With our schedules that seem to get busier every day, it can be tough to make sufficient time for sleep. And the daily realities involve friends, family, and work commitments. But whatever the case may be, sleep remains a priority for overall well-being.
Studies have shown that sleep impacts the body to cellular levels. Meaning, if you engage in irregular sleep patterns or poor-quality sleep, it will interfere with the body’s cellular function. Moreover, poor quality sleep has been known to impede our ability to fight off infections, regulate metabolism, and cope with stress. A single night of poor-quality sleep can leave you feeling unmotivated, sluggish, and unfocused.
The National Library of Medicine (NIH) revealed that chronic sleep deprivation can impede immunity, blood pressure, and mental health which, over time, can lead to increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and depression. That said, the things you do before bedtime can significantly impact the quality of sleep. Below are five habits that interfere with a good night’s sleep.
1. Exposure to screens and electronics
Sleep deprivation (also referred to as insomnia) has been linked to surroundings such as lighting from screens, especially the blue light part of the spectrum. Doctors have for a long time warned that blue light from electronic screens can severely impact sleep patterns and quality.
As the eye health and lens technology physician at Block Blue Light explains, blue light is responsible for severe sleep disorders. Doctors have warned for years that we should avoid screens right in the hours leading to bedtime to improve sleep quality. That’s why the Block Blue Light agency has specialized in sleep-friendly glasses that are designed to block the harmful effects of blue light and can be reviewed through the official site.
2. Drinking alcohol or smoking right before bedtime
The temptation is real for most people but it is not helpful. Alcohol will make you drowsy and may fragment your sleep into discontinuous stages. Besides, it may make your snoring worse if consumed right before you go to bed. Some alcoholic beverages too can keep you awake for hours if taken before bedtime.
Likewise, the nicotine extracted from smoking cigarettes can ruin your sleep. In most cases, smoking only leads to more cravings, which worsens the withdrawal syndrome that could keep you awake at night.
3. Taking caffeinated drinks late in the night
It is common that people turn to coffee in the late afternoons especially in the freezing weather. However, this can interfere with your sleep. That’s because too much caffeine can stimulate the nervous system, hence keeping you awake by enhancing your brain activity and function. This is not ideal for quality sleep.
4. Taking meals too close to bedtime
The body turns to its metabolism function soon after you eat. And if it is digesting a heavy meal, then chances are you wouldn’t relax and fall asleep easily. Besides, sleeping while your body is digesting food can lead to excessive production of acid that can cause heartburn and indigestion. The resulting burning sensation makes it impossible to get quality sleep.
That said, the ideal scenario is to eat dinner at least two or three hours before bedtime. This way, your body will have an opportunity to digest food and enter into the rest mode before you can sleep.
5. Sleeping at odd hours
Our bodies are biological vessels that have a natural circadian rhythm that responds to the rising and setting of the sun. This pattern has an impact on when our bodies feel to be the most awake or most asleep. The hormone melatonin determines sleep and is influenced by light.
How that works is that when you expose yourself to sunlight, the production of this hormone slows down, and you, therefore, remain active and alert all day. but at sunset, its production increases, and feelings of tiredness creep in. which means that sleeping says, during the day, is a natural opposition to the circadian rhythm, which leads to hormonal imbalance that negatively impacts sleep.
Adults need at least 7 to 8 hours of quality and regular sleep at night. Studies show that poor sleeping habits such as irregular sleep times, drinking or smoking right before sleep, and taking meals close to bedtime can interfere with your body’s ability to get quality sleep. And how long you sleep, coupled with other pre-bedtime practices, can give you quality sleep that contributes to good overall health, good brain function, and enhanced metabolism.