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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 November 19, 2019

    20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

    20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

    Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?

    If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:

    1. Create a Daily Plan

    Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.

    2. Peg a Time Limit to Each Task

    Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.

    3. Use a Calendar

    Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.

    I use it. It’s even better if you can sync your calendar to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are. Here’re the 10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track .

    Find out more tips about how to use calendar for better time management here: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

    4. Use an Organizer

    An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.

    These Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools can help you organize better, pick one that fits your needs.

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    5. Know Your Deadlines

    When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.

    But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.

    6. Learn to Say “No”

    Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.

    Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

    7. Target to Be Early

    When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.

    For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.

    Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.

    8. Time Box Your Activities

    This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.

    You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: #5 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity.

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    9. Have a Clock Visibly Placed Before You

    Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

    10. Set Reminders 15 Minutes Before

    Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.

    You can learn more about how reminders help you remember everything in this article: The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

    11. Focus

    Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.

    Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.

    Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

    12. Block out Distractions

    What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?

    I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.

    When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.

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    Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

    13. Track Your Time Spent

    When you start to track your time, you’re more aware of how you spend your time. For example, you can set a simple countdown timer to make sure that you finish a task within a period of time, say 30 minutes or 1 hour. The time pressure can push you to stay focused and work more efficiently.

    You can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that works for you.

    14. Don’t Fuss About Unimportant Details

    You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.

    Trying to be perfect does you more harm than good, learn here about how perfectionism kills your productivity and how to ditch the perfectionism mindset.

    15. Prioritize

    Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.

    Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

    16. Delegate

    If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.

    When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

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    17. Batch Similar Tasks Together

    For related work, batch them together.

    For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:

    1. writing (articles, my upcoming book)
    2. coaching
    3. workshop development
    4. business development
    5. administrative

    I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.

    18. Eliminate Your Time Wasters

    What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.

    One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.

    While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.

    19. Cut off When You Need To

    The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.

    Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.

    20. Leave Buffer Time In-Between

    Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.

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    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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