You are aware of the importance of having good sleep hygiene for better sleep, and you do your best to implement as many good sleeping habits as possible. However, you still experience insomnia, and you are not sure what you’re doing wrong. Sometimes, the habits that seem entirely harmless may actually be the one that contributes to your insomnia.
Counting Sheep team of sleep experts has researched some sleep habits that seem entirely irrelevant for better night’s sleep but actually affect your insomnia. Here’s what their team has found out.
Keeping a Different Sleep Schedule on the Weekends
Sleep experts heavily recommend always going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. Human beings are creatures of habit, and our body naturally craves this consistency. Therefore, sleeping in on the weekends may mess up with internal body clock and disrupt our sleep the next night. If you don’t understand how such small change can have such a strong effect, think of it a social jet lag. By sleeping in on the weekends, you are basically forcing your body to toggle between two different time zones every week.
You Go to Sleep too Early
Many insomniacs go to sleep earlier thinking that will help them to fall asleep faster. However, despite your intuition, staying up later signalizes to your body that you need more sleep, which may help to drift off more quickly. Sleep doctors that use CBT (cognitive behavior therapy) for treating insomnia suggest that restricting your time in bed sends a message to your body that you are currently active and that you will need more sleep when you go to bed.
You Have no Set Bedtime
A set bedtime is not only useful to children, but also to adults. If you are having troubles to fall asleep, create a simple pre-bed routine that will help you relax and over time signalize your brain that it’s time to sleep. Your routine can consist of a warm shower, meditation, reading a book or whatever else makes you feel relaxed and comfortable.
You Consume Too Much Caffeine
You know that caffeine makes you awake and you try to limit it. However, do you know how much is really enough? The fact is that caffeine can have longer on shorter effects on people. Caffeine can stay in your system from 8 to 10 hours, so if you are sensitive to caffeinated beverages, it is best to have your last coffee at noon.
You Over Stimulate In The Middle Of the Night
If you are lying in bed feeling anxious and your mind is running a million miles a minute, it’s better to get out of the bed that to force yourself to fall asleep. It’s essential to stay away from anything that is over stimulating before bedtime. Avoid checking email and social media and similar activities. To relax, it’s best to read a novel or a magazine.
You Watch the Clock
If you can’t fall asleep, watching the clock can only make things worse and make you feel more anxious. Counting how many hours you have left before waking up will only elevate your stress hormones and make you feel more alert which will disrupt sleep.
You Think You Need 8 Hours
People have different sleeping needs. Some individuals may need only seven hours of sleep to feel great while others need nine. If you can wake up without an alarm clock in the morning and you don’t feel tired during the day, you are getting just the right amount of sleep that you need.