5 Things That Are Killing Your Sleep Schedule

Sleep better. Feel better!

If zzzz’s are eluding you, it’s time to take control of your shut-eye. Here are 5 things that are killing your sleep schedule—and tips for how to get back on track.

Chronic poor sleep can contribute to a host of health-harming conditions, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and depression. It can also lead to cravings for unhealthy foods because sleeplessness interferes with hormones that regulate the appetite.

Unfortunately our modern lifestyles don’t do much to help us sleep well. From glowing screens to crazy schedules, it’s easy to get off track.

1. You drink caffeine after lunch.

Caffeine has a half-life of six hours. That means when you consume caffeine after noon, you’ll still have as much as 50% of it running through your system by bedtime. If you manage to get to sleep, the caffeine still reduces REM (deep) sleep so you don’t feel as rested [1]. Instead of reaching for caffeine, learn 6 Coffee-less Ways to Get Through Your Day. To kick the habit entirely, learn How to Avoid Caffeine Withdrawal.

2. You indulge in screen time before bedtime.

Those glowing screens are great when you want to catch up on Scandal or House of Cards; but they’re also one of the top things that are killing your sleep schedule. Screens give off blue light, a wavelength also found in high concentrations in natural sunlight. This wavelength inhibits melatonin production so you’re less able to fall asleep. While television is usually okay because you sit back from the screen, avoid laptops, tablets, and phones after dinnertime to give your body a chance to kick into night mode naturally.

3. You drink a nightcap.

It’s common to believe that a glass of wine or a cocktail can help ease us into shut-eye, but, in fact, alcohol has the opposite effect. The drink may initially make you drowsy but as the alcohol starts to metabolize it decreases that deep REM sleep that’s crucial for getting proper rest. Plus, since alcohol causes muscles to relax, it can worsen sleep-related conditions like snoring and sleep apnea [2]. Instead, quench your pre-bed thirst with Chamomile Tea or Lavender Lemonade.

4. You eat foods that aren’t sleep friendly.

Food may play a larger role in sleep habits than you think. For example, as tasty as spicy foods are, if they give you indigestion that can be one of the things killing your sleep schedule. Likewise, one study suggests that foods with unhealthy fats may disrupt sleep-wake neurotransmitters, disrupting sleep patterns and leading to daytime sleepiness [3]. Avoid these 7 Foods to Never Eat Before Bed. Dig into 6 Evening Foods for a Better Night’s Sleep instead.

5. Your sleep schedule isn’t consistent.

It seems like a good idea to sleep in on your days off, but that inconsistency disrupts sleep patterns. Set a regular sleep-wake schedule—and stick to it. The consistency will kick your body into a rhythm that will keep you better rested, even when your to-do list is nuts. Make Evening Yoga for Relaxation part of your sleep routine.


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[1] Huffington Post

[2] National Sleep Foundation

[3] Mercola


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Amy Wagner

Amy is a writer specializing in health & wellness, business, and entrepreneurship. She's a long-time martial arts teacher who has earned a 4th degree black belt in tae kwon do. When Amy's not writing or kicking, she's wrangling sons, reading fiction, or crushing on BBC actors.

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