Eight Common Sleep Mistakes Made Every Night

Eight Common Sleep Mistakes Made Every Night

USA- Chances are you have done this every night. But when it comes to bed time, practice does not mean perfect.

Approximately 50 to 70 million adults in the U.S. experience some form of sleep or wakefulness disorder, according to estimates from the Institutes of Medicine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that more than a third of Americans reported getting fewer than seven to nine hours of sleep, which is recommended for adults to maintain good health by the suvey data from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.  A 2014 survey from the National Sleep Foundation showed a staggering 45 percent of Americans who said that poor sleep had affected their daily lives at least once a week. 

These numbers make sleep experts shudder. 

Ana Krieger, MD, MPH, Medical Director of the Center for Sleep Medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medicine, tells NBC News says that sleep controls all brain and physical function, this includes hormone regulation, immune function and alertnes, mood, appetite, and others. Krieger adds that sleep continues to be overlooked for many years, often taken away by work, travel and other activities.  If sleep is not your top priority, you may feel selfish when you try to take steps to taking care of your body and getting a good sleep.  But giving yourself the time to get a good nights sleep will help you break this pattern.

A lot of people tend to make the same mistakes when it comes to getting the right amount of sleep, below are some things you can do to get a good nights sleep:

1. Take some time to relax before bed.

Krieger says the most common mistakes made are thinking that you will automatically fall asleep as soon as you are in bed, unfortunately, this is not how it works, is not as simple as logging off of your computer.  Sleep is  defined by a few key options, brain wave activity, body temperature, breathing and heart rate patterns slowly decreasing. This does not happen right away or at the end of your favorite show.  This takes a bit of time.  Krieger suggests that you should create a quiet and dark environment that will trigger your body to know is time for bed, whether is reading a book, listening to some relaxing music, or doing some light yoga stretches, for at least two minutes before you decided to go to bed.   

2. Place your mobile phones on DND (do not disturb) before bed. 

Krieger says that while having technology at your fingertips is great, it is not the best to have around you just before bed time. This means laptops, television, tablets and any other electronic devices that would prevent you from relaxing before bed. Research has shown that the bright blue and white lights that radiate from electronic devices can throw your circadian rhythm off.  This type of light can signal our body to stay awake by suppressing the release of melatonin, which keeps our body running on time. Whether you want to watch one more episode of your favorite show, replying to a work email or scrolling through social media, this stimulates the brain and engages you, which is not the environment you want to create to allow you to relax before bed time. Essentially, powering all your electronic devices at least thirty to one hour before bed time is ideal. 

3. Lower your caffeine intake during the day. Surveys suggest that approximately 85 percent of Americans have one cup of coffee a day, or more every day. Krieger says that having Caffeine late in the afternoon can throw off our sleeping cycle. 

Caffeine is considered a drug, it temporarily makes you feel more alert by blocking the sleep chemicals from your brain, therefore producing more adrenaline.  While some people really need it to kick start their morning, it usually takes about six hours to leave your system completely.  This means that cup of coffee you had post lunch could very well keep you awake past your dinner. With that being said, we are all different. Krieger says not everyone is affected by caffeine in the same way. If you normally geting a good night sleep without the help of any sleeping aids, then you may not necesarily have to worry about your sleeping habits.  If you are interested in improving your quality of sleep, limiting caffeine intake to once a day in the mornings is recommended, Krieger adds this is recommended by the American Academy of Sleep and Medicine. 

4. Indulging in one too many nightcaps before bed tme.

Alcohol will make you feel drowsy, as it is known to be a sedative. Too many alcoholic beverages will cause you to pass right out and preventing your brain from geting a proper sleep, as well as going through the proper stages of sleep; inlcuding REM sleep. Getting the right amount of rest plays a big part in your body rejuvanating overnight. Alcohol induced sleep wears off through out the night which means you will spend a lot of time toossing and turning and having a restless night.  Go ahead and enjoy that cocktail during happy hour rather than too close to bedtime and stick to one or two drinks to avoid it messing with your slumber, The National Sleep Foundation recommends that you avoid alcoholic beverages too close to bedtime.  Its ok to indulge during Happy Hour, but its good to stick to no more than two drinks to avoid messing your sleeping patterns. 

5. Sleeping in an environment that is too hot. 

Physiologically speaking, the body cools down while you are sleeping. Making sure you keep your room at a neutral temperature will ensure you fall asleep faster, Krieger explains.Try to keep your thermostats set between 16 and 20 degrees Celsius, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Krieger says that if this is too cold for you make sure you keep a blaket nearby that you can easily access when needed. 

6. It may be difficult to catch up on your sleep during the weekends.

You would not skip meals during the week, this is similar to trying to make up sleep on your days off.  Most people wont be able to receive the proper nutrients if they decided to eat 5 meals during the weekend to make up for what they did not eat during the week.  Krieger explains that if you do not get enough shuteye during the week, or any other day you get a chance to sleep in, chances are you will not be able to make the time up during your days off. The body makes it so that we get just the right amount of sleep needed.

After getting a good nights rest will likely make you feel better, this does not mean you can store this sleep for the coming week. Not getting enough sleep has been liked to health problems such as diebetes, heart disease, memory loss and weight gain. 

7. Assuming you dont need that much sleep.

Most of us dont have a good perception of the amout of sleep we need.  Thinking you will just get through you day, your body is not going to stop doing what it does, however you are not going to have the same effect as if you were well rested.  Similar to skipping meals and snacks. Krieger adds the body is resilient, but you wont necesarily feel the best. Krieger adds that chances are you wont even realize your body is not working at its best if you are not well rested.  According to the National Sleep Foundation, people who sleep seven to nine hours have shown to have greater health benefits.  If you are wondering whether you get enough sleep and are well rested, Kriegers says you should be able to wake up at the same time everyday without your alarm waking you up.

8. Try not to worry about how much sleep you are NOT getting. 

While this may be against all the sleep guidelines and recommendations, as well as everything you have ready above, Krieger adds that sleep is not automatic or voluntary. You cannot just tell your brain to turn off. By trying to follow the properly sleeping rules, you are adding unnecessary stress and worry to your body.  This will make it harder for you to relax and eventually fall asleep.  Krieger adds, at the end of the day, if you are sleeping well, then there is nothing to worry about. If you think you might have slipped into some bad habits lately then perhaps there may be some room for improvement. Always remember to do what is best for your body, and ultimately what works for you. 

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