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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 July 10, 2020

    How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

    How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

    We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

    We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

    So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

    Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

    What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

    Boundaries are limits

    —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

    Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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    Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

    Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

    Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

    How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

    Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

    1. Self-Awareness Comes First

    Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

    You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

    To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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    You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

    • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
    • When do you feel disrespected?
    • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
    • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
    • When do you want to be alone?
    • How much space do you need?

    You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

    2. Clear Communication Is Essential

    Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

    Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

    3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

    Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

    That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

    Sample language:

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    • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
    • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
    • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
    • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
    • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
    • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
    • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

    Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

    4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

    Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

    Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

    Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

    We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

    It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

    It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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    Final Thoughts

    Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

    Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

    Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

    The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

    Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

    Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

    They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

    Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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