Getting a good night’s sleep is important for a lot of reasons. Sleep makes you feel better, but it also forms a key part in ensuring a healthy lifestyle, with benefits to your heart, weight and mind.
Additionally, the brain needs to form memories and go through the day’s events and this can only happen when we’re asleep according to the Sleep Health Foundation Australia.
Despite this, many adults just aren’t doing the right thing by their body when it comes to sleep. Sure, you’ve all heard about the things you shouldn’t be doing — don’t watch TV or use an electronic device, such as a smartphone or tablet, in bed; don’t drink coffee before bed; avoid exercising in the evening… But what if you are following those simple steps and still not getting a good amount of shut-eye?
Here are a few habits that could be affecting your sleep.
1. You eat whenever you feel like it
If you eat a balanced meal most nights of the week but let yourself go a couple of nights a week with takeaway or late night snacks this could be having more than just an impact on your diet. Studies have shown that if you eat at inconsistent times or have erratic dietary habits you’re putting your chances of a good night’s sleep at risk.
It’s recommended therefore that you try and be consistent — stick to a regular eating routine.
2. You like a bit of citrus
According to Harvard University professor Karen Carlson, eating citrus before bed should be avoided. While tea with lemon might sound like a good idea, citrus can keep you up in a couple of ways. First, it could give you heartburn, which might give you a restless night, and second, the smell of citrus often boosts your mental stimulation and energy levels, which is hardly what you need when you are trying to drift off to sleep.
With that in mind you might want to avoid having that orange, drinking that tea or even washing your sheets in a citrus scent.
3. You don’t have the right temperature
If you think getting all warm and cozy is perfect for sending you off to dreamland, think again. Temperature plays a huge part in how well you get your sleep, but if you increase your body temperature it can have a negative impact.
The same can be said if you are uncomfortably cold — you won’t fall asleep easily and/or you won’t maintain your sleep if you are feeling the chill.
What’s the right temperature then? The best temperature for sleep — as recommended by the National Sleep Foundation — is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit (15C and 19C).
4. You use your bedroom for more than just sleep
If you have a stack of books, a television and even a computer in your bedroom these can be a major source of distraction for your brain, which in turn can prevent you from sleeping well.
The solution is obvious — remove as many distractions as possible from your bedroom and you’ll get a better night’s sleep because of it. Of course, if that’s just impossible (who doesn’t love a good book?) you might want to consider changing your habits so that you don’t do certain activities, like surfing the internet or checking your Facebook or watching TV, from your bed as you are trying to drop off.
5. You take your pills before bedtime
For some people, taking their medication in the evening is much easier to remember than at any other time of the day, but there are some medications you should avoid taking as they can affect your sleep.
Vitamins B6 and B12 are two such examples. However, for a comprehensive guide you should consult your health care professional about your current prescriptions.