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8 Everyday Habits That May Be Disrupting Your Sleep

8 Everyday Habits That May Be Disrupting Your Sleep

We all love sleep. There’s nothing worse than having our beloved sleep disrupted, which can turn us into intolerable people when we wake up in the morning. How much sleep we actually need is different for all of us, but the average Joe needs around 7–9 hours per night.

It is imperative for us to get enough sleep to allow us to perform optimally. Many of us attempt to trick our mind and body into thinking we don’t need sleep by consuming copious amounts of caffeine, but this can damage our ability to properly judge a situation and it can wreak havoc on our long-term concentration.

Although we may blame others for our disrupted sleep, the culprit is most likely ourselves. When it comes to everyday habits, like going to bed later than expected every night, we tend to do them unconsciously, which makes it difficult to actually solve the problem. Even the way we sleep can have a distinct impact on how tired we feel the next day. Can you identify with any of these sleeping habits?    

Take a look at these 8 everyday habits that could be disrupting your sleep patterns, making you feel groggy in the morning.

1. Drinking alcohol before bed.

Contrary to popular belief, alcohol does not let us sleep better. Alcohol may help us fall asleep faster, which sounds like a good thing, but it also robs us of our REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, which is the stage where dreams occur. The consequence of this is that our sleep feels less restful and we end up groggy and dehydrated in the morning.

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Not only can alcohol disrupt our sleep, but it can also stop us from sleeping entirely. Persistent consumption of alcohol before bed as a means to “help us sleep” can have a hugely negative effect and cause insomnia. If you wish to drink in the evenings, try stopping around 2 hours before bedtime.

2. Working out late at night.

This also may come to you as a surprise, but exercise before bed is a big no-no. Our body temperature decreases at night, which is a signal that it’s time to sleep. Exercise however, can raise our body temperature as much as two degrees and also stimulates our heart, brain and muscles. This couldn’t be more opposite from what we want.

Bear in mind that regular exercise can actually help us have a more restful night, so it is recommended that we exercise at least 3 hours before bedtime, but not later than that.

3. Having slumber parties with your pets.

Dog.in.sleep

    We all love our pets, so much so that many of us allow our pets to sleep in the bed with us at night. With the added comfort and warmth, what’s not to like? How about their unusual sleep cycles? Animals don’t have the same sleep cycles as us, so they may be up and ready to play at 4 a.m. where we could happily do with another 3 hours.

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    According to a survey by the Mayo Clinic Sleep Disorders Center, 53% of people acknowledge that their animals do in fact disrupt their sleep. Do yourself a favor (and probably them too), and don’t allow your pets to sleep in your bed with you.

    4. Being obsessed with your mobile device.

    Electronic devices are becoming more of an integral part of our modern lives than ever before, and with the heaps of advantages attached to them, we tend to not dwell on the side effects of our excessive use. Recent technology developments have seen us using bigger and brighter screens on our devices, which are helping fuel the fire when it comes to sleep disruption. A survey conducted by MySofaBeds reveals that 65% of us relax before bed by watching TV, a notable cause in sleep disruption.

    The bright lights from our devices suppress melatonin levels, a chemical that controls our body clock. To combat this, try to dim your devices as much as possible in order to minimize melatonin suppression and limit the time spent on these devices prior to bedtime.

    5. Over-exerting yourself.

    You may think that the more tired you feel, the easier it will be to drift off to sleep. But it is possible to be too exhausted to fall asleep quickly. After a long hard day at work, stumbling to bed in the wee hours of the morning may seem like the best thing to do, but typically it’s not.

    After an emotionally and physically hard working day, it is recommended to take time to unwind before bed. Jumping straight into bed may lead to still being awake 45 minutes later. Don’t rush off to bed; stay up and read a book or enjoy the company of others. You will soon feel yourself drifting off naturally and becoming ready for bed.

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    6. Going to bed hungry.

    The age-old debate: to eat or not to eat before bed? Whereas some people shy away from eating before bed when hungry in the fear of gaining weight, others will indulge themselves to keep off those hunger pains that can disrupt sleep.

    In truth, it is best to have a small snack before bed if you feel hunger creeping up on you. Have enough to subside your hunger until the morning. Having an all-out fridge raid is not needed just before bed and is linked to an increased risk of obesity.

    7. Going to bed stressed.

    Going to bed stressed becomes a vicious cycle. You stress because of your day-to-day work. You then go to sleep, which is disrupted by stress, and then you stress because you are tired. This type of schedule can soon become part of your daily routine and can be hard to crack.

    Giving yourself a little bit of “me” time before bed can play a huge part in going to sleep in a more relaxed manner. Take time to listen to music; have a soak in the bath or enjoy light exercise like yoga or walking. You’ll never look back!

    8. Allowing light into your bedroom.

    I’m not talking about people who sleep with the light on (you shouldn’t do that anyway), but I am talking about ambient light from street lights, TVs on standby, alarm clocks, etc. The light from these objects is still strong enough to enter your retinas even when your eyes are closed. This can upset your internal clock, thus making you feel awake.

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    A simple solution is to do a quick check before you go to bed. Turn alarm clocks to face the wall, turn TVs off at the wall socket, and completely shut your curtains. Doing this will save you from finding yourself suddenly awake at 3 a.m.

    Related article: 10 Things Most Successful People Do At Night Before Sleep

    Featured photo credit: Basau – dreaming of eating / by BAAB via flickr.com

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    Last Updated on March 13, 2019

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

    You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

    Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

    1. Work on the small tasks.

    When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

    Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

    2. Take a break from your work desk.

    Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

    Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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    3. Upgrade yourself

    Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

    The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

    4. Talk to a friend.

    Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

    Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

    5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

    If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

    Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

    Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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    6. Paint a vision to work towards.

    If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

    Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

    Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

    7. Read a book (or blog).

    The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

    Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

    Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

    8. Have a quick nap.

    If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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    9. Remember why you are doing this.

    Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

    What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

    10. Find some competition.

    Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

    Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

    11. Go exercise.

    Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

    Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

    As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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    Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

    12. Take a good break.

    Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

    Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

    Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

    Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

    More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

    Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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