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Ariana Huffington, author of “The Sleep Revolution” and The Huffington Post editor-in-chief tells Business Insider the 8 common sleep mistakes people do that contribute to a bad night’s sleep.
Skipping your workout
Studies have shown that morning and afternoon workouts can increase a person’s quality and amount of sleep at night. One study found that exercise adds around 45 minutes of extra sleep.
“Staying active won’t cure sleep complaints,” Rodyney Dishman, a researcher at the University of Georgia told Huffington for her book, “but it will reduce the odds of them.”
Eating a late-night meal
“If we have a big meal and then go straight to bed, our sleep is not going to be as restorative because our digestive system is occupied digesting, instead of everything being able to slow down and recharge for the next day,” Huffington tells Business Insider.
Eating earlier in the day can also help mitigate acid reflux, which often keeps people up at night and is exacerbated by sleeping on a full stomach.
Not unwinding before bed
“When stress rises and becomes cumulative during the day, it’s much harder to fall asleep at night because it’s harder to slow down and quiet our brains,” Huffington says.
One way to unwind, referred to as the “mind dump,” involves writing down all the things you need to do the next day before bed. This could help empty your mind and tell your brain it no longer needs to run through your to-do list for the rest of the night.
Scanning your smartphone in bed
The LED screens of our smartphones give off what is called blue light, which studies have shown can damage vision and suppress production of melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate the sleep cycle.
“For me, the key is to every night before I’m going to go to sleep, thirty minutes before, turn off all of my devices and gently escort them out of my bedroom,” Huffington says.
Working in bed
The light given off by your laptop can also prevent your brain from releasing melatonin, and working in bed likely means you’re not giving yourself enough time to unwind before sleep.
Drinking alcohol too close to bedtime
According to the National Institutes of Health, drinking alcohol just before bedtime decreases the amount of time you spend in REM sleep — a deep and restorative phase of sleep.
Drinking coffee in the afternoon or evening
It may be tempting to reach for another cup of coffee as your energy wanes at work, but it may make you more tired in the long run.
“The risks of caffeine use in terms of sleep disturbance are underestimated by both the general population and physicians,” the study authors write.
Sleeping in on weekends
Sleeping late on the weekends resets your body clock to a different cycle, and it’s reset again when you go back to waking up early during the workweek.
Start to avoid these sleep mistakes and look forward to a better sleep.