What NOT to do, if you want to sleep well

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If a good night's sleep is a rare commodity in your life, maybe your night-time routine has a few too many "don'ts". These are seemingly small things most of us do every day, that can sabotage our sleep.

The biggest sleep no-no is thinking you can make it work on less. Dr. Christopher Allen, of Covenant's sleep center in Saginaw, says adults need a minimum of 7 hours of sleep, "If you go under that it can also lead to certain disorders or co-morbiditites that will make your health worse. "

But quanity of sleep is only as good as the quality of that sleep; and litttle things we do can really interfere with our sleep cycles.

"You may not notice that it's actually fragmenting your sleep, because it is happening while you sleep," Allen says, "And the ony way you know about it is when you wake up in the morning and you feel un-refreshed."

Screen time is high on the list of "dont's". TV's, cellphones, computers, tablets- are not for bed-time.

"Usually you want to have a wind down time about an hour to an hour and a half before. Meaning that the lights will be lower, electronic devices you want to wean away from because, unfortunately, some of that blue light can actually promote you staying awake at night," Allen says.

Most of us know that caffeine before bedtime is a bad idea. But, you should actually back off on coffee and other zippy drinks after noon.

Dr. Allen says the same goes for alcohol, "Eventhough alcohol can help you fall asleep, it actually fragments your sleep. So you're falling asleep, but it's breaking up the quality sleep that you should be having."

No one is suggesting you skip dinner, but don't eat a big meal right before bed. If your system is digesting, it probably isn't resting.

Also, don't exercise too close to bed time. While you may think it wears you out, it actually can still interrupt sleep- especially if you follow it up with a nice, hot shower.

"Make sure the temperature is not too warm because, again, if you raise your body temperature, that promotes you staying awake."

Your bedroom should stay below 70-degrees and be a space that promotes relaxation, as much as possible.

Finally, if- no matter how many hours you sleep- you still feel rotten, especially if someone tells you that you snore, you may have sleep apnea, or another disorder. If you do, a sleep expert may be able to help you do something about that.

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