How did you feel when you woke up this morning? If you awoke refreshed and ready to tackle the day a few moments before your alarm sounded, then this article if not for you. If, however, you lay in bed praying for a few extra minutes of shut-eye, then you may want to reconsider your sleep routine.
A sleep routine isn’t only what you do just before hitting the sheets. A number of things throughout the day can influence your sleep. Here are three common work habits that wreck havoc on a good night’s sleep.
We were all taught slightly different versions of the caffeine story. Don’t drink it directly before bed. Don’t drink it after dark. Don’t drink it past 4:00 PM. The reason there are so many competing recommendations is that everyone’s body responds slightly differently to caffeine. In addition, your body’s response to the drug can change over time. Just because you could drink coffee after dinner as a teen, doesn’t mean you can today. Perhaps more importantly, caffeine doesn’t only impact your ability to get to sleep. Quality of sleep, staying asleep, and the amount of time spent in REM sleep can all be impacted by caffeine.
Screen time is a growing modern phenomenon. Researchers used to recommend turning off the television an hour before bed. Today, people literally bring their phones to bed with them. They are answering texts, reading articles, and looking at funny photos of cats well into the evening. While the specific activities are somewhat disruptive for sleep (a warm bath would be more appropriate), the light emitted from your phone is very disrupted. Melatonin is the hormone that triggers a person’s transition into sleep-mode. Guess what? It is triggered by darkness. Blue light, with its shorter wavelength, is thought to have a particularly negative impact on sleep. If you can’t put the screen away, consider filtering our phone’s blue light at night. There are several apps that do just that.
The Sacred Bed
Especially in student living, where dorm rooms tend to have little more than an uncomfortable desk and a fluffy, inviting bed, people tend to bring work to bed. At first blush it doesn’t seem like a problem. Why not read about Physics wrapped in a snuggie on a comfy mattress? However, research reveals that this can disrupt your sleep patterns. Your bed, they caution, should be reserved for sleep. When you follow this advise, stretching in under the blankets will automatically send the right message to your brain. If you often work in bed, the message can become confused, or even altered.
So put off the coffee, put down the phone and stop bring work to bed with you! See if these three thing help improve your sleeping patterns and for more info about the benefits of unplugging click here.
This piece comes to us from one of our talented content contributors, Erin Wildermuth. Her bio is below and if you would like to work with us you can email us here!
Erin Wildermuth is a communications professional turned scientist. She enjoys scuba diving, problem solving, and reading science fiction.