March 18, 2020
I used to believe that sleep wasn’t important as I had better things to do with my life than lay in a bed for eight hours.
I thought that I was wasting my time and that I could have conversations until the early hours of the morning, without any consequences.
I was wrong.
Most of us say that we want to feel rested after a peaceful night of sleep. However, we rarely stop to think about why we always feel tired when waking up the following morning.
Right? We think “If I can write one more paragraph… have one more conversation… or watch one more episode, then I’ll finally go to sleep. But sooner or later, you realize that you’re lying to yourself and that nothing is going to change until you change your habits.
Throughout my life, I’ve found myself in the same position as you many times. But I’ve discovered that eliminating any bad habits from your evening routine is a great way to sleep better at night. In the words of Darren Hardy:
“In essence, you make your choices, and then your choices make you.”
So below are a collection of habits that are sabotaging the quality of your sleep. Removing them from my evening routine helped me to stop feeling tired upon waking up & improve the quality of my sleep. I hope they do the same for you, too.
Texting in Bed
It’s no secret that most of us scroll through social media and frequently text in bed until the early hours of the morning. However, this evening habit can have a hugely detrimental effect on your health.
Research shows that the blue light from your screen can suppress melatonin (a hormone responsible for controlling your sleep/wake cycle). Quoting an article published by The Cleveland Clinic:
“Exposure to blue light can affect your internal body clock and throw off your circadian rhythm. It’s why you feel more tired at night when the sun starts to set and why you feel more energized in the morning when it’s light.”
Since I began limiting my exposure to screens each night, I’ve noticed that I fall asleep much faster, and I don’t feel tired in the mornings upon waking up.
So before you go to bed, consider turning off your phone, and any other type of screen that may delay the time it takes for you to fall asleep. Although it may seem like a small change to your evening routine, the effects it will have on your health are profound.
Having An Annoying Alarm Clock
Studies show that waking up to loud sounds can increase stress in the morning, and significantly decrease the quality of your sleep. Quoting an article published by ABC news:
“Waking up abruptly can cause higher blood pressure and heart rate. Besides increasing your blood pressure, an alarm can add to your stress levels by getting your adrenaline rushing.”
When you get woken up during REM sleep, you still have a lot of melatonin in your body, which causes you to feel incredibly sleepy. But in contrast, being awoken during lighter phases of sleep will help you to feel less tired.
After a period of experimentation, I’ve found that waking up to natural sounds (such as birds tweeting) is much better than being suddenly awoken in the middle of REM sleep. After all, natural sounds are less likely to raise your stress levels whenever you wake up.
So consider changing your alarm to a sound that’s a lot less stressful to hear upon waking up, and you’ll quickly notice that you feel less tired in the morning.
Snoozing in the Morning
If you’re anything like my former-self, you have a bad habit of snoozing for “just a few more minutes” when your alarm goes off. But unfortunately, it can cause you to feel even more tired when you finally get out of bed in the morning.
Quoting an article from The Huffington Post: “If you’re not waking up at the same time every day, your body doesn’t know when to start feeling sleepy, making you more likely to push your bedtime later and further deprive yourself of rest.”
Now that I get out of bed at the same time each day, my entire life has changed as I have much more energy in the mornings to focus on the things that matter.
So if you want to feel less tired after waking up, avoiding the snooze button in the morning is undoubtedly a great place to start.
Drinking Too Much Caffeine
For the longest time, I drank several cups of coffee in the evenings as it warmed me up during the cold winters. But when it came to falling asleep, I often found myself struggling to get any rest due to the large quantity of caffeine in my body.
If you want to fall asleep within moments of going to bed, avoiding caffeine after lunchtime is a great way to ensure that you sleep better at night. After all, it can take up to 7 hours for the caffeine to leave your system.
If you want to have hot beverages in the evening, consider opting for alternative options such as a hot chocolate. Because when you’re not kept awake by large amounts of caffeine in your body, it’ll be much easier to fall asleep.
So every day, ask yourself: “What bad habits can I eliminate from my evening routine to improve the quality of my sleep?”