Though we may not realize it, mistakes that we make before and during sleep are affecting the proper sleep our bodies should be getting, and are therefore affecting our overall health. What mistakes are you making when it comes to your sleep? Come and see for yourself!
1. Not Being Consistent with a Sleeping Pattern
Here is a sleep mistake I'm guilty of. I tend to go to bed really late one night, then early the next hoping to make up for lost sleep the night before. According to Dr. Frank Lipman, this does me no good. Being inconsistent with your sleeping patter will affect your body's rhythms and patterns, and can create more insomnia problems to deal with. What we should be doing it sticking with a certain time to go to bed and a time to get up. This will help to regulate your body in a way that it knows when to release serotonin and when to get your waking hormones up.
2. Taking Long Naps
It's ok to take a 20 or 30-minute nap if it's before 4 p.m. However, napping for longer periods of time will (again) affect your body's sleeping pattern. So remember, no napping after 4! Save it for bedtime!
3. Not Preparing Your Body for Sleep
It is unrealistic and completely crazy to go directly from being busy around the house to immediately going to sleep. Our body needs time to unwind and gear down, so to speak. About an hour before bedtime, (which is ideally around 10 p.m.) turn off all electronics, and dim the lights. Do something relaxing like taking a bath, doing to yoga, or reading. As your body begins to relax, you will find that you're more apt to go to sleep faster, and rest will be much more fulfilling.
4. Not Giving Your Body the Right Signals
The difference between light and darkness has a major effect on our bodies. Today, with all the artificial light and electronics, we miss out on the natural ways of life. Our bodies were designed to react to changes like light and darkness as signals to know what to do. Sleeping with lights on, or in rooms where electronics are on is a bad idea. Even the tiniest amount of light in a room can affect our body's pineal gland's production of sleep hormones, and so we don't get the sleep we need. It's a good idea to sleep with the room as dark as you can possibly get it. It's also a good idea to train your children to not have to depend on a night-light.
5. Having Sugary Bedtime Snacks
Talk about a way to put your body in overdrive when it should be in neutral! Eating sugar before bed overloads your system and your hormones take a crazy ride on a roller coaster! It's better not to eat anything after 6p.m. but if you must have a bedtime snack, choose something high in protein instead.
6. Relying on Sleeping Pills
Sleeping pills may appear to be helping, but deep inside, they're doing more harm than good. They are extremely addictive, and can make it harder than ever for you to fall asleep without them. In studies, one of the most common causes for insomnia is stress, so it's a good idea to try and relax and ease the stress before bed. If you need some help going to sleep, try using natural herbs like valerian to relax you before bed.
7. Watching TV at Bedtime
The worst thing you can do is have a television in your bedroom. The only two things your bed should be associated with are sleep and sex! Not TV! Watching television as you go to sleep causes crazy sleep patterns, since you almost always doze in and out of sleep, and wake up at odd times. Keep the TV in the living room, and the love and shut eye for the bedroom!
8. Staying in Bed, Hoping to Fall Asleep
Many times, we lie in bed, and find ourselves wide-awake. But we choose to just lay there...and lay there in an attempt to go to sleep. If this happens to you, try getting up, going to another room, and reading or something else quiet and calming. It is said that the body goes through something they call "sleep gates" or "sleep waves" Researchers have found that your brain goes through a sleep cycle, where every so often, it signals it's time for sleep. Sometimes these cycles come ever 90 minutes, and for some, every 2 hours. Think of it like surfing - if you miss the wave, hang out for a bit then try again!
I hope some of this information helps you. I know looking it up sure helped me! Do you have any secrets to good nights sleep? If so, we'd love to hear!
Top Photo Credit: Ben Heine