5 Evening Habits That Are Sabotaging Your Sleep
If you want to sleep better at night, here’s what you need to do.
How often do you find yourself struggling to sleep?
Perhaps you’re tossing & turning under the covers, unable to get to sleep because your mind is continually overthinking.
Or maybe you’re waking up in the middle of the night, with a desperate urge to use the bathroom after drinking loads of water before bed.
For the longest time, I used to watch YouTube videos until the early hours of the morning.
Each day, I woke up extremely tired as a result of poor evening habits that were sabotaging my sleep. As you can imagine, focusing on my college work during the day wasn’t easy.
I knew that something had to change.
So I began studying the benefits of sleep and how to optimize my evening routine to wake up feeling refreshed. Although changing my lifestyle wasn’t easy, the difference it made in my sleep quality was profound.
Below are a collection of lessons I’ve learned from adjusting my habits for better sleep. Each one changed my life for the better, and I hope they do the same for you, too.
Don’t Drink Coffee In The Evening.
We all know that coffee is great for keeping us awake in the morning when going to work. However, it also has the same effect when drinking in the evening.
Research published by the Huffington Post shows that caffeine can significantly disrupt your quality of sleep. Quoting the article:
“Caffeine can prolong the amount of time it takes you to fall asleep, decrease the amount of deep sleep you have, and reduce the overall quality of your sleep.”
For the longest time, I had a habit of drinking coffee before going to bed, as it felt great to relax with a cappuccino during the evenings. However, this often resulted in feeling groggy & tired whenever I woke up the following morning.
Since removing coffee from my diet (after 4 pm), I’ve noticed that going to sleep is much easier, and I can wake up without hitting the snooze button on my alarm.
Although I’m not saying you should stop drinking coffee, it’s essential to know when it’s affecting your sleep so you can change your habits.
Stop Using Your Phone In Bed.
It’s relatively common to spend time scrolling through social media or watching TV shows on your phone during the evening. After all, nothing is more relaxing than lying in bed while watching your favorite series.
But according to an article published by the National Sleep Foundation: “Electronic devices before bed delays your body’s internal clock, suppresses the release of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, and makes it more difficult to fall asleep.”
Whenever I go to bed, I try to stop using my phone so my brain isn’t thinking about anything that could make me want to stay awake.
Don’t Exercise In The Evening.
If you have to leave for work early in the morning, exercising during the evenings may be your only viable option.
However, research from Harvard Medical School has shown that strenuous physical activity during the evening will often result in taking longer for you to fall asleep.
To prevent this from happening, I’ve begun waking up an hour earlier and using the extra time as an opportunity to exercise.
Try doing press-ups in the living room, going for a run, or anything that will allow you to feel energized in the morning & ready to face whatever the day throws at you.
Don’t Eat Sugar Before Going To Sleep.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll definitely be a fan of grabbing a midnight snack. No matter whether it’s donuts, cookies, or a few slices of toast, eating before going to sleep feels fantastic.
There’s just one problem: eating loads of sugary foods before bed can massively undermine the quality of your sleep and force you to wake up multiple times throughout the night.
Whenever you find yourself feeling hungry, consider choosing snacks such as fruits or nuts as they can help to induce the sleep-regulating hormone melatonin.
Because of my new healthy eating habits, I’ve discovered that I’m able to fall asleep much faster and no longer wake up frequently during the night.
Create A Sleep Schedule.
Maintaining a regular sleep schedule is a great way to regulate your internal clock (circadian rhythm), and create self-discipline by waking up at the same time each morning.
Every evening before going to bed, I’ll grab some fruit, listen to music, and read 50 pages of a book to distract my mind from stressful events in my life.
So if you want to create a sleep schedule, I’ve found that choosing the times you want to be in bed and planning your morning/evening routines around that is a great way to start.
Over the past few months, I’ve come to realize that my evening habits are the reason behind me waking up tired, hitting the snooze button, and having a lack of focus throughout the day.
But instead of wishing for my life to change, I realized that I first needed to optimize my daily routine to improve my quality of sleep. John C. Maxwell said it best:
“You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found within your daily routine.”
Remember: The key to a good night’s sleep lies within your evening habits. So begin by creating daily actions built around improving your quality of sleep, and everything else will fall into place.