Are you having trouble sleeping?
Maybe you're having a hard time drifting off once your head hits the pillow. Or perhaps you're finding yourself awake multiple times throughout the night, unable to get back to sleep.
There are a lot of reasons you could have trouble sleeping, like stress, hormones, the wrong mattress, or even a new medication.
But it could also be something else.
Because some seemingly "normal" daytime habits could be keeping you up at night.
Here are a few things you might be doing that can sabotage your sleep:
If you're like most people, dessert might be your favorite meal of the day.
A slice of cheesecake here, a little ice cream there, maybe just a few pieces of dark chocolate...who doesn't love a tasty treat?
Unfortunately, most desserts — especially cheesecake — are packed with refined sugar. And sugar can keep you awake at night.
But what about that dark chocolate?
Sure, most dark chocolate contains less sugar than its milk chocolate counterpart. But it also contains high levels of caffeine.
About 25 mg of caffeine in a 1-oz. serving of 70% dark chocolate, to be precise — the equivalent of a 4-oz. cup of coffee.
And the higher the cocoa percentage, the higher the caffeine.
Both sugar and caffeine act as stimulants and, when consumed too soon before bed, can have a disastrous effect on the quality of your sleep.
There are plenty of good reasons to take a nap during the day, such as:
- Increased alertness
- Improved mood
- Better performance
- Reduced fatigue
If you're already getting a full eight hours of sleep at night, daytime napping may have some unexpected consequences that can result from getting too much sleep, such as:
- Sleep inertia (that foggy, disoriented feeling you get after waking up)
- Trouble falling asleep at night
- Poor memory
- Mystery aches and pains
Napping can seem like just the thing after you get home from a long day at work. But unless you can keep them to around 10 - 20 minutes, naps may best be saved for those who don't get enough sleep at night.
Having a Glass of Wine
We all know that a glass of wine can make you feel drowsy.
But did you know that the very wine that may help you fall asleep could be the reason you're waking up in the middle of the night?
Studies show that drinking alcoholic beverages can interrupt your circadian rhythm and block REM sleep — the deep, restorative sleep that allows our brains to store memories and our bodies to be rejuvenated.
If you don't want to give up your evening wine routine (hey, beneficial polyphenols and antioxidants, right?), you may want to consider adjusting the timing of your alcohol consumption to prevent sleep disruptions.
So, how long before bed should you have that glass of wine?
On average, it can take your body up to one hour to metabolize 10ml of 100% alcohol, which works out to about 2.5 hours for a glass of wine to "wear off."
Drinking Too Much Water
You know that you're supposed to drink roughly 64 oz. of water every day.
But are you drinking it at the right time?
Common sense would dictate that you should spread it evenly throughout the day, but that may not be the best choice.
Especially if you're waking up in the middle of the night with a full bladder.
There's nothing wrong with having to use the bathroom; two-thirds of adults wake up at least once a night to relieve their bladders.
It's interrupted sleep that's the real trouble.
Just a little bit of sleep deprivation has been linked to:
- Unwanted weight gain
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Lowered self-control/willpower
What can you do to avoid nocturnal bathroom breaks?
Drink your water strategically.
- 16 oz. of water after waking up helps activate your organs and rehydrate you after sleep.
- 8 oz. before a meal may help you feel fuller longer.
- 8 oz. when you get cravings. (It's easy to confuse dehydration for hunger)
- 8 -16 oz. before and after a workout to replace water lost through sweat.
- 8 oz. closer to bedtime to replace fluids lost during sleep.
According to the Cleveland Health Clinic, water should be limited for up to two hours before bed to avoid late-night bathroom visits.
Sleep is sacred.
It restores you, mind and body.
Proper sleep reduces stress, helps you maintain a healthy weight, and can even make you more creative.
Don't compromise your sleep with poor habits.
If you're struggling to sleep at night and can't think of any obvious reasons why, one of these sneaky daytime habits could be the reason.
So take a look at your wine, water, nap, and dessert consumption — a small tweak in one of these areas may be all you need to catch your zzzs.