Getting enough sleep is vital to our energy, brain function and even our ability to protect against ill health.
But as many as 50 million Americans struggle to get enough sleep each night. And the reason is often not just due to “stress”.
In fact, there are three supposedly “healthy” habits lots of people do at bedtime, which could be ruining their sleep:
1. The Social Media Spiral
Lots of people think that late-night scrolling on social media helps them unwind.
But nothing could be further from the truth!
Instead, all the chaos playing out in social media can wind you up tighter than a drum.
Instead of lulling you into a peaceful slumber… the endless video clips… the snapshots of all the chaos in the world… and the unavoidable comparison with others' seemingly perfect lives…
All spark bonfires of stress hormones!
These stress hormones then put you in “fight-or-flight” mode…
And stop your brain relaxing into the calm state that’s essential for sleep.
2. Late Night Snacking
At bedtime, your digestive system slows down in preparation for sleep.
This is why late night snacking is a terrible idea!
And it’s not just pizza, chips, cheese, spicy or fried foods you should avoid.
Here are some supposedly healthy foods that can cause indigestion if eaten late at night:
Citrus fruits - Citrus fruits can be tough for your digestion to cope with at the best of times. And eating oranges, lemons and grapefruit close to bedtime can trigger a bout of acid reflux, making it hard to line down, let alone sleep.
Chocolate - A few squares of chocolate while watching your favorite TV shows is a simple luxury millions of people enjoy. But chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine. These are both stimulants that can keep you awake and increase the risk of heartburn late at night.
Mint - This herb may have a cooling effect on your mouth, but it can have the opposite effect on your stomach. Mint can relax a valve that normally blocks stomach acid from the throat, and can be yet another cause of heartburn late at night.
3. The Trap of the 'Perfect' Sleep Routine
Health bloggers love to share their perfect bedtime routine.
But trying to be too “perfect” can have the reverse effect.
If you’re too focused on following every sleep hygiene rule in the book…
…you know, like sleeping in a cool, dark room and meditating for 20 minutes every night…
It can start stressing you out instead.
So that when sleep doesn’t come fast enough, it triggers bedtime anxiety that drives any hopes of sleep away.
Sweet Dreams are Made of This…
Rather than perfect bedtime routines and nightly scroll-athons…
Try switching off the TV and putting your phone in a drawer an hour before bedtime.
And pick up a book instead!
Choose books that are relaxing, interesting but not too gripping… and they’ll use up what remaining energy you have in your brain.
You should then find your mind calming… and you find it a lot easier to drift off at bedtime.
But if swapping screens for stories doesn't work…
Give BioLuna a try.