The top sleep offenders: What’s getting in the way of your sleep?

Do you find yourself awake during the night? Watch out for these sleep offenders that may be stealing your shut-eye:

  • Cellphone – Either turn it off or keep it far away from where you sleep. This will prevent your urges to check texts and emails during the night.
  • Pets – It’s best to keep the pets off the bed and out of the bedroom. Don’t be fooled by the cute face of a furry friend – with their nighttime whining or roaming around, these pals get in the way of a good sleep.
  • Computer and TV – Avoid these light-emitting electronic devices for at least a half hour before bedtime. The bright light emitted from these devices inhibits the release of melatonin – a hormone that helps us to fall asleep.
  • Temperature –  The  ideal room temperature for sleeping is 18-20 degrees Celsius – slightly cooler than room temperature. That being said, many people forget to turn down the thermostat before bedtime. If you have an automated heating/cooling system, try to find your ideal sleeping temperature. Be careful though, because being too cold will disrupt your sleep as well.
  • Exercise – While its true that daily physical activity is a great aid for sleep, it’s best to finish up your workout at least a few hours before bed. This will allow your heart rate to drop back to normal and give you time to relax.
  • Fright before Night – There is no shortage of late night murder mystery TV shows, but that doesn’t make it a good idea to watch this type of content too close to bedtime. Anything psychologically disturbing is likely to interfere with your ability to fall asleep.
  • Skip the late night drinks  – Alcohol in general is harmful for sleep. While it may help you to fall asleep in the first place, it lightens sleep and may cause you to wake up feeling tired. Try to keep after-dinner drinks to a minimum.
  • Nighttime problem-solving – Of course it’s difficult to sleep when you have a pressing matter on your mind. Try making a list or working in out before you go to bed, so that you have some peace of mind. If it happens during the night, try to redirect your thoughts to something more relaxing.
  • Caffeine – It may seem obvious, but caffeine is still a major sleep offender. Traces of your morning coffee can still be found in your system 10 hours later. Be mindful of tea, pop and other caffeinated beverages.

Watching out for these potential culprits will help to ensure that you sleep as well as possible, and that you wake up feeling refreshed and energized.

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