7 day-time habits that sabotage your sleep

Published: February 2, 2017
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Photo:FIle

Photo:FIle

Everyone knows that a quiet room, comfortable bedding and minimal light are essential for a good night’s sleep but what about other things? What about our day to day activities? Do they not impact the quality of our sleep as well?

According to researchers, they do, indeed. There is ample evidence that proves that the different things one does during the course of their day have a direct effect on how they sleep at night. As compiled from The Huffington Post, here are seven everyday habits which might be making it hard for you to drift off at night.

Hitting the snooze button

According to Robert S Rosenberg, medical director of the Sleep Disorders Centers in Arizona, when you hit snooze, you’re actually kicking off a whole new sleep cycle that you won’t be able to finish in 10 minutes, when the alarm goes off again. “You’re fragmenting what little extra sleep you’re getting so it is of poor quality,” he said.  An incomplete sleep cycle eventually makes one feel groggier during the day, throws off their internal body clock and disrupts sleep the next night too.

Not catching enough sun

Ironic as it may sound, one of the best things one can do to sleep better is go outdoors and catch more sunlight. Several studies suggest that exposure to light early in the morning helps reset one’s circadian rhythm for the next 24 hours. Sunlight can also revive you in the early hours and also make you feel sleepy at night.

Smartphone screen time tied to lower sleep quality

Excessive smartphone usage

This is hardly breaking news but the blue light that Smartphones give off impedes the production of melatonin, the hormone that makes one feel sleepy.

But according to a new study, this isn’t restricted to just the night. Spending too much time on your smartphone throughout the day might also be detrimental to sleep. The study included 653 people, their cell-phone usage and self-reported measures of sleep. Both duration and quality of sleep decreased as smartphone use increased.

You drank a soda or two

A new study of 18,779 adults showed that people who sleep five or fewer hours at night drank 21% more sugary, caffeinated beverages than those who sleep more. However, it is yet to be determined whether drinking the beverages caused people to sleep less or vice versa. Nonetheless, both instances lead to negative health outcomes.

“Sleeping too little and drinking too many sugary drinks have both been linked to negative metabolic health outcomes, including obesity,” said study author Aric A Prather, assistant professor of psychiatry at University of California San Francisco.

Sleep well, live well: 5 science-backed ways to fall back asleep

Smoking all the time

Much like caffeine, nicotine – found in cigarettes – is a stimulant. Therefore, smokers are nearly four times more likely to report poor sleep, as compared to non-smokers. Smoking alters the body’s internal clock too, thereby boosting the risk of sleep apnea. In fact, every cigarette smoked leads to a loss of 1.2 minutes of sleep, overall.

You’ve become a couch potato

Add sound sleep to the long list of health benefits a regular workout routine brings. A survey from the National Sleep Foundation found that people who exercise sleep better than those who do not.

Interestingly, the survey also found that even just sitting less can do the trick. Sitting for fewer than six hours per day corresponded to reporting good sleep, compared to sitting for 10 or more hours.

You’re using your bed as a breakfast table/office

Remember: a bed is not a desk. Neither is a couch. “You want to associate the bed with sleep,” Jess Shatkin, professor of child and adolescent psychiatry and pediatrics at the New York University School of Medicine, said. “Just like Pavlov’s dogs started drooling when they heard the bell, you want your head to drool for sleep when you see your bed.”

Sleep experts, therefore, advise that we save our beds for sleep only, thereby creating a strong association between the two.

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