which will ultimately put them directly to sleep. But Goldenberg explains that people should actually avoid eating large meals within three hours before going to bed. The problem with consuming large amounts of nutrients and carbs before bed is that they can increase the chances of obesity and other cardiometabolic diseases, says Goldenberg. Both of these can increase the risk of sleep problems. One solution is to eat a light snack if you find that you’re constantly hungry before bed.
Avoid Drinking Large Amounts of Fluids After Dinner: Yes, bedtime habits do include avoiding large amounts of fluids. Goldenberg says that this bedtime habit is an obvious one to avoid. The more fluids you drink, the more trips to the bathroom you’ll have to do. If you’re trying to sleep and you’re constantly heading to the bathroom, you won’t be able to get into a nice rhythm and it can be difficult to fall back asleep.
Avoid Using Your Bed For Non-Sleep Activities: According to Goldenberg, in order to properly train your brain to associate sleep with getting in bed, you need to limit your bedroom activities. He adds that you should try and associate your bedroom with sleep and intimate times with a partner. Watching television or using your laptop will only train your brain to associate your bedroom with ways to distract yourself and keep you awake.