3 Ways You Might be Sabotaging Your Sleep

sleep Feb 20, 2017

You’ve heard about how important sleep is and yet there’s a good chance you are constantly short-changing yourself.  It seems like everything is more important than a good night of sleep. Having a good night of sleep starts long before you even turn out the light.  Here are three of the most common blunders that you might be making, along with tips on how to change your habits. It just might change your life!

Phones or Computers in Bed

There’s a few things wrong with this picture. First off, if you have a partner, your electronic device is putting an invisible wall between the two of you, shutting you off to easy communication and decreasing the opportunity for intimacy.  Second, the blue light exposure can disrupt sleep cycles (even if you don’t notice it), which decreases the depth of sleep and ability to get optimal sleep.

Easy Fixes:

  • Put the phone or computer away and actually be intimate with your partner (Gasp!). Or if you don’t feel like being intimate, snuggle on the couch with a warm blanket and read a book until you are ready to fall asleep, then slide into bed.  If you don’t like reading take a warm bath, stretch or listen to relaxing music.
  • If you must keep those electronics in bed see the world through rose colored glasses! The pink filters out the blue light that electronics put out, which keeps you awake.
  • Get a blue light filter for your computer or smartphone- Many programs are available on the market that adjusts how much blue light you are exposed to depending on the day

Collecting Clutter

There’s nothing like trying to fall asleep in a room that’s dusty, dirty and full of clutter. I’ve worked with clients who have a hard time sleeping or end up sleeping on the floor because there are too many books on their bed, or because their dog takes up too much room.  Seriously! You are the most important person in your world, treat yourself that way!

Easy Fixes:

  • Keep your room clean and free of clutter. Remove anything on your bed other than your necessary bedding. This includes all those floofy decorative pillows that just take up room.
  • Dust your room regularly to keep the air fresh.
  • Remove distractions such as televisions and cell phones.
  • Manage your pets. If you have a dog or cat that moves around at night and keeps you up, it’s got to be addressed. Crates make great little dens for these critters so that they can be part of your “pack” but not interrupt your sleep. If your pet is used to sleeping in your bed they may protest and cry for the first few nights. They will adjust and the crying will stop.  Work with a trainer to make the transition easier.

Stimulants and Such Before Bed Time

How many times have you heard people say that they can drink coffee before they go to bed and it doesn’t impact their sleep?  Yes, there are some people who tolerate caffeine much better than others. However, caffeine is a stimulant and will impact sleep to some extent, even if you don’t notice it. Other common blunders that people make are to use nicotine or other drugs, drinking alcohol or exercising prior to bed.


Easy Fixes:

  • Cut out stimulants, alcohol, nicotine and other non-prescription drugs several hours prior to bedtime.
  • Talk to your pharmacist about timing to take your medications. Some drugs are stimulating and better taken earlier in the day. Others are better to take just before bed to achieve their best results.
  • Give yourself a wind-down period of 30-60 minutes prior to your intended sleep time to prep your mind and body for sleep.  Do calming activities during this time with dim light to provide your body with the correct cues that it’s time to sleep.

If you want to see better health outcomes, heal faster, lose weight and have more energy, start improving you sleep habits and make these simple changes. Sleep tight. Zzzzzzzz.


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