When it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, a few musts come to mind: a quiet room, a comfortable bed and plenty of time. But research actually shows that what we do during the day can have as much of an effect on sleep as anything we do at night. See if these daytime mistakes are tripping you up:
1. You hit the snooze button.
Getting a good night’s sleep can hinge in part on the very first thing you do in the morning. When you hit that snooze button, you’re starting a new sleep cycle you won’t be able to finish in 10 minutes when the alarm goes off again, throwing off your sleep rhythm for the day.
2. You stayed out of the sun.
One of the best things you can do for sleep: get into the sunlight (or even inside light) first thing in the morning. Exposure to light in the morning helps reset your circadian rhythm for the next 24 hours, telling you to feel awake in the morning and also to feel sleepy when it’s time to hit the pillow later on.
3. You spent too much time on your smartphone.
Many studies have suggested that too much screen time before sleep and throughout the day could be dangerous for your Zs. The blue light that such devices give off messes with your body’s natural nightly production of melatonin, the hormone that makes you feel sleepy.
4. You drank a soda or two.
A new study showed that adults who sleep five or fewer hours a night drank 21 percent more sugary, caffeinated beverages than people who got seven to eight hours a night. The survey data does not clearly indicate whether drinking more sugary, caffeinated beverages caused people to sleep less, or if sleeping less caused individuals to drink more sugary, caffeinated beverages. But both behaviors are linked with negative health outcomes.
5. You’re smoking.
The nicotine in cigarettes is a stimulant, which could keep you awake at night. Smoking actually changes your body’s internal clock, increases your chances of developing obstructive sleep apnea, and causes the average person to lose 1.2 minutes of sleep for every cigarette they smoke.
6. You spend too much time on the couch.
Exercise is the gift to your health that keeps on giving and giving and giving. A regular workout routine also helps you sleep like a baby, experts say, but that isn’t just reserved for gym rats ― even just sitting less can do the trick. The study found that sitting for fewer than six hours per day corresponded to reporting good sleep, compared to sitting for 10 or more hours.
7. You’re using your bed as a breakfast table or office.
No matter how small your apartment may seem, your bed is not your desk. You are training your body to know that when it gets into bed, it’s time to sleep.