The 7 common habits STOPPING you sleep (time to turn the heating down)
MOST of us haven't been following our normal routines after the Christmas and New Year period and may have developed bad habits that prevent us from drifting off to sleep.
A lack of sleep can leave us feeling grumpy, tired and can even hinder our ability to function properly.
Instead of reaching for another cup of coffee, it's important to understand how everyday habits could be having an impact.
During the winter months we all have our heating on a bit higher, while most of us spend more time indoors – but could these actions be stopping you from reaching the land of nod?
Experts have now revealed the seven sleep habits that could be having a detrimental impact on your health and wellbeing.
1. Sleeping with the heating on
Home interior specialists at Hilarys say one factor that often leads to uncomfortable sleep is catching forty winks with the heating on.
They said that this can lead to the body becoming overheated which can in turn lead to issues such as dry, red and itchy skin.
"It is recommended to sleep in a slightly cooler room to ensure the temperature of your brain remains lower than the temperature of the rest of your body, as this leads to better quality and undisturbed sleep."
2. Eating too much before bed
While it might seem like a good idea to grab a snack before you go to bed if your tummy is rumbling, GP Carol Cooper says this could keep you from drifting off.
Dr Cooper, who works with Nexium Control, says you should eat dinner earlier in the evening in order to prevent heartburn keeping you up at night.
Dr Cooper said eating with a full stomach can affect your sleep: "It’s always best to try and eat as early as possible so that the contents of your stomach has enough time to move into your small intestine.
"It is argued that heartburn is more likely to occur if the stomach is not fully empty by the time you go to bed.
"If you have eaten late, I would advise to wear loose fitting clothes to bed so it’s less tight around the middle."
3. Sleeping next to your phone
According to Sleep Medicine Reviews the blue light from digital devices directly affects the body's production of the sleep hormone melatonin, responsible for making us feel sleepy.
Even though we have heard time and time again that the best way to wind down before bed is to switch off the screens, data from the Body Shop shows that 14 per cent of Brits use them to help us wind down.
The blue light omitted from phones and laptops can disrupt the body's circadian rhythm – which is your natural body clock.
Previous studies have shown that low levels of melatonin in the body have been linked to insomnia and irritability.
4. Not enough sunlight
If you've been isolating due to the coronavirus and don't have a garden or outdoor space to spend time in, then it's likely you'll be limited to the amount of sunlight you're exposed to.
Hope Bastine, psychologist and resident expert at sleep tech firm SIMBA said while it can be tempting to jump in the car on gloomier days – it's important to try and get outside.
She said: "Too little sunlight during the day can lead to issues such as Seasonal Affective Disorder and hypersomnia – a condition that makes it difficult to stay awake during the day.
"Morning daylight has been linked to a good night’s sleep. In 2017, researchers found that people who were exposed to greater amounts of light during the morning hours, between 8 am and midday, fell asleep more quickly at night and had fewer sleep disturbances during the night compared to those exposed to low light in the morning."
She added that fresh air is free and is a potent ingredient to restorative slumber.
5. Boozing before bed
The experts at Hilarys say that drinking alcohol before bed can disrupt your sleep and can have and impact on the quality of your snooze.
Booze reduces the amount of REM sleep we get. This is the part of our sleep cycle that gives us the deepest sleep and helps us feel refreshed when we wake up.
Sleep disruption caused by a few too many glass of wine can leave people with insomnia and feeling extremely sleepy and lethargic the next day.
6. Ditch the caffeine before bed
While most of us wake up and make a coffee or a tea, experts say you should try and limit your caffeine intake before bed.
Caffeine isn't just found in tea and coffee and is also present in many fizzy drinks.
Karl Kristian founder and health and wellbeing expert at New Nordic told The Sun that the best way to get a good night's sleep is to drink a herbal tea before bed and ditch caffeine which can leave you feeling more alert.
He said: "Chamomile tea contains antioxidants that help relieve stress and anxiety by reducing inflammation and soothing your muscles which is why it is often recommended for those that struggle with insomnia."
7. Exercising before sleep
While you might think that pounding the pavements or getting stuck into your favourite Joe Wicks workout will help you drift off but experts have warned against exercising before bed.
The experts at Hilarys said: "Exercising before bed increases your body temperature and stimulates your nervous system which can lead to disrupted sleep.
"It is advised if you do workout that you do this a minimum of two hours before you go to bed, to ensure you have enough time for your body to relax and get back to normal levels."
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