Insomnia is an exhausting and extremely frustrating problem to have. Whether you suffer from insomnia or have casual sleeping problems, it can be irritating and eventually harmful to your health.
Without sleep, the body begins to shut down and you can even start to experience appetite loss and hallucinations.
Developing these poor sleeping habits can lead to sleeping disorders as well as sleeping behaviors that will be difficult to reverse.
If you’re having difficulty sleeping, try and follow these 10 steps on things that you should never do when you’re trying to fix poor sleeping habits.
There are a couple of reasons that could be responsible for these sleep disturbances. It’s important to keep in mind that it can symbolize other health problems. Some of the causes could be medical or underlying sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, and narcolepsy.
1. Going to Sleep too Early
90 percent of the people that suffer from insomnia experience this problem because they hit the hay too early. This can result in staying up past regular bedtime hours. Try a period of ‘winding down’ time before bed to avoid this.
2. Altered Weekend Bedtime
The internal clock has to be ‘set’ and maintained just like a real watch. If you go to bed at different times on the weekend it can definitely mess with your sleeping habits.
3. Losing Track of Caffeine
Many of us may use caffeine as a crutch to help us get through a long weekday. But one thing that may be messing you up is losing track of your coffee intake. Mayo Clinic says that you should only drink about 400 mg or 3 cups of coffee a day.
4. Caffeine’s ‘Half-Life’
Another caffeine mistake that people make that can affect their sleep is forgetting about coffee’s ‘half-life.’ This is when half of the coffee you drink stays in your system for about 5 to 6 hours. This can sneak up on you if you drink coffee too soon before bed.
5. Counting the Hours
Although many people think that the recommended amount of sleep is 7-9 hours, it’s actually pretty individualized. Obsessing over a number of hours can actually have more of a negative effect than a positive one.
6. Using Electronics
Using electronics like an iPad or cell phone can actually have a negative effect on your sleep. They keep our brains stimulated when we’re supposed to be winding down and they emit a light that disrupts the natural action of melatonin.
7. Getting up in the Middle of the Night
This one is often debated. It can go both ways. For some people, a little light activity in the middle of the night works whereas others argue to lay there until you nod off again. Basically, do whatever works for you.
8. Stimulation During Late Hours
Even if you’re having trouble sleeping in the middle of the night, the thing not to do is late night entertainment. If you decide to go on Facebook or play a video game, you’re almost guaranteed to have a bad night’s sleep.
9. No Quiet Time
It’s important to have a designated amount of time dedicated to winding down or getting ready for bed. Try one hour. For the first 20 minutes you can take care of any last minute to-do’s of the day, then the next 20 can be for hygiene, and the final quarter of the hour can be spent doing something relaxing like reading or writing in a journal.
10. Watching the Clock
This is probably one of the worst things you can do in the middle of the night. Try facing your clock away from you. If you wake up in the middle of the night and see the time, you will begin to mentally calculate how much sleep you still ‘get’ but probably won’t end up actually receiving.