Continually experiencing poor or disjointed sleep is frustrating. Ongoing poor quality sleep is also detrimental to your wellbeing, affecting both physical and mental health. Whether you are having trouble falling asleep or difficulty staying asleep, it is likely that your bedtime routine includes a couple of undesirable habits. Be honest - a few simple adjustments to your ways will see these easily remedied with huge benefits for your sleep health. Set yourself up for a great night's sleep by avoiding these six common mistakes.
No bedtime routine - establishing a bedtime routine (and sticking to it!) helps prepare the body mentally for bed. Include calming activities that help you to relax and unwind. Repetition and consistency are the keys to success.
Long naps - a quick 40 winks is a fabulous way to boost flagging energy levels. The secret to successful napping is to keep it short - a 20 minute siesta early in the afternoon will leave you feeling refreshed without impacting your night time slumber. Setting an alarm can help prevent you oversleeping.
Irregular sleep patterns - everyone loves a Sunday morning sleep in! Unfortunately, our circadian rhythm, responsible for our sleep/wake cycle, responds well to constancy. Regular bed times reinforce the body's natural cycle and improve overall sleep quality.
Using screens in bed - it is very tempting to jump into bed and spend time unwinding, catching up on social media or your favourite TV show. In reality, the opposite is true. The blue light emitted from the screen of our devices acts as a stimulant, making sleep increasingly elusive.
Hitting the nightcaps - a couple of drinks can help you relax at the end of a busy day, but too much alcohol before bed leads to restless sleep that leaves you waking unrefreshed. Try to minimise alcohol, caffeine and other stimulants later in the day to give yourself the best chance of sleeping like a baby.
Snoozing on the sofa - similar to napping during the day, snoozing off on the sofa all evening may see you awake and staring at the ceiling at 4am. When you feel yourself nodding off it is definitely time to head to your bed. Listen to your body; snuggle down in comfort, to sleep deeply and peacefully all night long. You will reap the rewards, waking revitalised, invigorated and ready to face the day.