Starting off the New Year on a positive note could mean correcting those sleeping habits that are not at all beneficial to your health. Life is better when you get enough sleep, and we mean good sleep. Just like you can’t get through a busy day at work when your cell phone only has 10% battery life, you can’t experience life at its greatest when you are functioning on 10% good sleep.
Quality sleep means waking up feeling refreshed and relaxed. No grogginess, no headaches and no bad moods. When you can master a great routine, and when you have a super comfortable new bed, you might just find that life looks and feels better. It’s all about getting your inner battery properly charged, night after night.
And with the new year now in full swing, and while you might still have a few resolutions in place, it could be more than worth your while to correct some common sleeping mistakes.
Do you have trouble sleeping?
It wouldn’t be a surprise if you said yes. Many South Africans are still finding it difficult to shut down and relax. Busy lives, work stress and worry about the state of affairs of our country are all up there when you’re looking for factors that make sleeping well more difficult than it necessarily needs to be.
We all have sleep habits, even if we don’t realise it. But not all of the habits are what our body’s need, in fact, there are more than a few that are downright dangerous. So, which of these sleeping habits have turned into sleep mistakes?
Night time caffeine
We’re on the bench about whether or not this is truly a troublesome sleep habit. There are many people out there who can have a cup of coffee late at night, and easily fall into a deep, trouble free slumber. It all depends on how your body reacts to the caffeine.
Looking at it from the perspective of a person who is sensitive to caffeine, a late night cup of coffee could be the worst habit you have. Caffeine is a stimulant and as such, it can cause insomnia. If you drink your coffee with sugar, you are adding the extra stress of what refined sugars can do to your hormones. If you are sensitive to caffeine, perhaps it is time to break this nightly habit.
Playing catch up
How rested do you truly feel when you decide to spend a morning sleeping in when you have had a late night? Sleep debt, which is staying up late and catching up on those hours of sleep another time, can be very damaging to the quality of your sleep. It can make you feel sluggish and even more tired than you would have felt if you had just got up at the same time as usual. Sleep debt is pretty much a myth, and one to avoid, especially as you get older.
Snooze button exhaustion
The alarm wakes you up. You press snooze and quickly fall back to sleep. The alarm shrills again, and again you snooze it. What are you doing? Each time you “snooze” you are allowing your body to experience what is called fragmented sleep. Breaking up the sleep means you are lowering the quality of your rest and the result is feeling even more tired than you would have been if you had just woken up with the alarm. If you are not looking forward to experiencing a day of fatigue, leave the snooze.
Sleeping with the TV on
There are two types of people in this world; those who need noise to sleep and those who crave the quiet. Should you fall into the latter group of people, you need to read this. Sleeping with the TV or with a computer on in the background can encourage you to stay up late and get really involved with what is happening on the screen. By doing this, you are messing with your sleeping routine and possibly damaging your sleep.
Indulging in long naps
Often, what you are doing during the day can have a big effect on the quality of your sleep later in the evening. A 20 or 30 minute nap during the day can improve your mental alertness as well as your mood. Such a quick nap can also improve your performance. But the prolonged nap does more harm than good. The moment you nap for more than half an hour, you are putting your usual sleep at risk. Avoid the long naps if at all possible. A late night can make you feel tempted to have a long afternoon snooze, but if you can fight the feeling, you could enjoy even better sleep than you are used to when it comes time to hit the hay.
Ease your emotions
Have you heard that old saying, never go to bed angry? There is plenty of truth in that saying. When your emotions are all over the place, your mind ends up being extra stimulated. You can imagine then that sleep will be hard to come by. And when you do get to bed, you might not have the kind of quality sleep you imagine. If you have been fighting with a spouse before bed, try to resolve your conflict before lights out. Easing your mind will be a great step towards better sleep.
Put the pet in its own bed
Did you know that 62% of cat owners in America sleep with their pets in the bed? And the statistics are not all that different with dogs. But research has shown that sharing your bed with an animal can be extremely disruptive to your sleep as it could have you tossing and turning all night. Often pets get up in the middle of the night, immediately disrupting your sleep. Maybe it is best to let your pets sleep on a bed of their own.