The 4 Habits That May Be Affecting Your Sleep Hygiene
By: Rheihan Janyll
Photo by Valentin Lacoste on Unsplash
The American Sleep Association (ASA) reports that over 70 million adults have sleep disorders, with more than 35% of respondents also stating that they get less than seven hours of sleep a day. This is an unhealthy practice as, over time, sleep deprivation can cause serious concerns like depression, heart disease, and diabetes, to name a few.
If you’re one of the millions struggling with poor sleep hygiene, here are some common habits that you may not realize are affecting your sleep—and some easy tips on how to address them:
1. Lack of physical activity
Interestingly, exercise not only energizes you but also makes it easier to get a restful night’s sleep. This is because exercising can significantly reduce sleep onset, which is the amount of time it takes you to fall into a deep sleep. At the same time, engaging in physical activity can give you a jolt of energy during the day to prevent any mid-day napping that may keep you up at night. According to a survey by the National Sleep Foundation, 83% of those who exercise at least three times a week reported “very good” sleep quality. While the same survey showed that moderate to vigorous exercise proved the most effective at correcting sleep, those with more sedentary lifestyles (like office workers) can still benefit from some light exercises. For instance, a few minutes of calisthenics for desk workers can already get the heart rate going and joints moving, which are key factors in inducing rest later on.
2. Bad posture
As it turns out, bad posture affects more than just our body’s mobility. Doctors at the Collins Chiropractic have found compelling evidence that shows poor posture can lead to sleep-related problems like insomnia and apnea. This is because poor posture creates undue pressure on the musculoskeletal system, thereby exacerbating any aches and pains that will flare up when the body is in a prone sleeping position. This is especially the case for those who spend hours at their desk in the same position since there is very little variation in movement. To combat this, many desk workers have turned to ergonomic accessories, like standing desk converters, to help ease the body’s misalignment. Because these accessories support the natural stance and cadence of the human body, users are able to distribute their weight more evenly to relieve tension.
3. Caffeinated nightcaps
It’s very common for people to enjoy a warm nightcap before heading off to bed. In theory, this is meant to relax and soothe the senses. However, many of our go-to nightcaps, like tea, have caffeine. Although caffeine in small doses at night isn’t expected to affect sleep, over time it can act as a psychoactive stimulant that increases attentiveness and wakefulness. Thus, if a drink is a must in your nighttime routine, opt for a decaffeinated option instead like milk or magnesium tea. Alternatively, you can even opt for a sleep-inducing nightcap like Sleep Remedy*, which has natural ingredients like melatonin, magnesium, phosphatidyl serene, and GABA with L-theanine to improve sleep hygiene.
4. Using electronics in the bedroom
For more than 75% of adults in a survey by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the first and last thing they check when in bed is a gadget. While there are cases that gadgets can help you fall asleep—like if you use them to listen to white noise or ASMR—more often than not, they just inhibit restfulness. As per the Sleep Foundation, using electronic items in the bedroom reduces sleep duration and unnecessarily stimulates the brain. Aside from this, the blue light that most gadgets emit has been known to disrupt the body’s production of melatonin, therefore throwing off your circadian rhythm. To avoid bringing gadgets to bed, dedicate a corner of your room (out of arm’s reach) for you to store all your devices before bed. This way, you don’t have to turn off your gadgets entirely but you won’t be tempted to just reach over and use them before bed. Correcting one’s sleep hygiene can feel frustrating at first. But with some dedication and the help of useful accessories and alternatives, you can start sleeping better and easier, so you wake up rested and ready for the day.
Post published note: We recently learned interesting information on how humidity also affects sleep capacity. For more information, read this informative article.
*Club Calisthenics founder Crystal Hatch is an avid believer and regular user of Sleep Remedy. Use code: CRYSTAL10 for 10% off your order.