Hey, you! Yes, you, the person in bed with their phone right in front of their face, scrolling TikTok for hours. We’ve heard you complaining how you toss and turn all night and wake up feeling exhausted, or how you can’t get through the day without an extra shot of espresso or an energy drink. It’s time to get the bottom of your bad sleep habits and fix them for good, because more sleep tonight equals more energy tomorrow.
Bad sleep habit #1: Too much scrolling
The fix: Implement a “no screens” rule 30 minutes or more before bedtime
One of the biggest reasons you aren’t sleeping well could be the device permanently attached to your hand: your phone. Or maybe you’re working late and going to bed immediately after, giving your brain zero chance to change gears and reset. If you’re waking up multiple times throughout the night, it could be a sign it’s time to decrease your screen time; LED light from your devices can even inhibit melatonin production! Institute a “no screens” rule 30 minutes or so before bedtime — no TV, no iPad, no phone. Read a book, meditate, journal, or chat with your partner instead.
Bad sleep habit #2: Too much noise and light
The fix: Create the ideal sleep environment
Your bedroom should be dark, cool, and quiet — but that’s easier said than done, especially when you have kids or pets or live on a busy street. Consider blackout curtains or shades to keep extraneous light out or try a silk sleep mask. Sound machines aren’t just for babies; they’re a great way to muffle noise and help you drift off. Make your bedroom a place you want to spend time, with comfortable, soft, breathable bedding. Add an aromatherapy oil diffuser to help soothe your senses, turn on the humidifier, keep the pets in a separate room, or do whatever you need to to get a better night’s sleep. The temperature is important too; anything too cold or too hot will be bothersome, so find your ideal temp and stick to it. If you need to turn on a fan, that can be another great way to muffle excess sound.
Sleep is so important to your overall health, from your stress levels to your immune health, so make your bedroom a calm, quiet oasis from which to get your eight hours. Your bedroom should not be your office after 5 PM!
Bad sleep habit #3: You’re stressed out
The fix: Get those feelings OUT
One of the biggest poor sleep culprits is stress. We’ve all got a lot going on and a lot running through our brains every day, so it’s no surprise that your to-do list or a bad day at work would be weighing on your brain. Instead of stewing on it at bedtime, set aside time to write out your emotions or make a list of what you can take on tomorrow to deal with said stress. If you have an actionable plan or a way to get your feelings out, your brain may be less likely to hang on to them later.
Bad sleep habit #4: You had one nightcap too many, or you ate a rich dinner
The fix: Give your body time to digest
Alcohol can make you feel more tired, but that doesn’t make it a cure for sleeplessness. Quite the opposite! According to the Sleep Foundation, just one drink per day for women decreased sleep quality by 24%. If you are planning to have a drink or two on any given evening, do it earlier if possible to help your body adjust.
The same goes with dinner plans. It’s fun to spend a few hours in the kitchen whipping up a delicious meal or going out for dinner, but anything too rich or heavy can impact your digestion — and keep you awake. If you’re indulging in something heavier, try and eat earlier. No one likes trying to fall asleep when dealing with heartburn! Poor sleep can also impact your digestion as a whole, adding yet another reason you should be trying to get the best eight hours possible each night.
Bad sleep habit #5: You’re going right from your daily activities to bed
The fix: Create a routine you enjoy and want to stick to
If you’re working late, squeezing in a late night workout, or going directly from an event to bed, your body is getting major mixed signals. Instead of such a sharp 180-degree turn, let your body adapt more gradually. Create a nighttime routine you can stick to that helps ease your brain and body into nighttime mode, like drinking a calming non-caffeinated tea or taking a bath. Even something as simple as massaging your hands, feet, and calves with lotion pre-bedtime, then reading for 10 minutes can be a great way to slow down and get ready for a quality night of sleep.