5 Ways You Could Be Ruining Your Sleep Pattern (And What To Do Instead)

You will understand the benefits of a good night's sleep, of course. 

By getting the recommended amount of z's (between 8-9 hours), you will benefit your health, be more productive in your day, and be less of a danger to yourself and others because you will be more alert to what is going on around you. 

With the above in mind then, we hope you had a good night's sleep last night! But if you didn't, and if you woke up today feeling less than refreshed, there could be some very good reasons why. And in some cases, it might be that you are (partly) to blame. 

Below are just some of the reasons why you could be responsible for your poor sleeping pattern.

#1: You haven't changed your mattress in a while

According to the National Sleep Foundation, a mattress will last for about 8 years. After that time, the comfort level will be decreased because of sagging lumps, (potentially) bust springs, and a gathering of dust and dirt that can hinder your breathing ability. So, if your asthma has been playing up in the night, or if you have woken up with stiff joints, you now know the possible reason why. 

Tip: Turning your mattress over will help, for a time. Giving it a good vacuum will also help, as this will get rid of the surface layer of dirt (and any dust mites). But if you haven't replaced your mattress in quite a long time, then perhaps now is the time to check out online mattress reviews as research for a replacement.

#2: You eat a large meal before hitting the pillow

How about a lovely bowl of spaghetti? Or how about a large pizza and a plate load of chips? Tasty, right? Sure, but not right before bedtime! Yet many of us do eat large meals before hitting the pillow, perhaps because we are hungry after a night on the town, or because we have come home late from work and need to eat something. But here's the thing. If you're guilty of this, you won't sleep very well. A large meal will sit heavily on your stomach and you might experience heartburn too. The chances of you sleeping well are slim.

Tip: Eat earlier in the evening, as you will then give your food time to digest. But if you do feel hungry at bedtime, eat those foods that will induce sleep instead of those that will disrupt it. There are some ideas in the linked article, so have a read, and add them to your bedtime menu. 

#3: You have one last cup of coffee before going to bed

Just one more cup of coffee won't hurt, right? Wrong! Not only will you be getting up to go to the loo if your bladder is full, but as the caffeine in coffee acts as a stimulant, your mind will be buzzing too. Caffeine can also reduce your quality of sleep, as you are less likely to fall into a deep, relaxing slumber. So, ditch the coffee, and ditch any other kind of caffeinated drink when you're getting ready for bed, as you will have a better night's sleep if you do. 

Tip: If you're not thirsty, don't have a drink at all. You can then cut out an extra trip to the bathroom in the middle of the night. But if you do want something to drink, have a cup of cocoa or warm milk, or any of these other drinks that will help you sleep

#4: You scroll through Facebook when you're in bed

If you're more than a little addicted to screentime, you might be tempted to sit in bed with your phone. After all, you might just miss out on a wonderful post. How else will you know what your best friend is planning to eat for breakfast the next day? How else will you know what she is thinking just before she settles down for the night? These are matters of utmost importance! And away from Facebook, you might also play Candy Crush or whatever else people are playing these days on their phones, and you might be tempted to watch a late-night movie on your phone, tablet, or TV too. By doing any of these things, however, you are disrupting your internal clock, so it will be harder for you to get to sleep. And especially if you are scrolling through social media, you might read something that disrupts your thoughts when you finally hit the pillow.

Tip: Reduce all screentime an hour or more before bed. Use your time to do those things that are guaranteed to rest and relax your body and mind. So, you might read a book, for example, or meditate, or write into a journal to vent any thought that might cause you to dwell on something when you're trying to sleep. 

#5: You sleep during the day

When you're tired during the day, you might be tempted to close your eyes and take a nap. On the one hand, this is okay, as long as you're not at work or driving your car! Some people are able to take naps in the day without facing much of a problem when trying to sleep at night, so fine. However, if you are struggling to sleep, and you have been napping during the day, then you might want to consider your lifestyle. 

Tip: If you can get a good night's sleep, then you will have less need to nap during the day, as you should be less tired. However, if you are tempted to hit the snooze button early on in the day, do something to refresh your energy levels. Take a walk, get some fresh air, exercise at home, and try one the linked methods to combat tiredness. By taking such steps, you should sleep better at night. If you still struggle to sleep, you might want to book an appointment with your doctor in case there are any other issues that could be affecting your energy levels.

Thanks for reading!

*Header photo (Pexels CC0)

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