5 Important Sleep Mistakes You Might Be Making

Sleep isn’t just “time out” from daily life. It is an active state important for renewing our mental and physical health each day. Listed below are top reasons people regularly fail to get a good night’s sleep:

1. “Catching up” on Sleep

Though you may feel more rested on Monday morning after sleeping in all weekend, that extra shut-eye doesn’t erase all of the drawbacks from not getting enough sleep during the week. While extra weekend sleep does help reduce daytime sleepiness and stress, your ability to focus and pay attention will still be reduced. It can also throw off your internal body clock (also known as your circadian rhythm) and lead to Sunday night insomnia.

2. Caffeine

When it comes to sleep, caffeine has the power to interfere with regular sleep patterns, as well as help hide existing sleep deprivation, which can, in turn, lead to issues like insufficient sleep disorder. To avoid caffeine-related sleep problems, stop intake of the substance—whether through coffee, soda, chocolate, or any other form—for at least four to six hours before going to sleep. Doing so is one step toward creating good sleep hygiene habits. And remember: caffeine can stay in your system for up to 12 hours, so if you’re a person who is highly susceptible to caffeine-related side effects, it’s best to avoid having caffeine any time after lunch.

Solution: Give yourself three good night’s sleep to get back to a  normal routine after serious sleep deprivation.

3. Hitting The Snooze Button

The extra sleep that you can get by hitting snooze comes in small chunks and isn’t good quality—and it can actually do you some harm. Since the snooze session doesn’t last long enough for you to finish a complete sleep cycle, you could end up feeling super groggy for the first hour and a half of your day.

Solution: Set your alarm for when you actually need to get up. Try to set it for the same time every day (even on the weekends). This regularity can help you wake up without the need for an alarm in the long run.

4. Alcohol

Drinking actually increases deep sleep during the first part of the night. Although this is true, you aren’t actually getting the rest your body needs. Here’s why: during the second half of the night, this sleepy effect wears off and you’ll be more likely to wake up or toss and turn, reducing your overall time spent asleep. In addition, REM sleep (the deepest stage of sleep, during which you dream) is negatively affected by booze. This is the stage of sleep that helps boost memory, concentration, and learning, so paying attention at work may feel a tad challenging after a night of one too many drinks.

Solution: Avoid drinking alcohol just before you go to bed. On average, it takes an hour for the body to process one unit of alcohol. Instead, opt for herbal teas, such as chamomile or sleepy time tea.

5. Technology

It may seem harmless to knock out a few emails before bed or unwind with a favorite movie, but by keeping your mind engaged, technology can trick your brain into thinking that it needs to stay awake. And if you’re surfing the web, seeing something exciting on Facebook, or reading a negative email, those experiences can make it hard to relax and settle into slumber. After spending an entire day surrounded by technology, your mind needs time to unwind.

Solution: Give yourself a tech curfew, move your electronics out of the bedroom if needed.

Finally…

The quality of your sleep directly affects your mental and physical health and the quality of your waking life, including your productivity, emotional balance, brain and heart health, immune system, creativity, vitality, and even your weight. No other activity delivers so many benefits with so little effort.

Sleep isn’t just a “time out” from daily life. It is an active state important for renewing our mental and physical health each day. If you’re failing to get a good night’s sleep, contact us to schedule an appointment or answer any questions.

(Some information provided by Sleep.org)