7 Bad Bedtime Habits That May Be Ruining Your Sleep

by Emma Eddy
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Woman laying in bed
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Often, we do not get the sleep that we need. Sometimes we get overloaded with work. Sometimes we get too caught up in having fun and don’t want to leave the party. At the end of the day, we choose to sacrifice sleep over other priorities. This forms bad bedtime habits and can become problematic to everyday life.

Here are seven bedtime habits that might be ruining your sleep.

1. Keeping an Inconsistent Sleep Schedule: 

Light shining through blinds
unsplash-logoAnnie Spratt

Switching things up can be good in most aspects of life, but if you want a good night’s rest, you should have a set schedule. Going from night owl to early bird throws your body off balance. This can be hard to reset. As a simple rule, try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day.

2. Reading Books in Bed: 

A book and coffee on bed
unsplash-logoToa Heftiba

Another bad bedtime habit is bringing your book to bed. This may sound somewhat counterintuitive given that many experts recommend reading as a great way to wind down before bed (and a good alternative to staring at a phone or tablet screen). However, it is important to condition your mind that bed = sleeping (especially if you have trouble falling and staying asleep).

Ensuring that your bed is used only for sleeping is an essential part of establishing healthy bedtime habits. If reading in bed before going to sleep is a regular part of your routine, your body will learn to stay awake until you open up a book. Consider having your evening read in a room other than your bedroom, only going to your bed when you are ready to sleep.

3. Late Night Netflix Binge: 

Turning on Netflix is a bad bedtime habit
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This is a bedtime habit that everyone should be aware of by now. Staring at a bright screen is hard on your eyes and can make it harder for you to fall asleep. If you spend too much time watching Love Is Blind in the dark, not only will your production of melatonin be restricted, which helps regulate your sleep cycle, but you are also more likely to begin overthinking.

4. Skimping on a Good Mattress: 

Having a comfortable bed is a good bedtime habit
unsplash-logoGreg Rivers

A quality bed must be a priority! Although expensive, comfortable mattresses and pillows cannot be overlooked. They are the key to a good night’s rest and the avoidance of neck and back pain. If your mattress is uncomfortable, spend a few months (or as long as you need) setting aside some money for a new one. It’s a big investment now, but a quality mattress should last you the next decade or so!

5. Having a Bright Alarm Clock:

A digital alarm clock
unsplash-logoYasin Hasan

 The bright light from your alarm clock (or bright LEDs from other devices in your room) can be distracting when you’re trying to fall asleep. You should keep your room as dark as possible for your best beauty rest.

6. Lying in Bed Counting Sheep: 

A sheep
unsplash-logoRaul Popadineți

If you can’t fall asleep, you shouldn’t just lay in bed. In fact, you should get up and do something. According to the Sleep Foundation, if you can’t fall asleep after 20 minutes you should leave your bedroom and try to do something calming. You can read, listen to music, or try meditation using an app such as Headspace (I know we said no screens before bed, but in this case, we’ll make an exception). You can try out Headspace with a 1-2 week free trial here.

7. Exercising Late at Night: 

Bad bedtime habit: Exercising at night
unsplash-logoScott Webb

Exercising makes you feel energized for hours, so you shouldn’t exercise within three hours of trying to fall asleep. Working out also causes your body temperature to rise, which can make it difficult to sleep.

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