Tired of putting your head down after a big day, only to find yourself feeling restless and unable to switch off? We totally get it, a good night’s sleep is often hard to come by, yet far more important than many of us care to admit.Believe it or not, poor sleep can be the result of memory issues, mood changes, an inability to concentrate, a weakened immune system, weight gain, high blood pressure, poor balance, and more. So, if you’re struggling to restore your nighttime routine, here are our top 5 bad bedtime habits to break in 2021.
Habit #1: Eating a heavy meal before bed
While it’s easy to succumb to those late-night pesky cravings, believe it or not, it’s recommended to not eat heavy meals or snacks within 2 to 3 hours of your bedtime. Wondering why? It’s simple: your body requires time to digest your food before you lie down (which works a lot more effectively when gravity is on your side i.e. sitting or standing up). Without allowing time for your food to digest, you’re more likely to get indigestion and heartburn, which occurs when your stomach is full and acid creeps into your oesophagus. In turn, this is likely to interrupt a comfortable night’s sleep. To solve this habit, simply eat your last meal roughly 3 hours before bed and brush your teeth to avoid temptation.
If you’re seeking a nutritious, low-calorie dessert that won’t put a dent in your diet, we highly recommend adding Evolve Pro-Treat to your nighttime routine. Perfect as a late night treat to curb your sweet tooth and boost your daily protein intake in the most delicious way possible, Evolve’s innovative Pro-Treat makes it easy for you to get your sweet quick fix, while supporting your muscles while you sleep.
Habit #2: Drinking a little too much alcohol at night
While you may have heard that alcohol will help you ‘sleep like a baby’ owing to its drowsy effects, multiple studies have proven that having one too many drinks actually does the opposite. While, technically, it may help you fall asleep faster, your REM sleep (the dreaming state), will be affected, impacting your body’s ability to experience a deep and restful night’s sleep. Just like habit #1, if you drink alcohol too close to bedtime, your body won’t have time to digest it before you sleep, which will also keep you up. Plus, did you know that drinking too much alcohol at night can increase your chances of sleepwalking, sleep talking, and memory problems.
Habit #3: Jumping into bed too early
Nope, that’s not a typo. Believe it or not, going to bed too early can be just as counteractive as going to bed too late. If you’ve found that you’re forcing yourself to have a ‘good’ nighttime routine that incorporates getting to bed extremely early, or you jump into bed well before you’re tired in anticipation of a big upcoming day, you could be doing yourself a disservice. Wondering why? Increased arousal sends signals to your body to keep active, resulting in you tossing and turning all night and not getting the rest required to feel your best. Believe it or not, the best time to go to bed is when you’re genuinely feeling sleepy, not just tired.
Why is it so important? Getting adequate amounts of sleep is critical for hormone balance. 6 to 8 hours of unbroken sleep is preferential. However, taking naps away from your main sleep cycle to catch up is a good idea if you cannot get 6 to 8 hours. If you have difficulty switching off, try ADRENAL SWITCH™ after dinner. It’s a delicious, sweet treat that will curb your sugar cravings and support a restful and restorative night’s sleep.
Habit #4: Having your phone next to you while you sleep
Whether you use your phone as an alarm or simply find yourself getting stuck in the late-night Instagram scroll, placing your phone near you before and while you sleep can do far more harm than good. Electronic devices give off blue light, which is a type of light that inhibits the production of melatonin, which is a sleep-inducing hormone. In turn, this makes it a lot harder to get the quality sleep required to feel rested. Instead, try switching your phone to flight mode so the light and sounds don’t interfere. If you need to be on your devices at night, turn down the brightness to help prepare your eyes for a night of restful sleep.
Habit #5: Consuming too much water before bed
As many of us are distracted with work commitments during the day, it’s easy to forget about meeting our daily water requirements...that is until we’re getting ready to hit the hay. If, like many of us, you’ve fallen into the habit of going heavy on the glasses of water at night, we recommend implementing a better hydration routine during the day. This one may sound obvious, but one of the most common causes of sleep disruption is the urge to go to the toilet at night due to a full bladder. If nighttime is your thirstiest period, try to leave an hour gap between drinking water and going to bed, or simply settle for half a glass of water at night.
Habit #6: Using your bed as a workstation
We know the thought of working from bed may feel tempting, especially as the months get cooler. However, working from bed can be detrimental when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, as you may subconsciously associate your bed with wakefulness, resulting in your brain going into work mode as you put your head down to rest. To resolve this problem, aim to set up a dedicated workspace that’s preferably not in your bedroom, and certainly not in your bed, to help clear the lines between work and relaxation time.
Why is it important to get a good night’s sleep?
While you’re sleeping, your body is working hard to support healthy brain function and to maintain your physical health. Your body plays an important role in healing damaged cells, boosting your immune system, recovering from your daily tasks, and recharging your heart and cardiovascular system. In fact, sleep is the secret to maintaining optimal emotional balance, brain health, mental sharpness, energy, and your ability to handle stress adequately.
To understand exactly why sleep is so crucial, it’s important to understand the sleep cycle and what your body experiences during these phases. The sleep cycle consists of two phases, which you’ve most likely heard of: REM (rapid eye movement) and Non-REM (non-rapid eye movement):
- Non-REM sleep - This form of sleep generally makes up 75-80% of your total sleep each night. It is responsible for tissue growth and repair, the restoration of energy, and the release of hormones that are required for development and growth.
- REM sleep - This form of sleep typically makes up 20-25% of your total sleep each night. During periods of dreaming, REM sleep plays an important role in helping our minds process and consolidate emotions, memories and stress. Additionally, it’s also essential for learning as it stimulates areas of the brain that are used for learning and developing new skills.