If you’ve ever woken up in the morning and felt like you’ve hardly slept at all, you are not alone. According to the CDC, sleep deprivation is a widespread issue for American sleepers, with one in three sleepers not getting the recommended seven or more hours each night.
Without a good night’s rest where you reach the proper levels of deep sleep, you may run into a score of issues throughout the next day — such as agitation, brain fog, and fatigue, to name only a few.
No matter where you land on the spectrum of sleep habits, there are certain things you should never do before bed that make sleeping especially difficult. These habits often keep your mind racing, prevent good sleep, and can ruin your otherwise relaxing evening.
If you want to have a calming and restorative night’s rest, here are 5 things you should avoid doing before bed.
1. Stare Closely at a Screen
From digital eye strain to affecting circadian rhythms, blue light exposure can seriously impact your ability to sleep. If you’re staring deeply at any of your electronics in bed, the effects of their blue light can do major damage to your good night’s rest. Some experts even recommend turning off your phone, tablet, and computer at least two hours before bedtime. As a rule of thumb: the less screen time before bed, the better.
2. Crank the Heat
Everyone likes getting cozy before bed and snuggling atop your organic mattress with blankets and pillows. You may be tempted to turn up the heat for additional coziness, especially since temperatures always drop overnight. However, hotter temperatures make falling asleep more difficult. Our bodies are programmed to sleep best in ambient temperatures—between 65 and 72 degrees, to be exact. Instead of cranking the heat, keep in mind that colder environments are better for sleeping.
3. Sip On Caffeinated Tea
If you have a habit of sipping on a cup of herbal tea before bed—great! But make sure it’s decaffeinated. Drinking a caffeinated drink before bed, like soda, tea, or even hot cocoa, can greatly impact your ability to sleep at night. Caffeine increases your energy levels and adrenaline, which will prevent you from easily dozing off. As long as your favorite bedtime tea is decaffeinated, you’ll be much better off. (And there are many great varieties of sleepytime tea out there!)
4. Take a Hot Bath
Soaking in the tub before bedtime might seem like a good way to relax, but purposefully raising your body temperature before sleep is a major no-no. This means that any activity that raises your body temperature—like exercising—can be counterintuitive to falling asleep. According to Sleep.org, hot water from a bath will spike your internal temperature, which generally cools down in the evening on its own. Since it’s easier to sleep when it’s cold (as we mentioned above), you certainly don’t want to steep in hot water right before bed.
5. Go to Bed Hungry
While it’s not advised to eat a large meal before bed, it’s also unwise to go to bed with a grumbling stomach. In many cases, feeling hungry at night can cause a drop in your blood sugar that could actually wake you up at night. When blood sugar dips, your body produces insulin so that fat stores are utilized, but this process can be stimulating and even keep you awake. Eating a handful of organic nuts or having a teaspoon of raw honey can ensure your blood sugar levels remain level throughout the night, so you won’t be jolted from sleep by the need for a late-night snack.
At Naturepedic, we care deeply about getting a good night’s rest. This is why all of our mattresses and sleep products are made with GOTS-certified organic materials. To learn more about our certifications and how they contribute to healthy, restorative sleep, you can read about it on our blog.