Alaska Sleep Education Center

Avoid These Daytime Activities for Better Sleep at Night

Posted by Beau Peters on Jan 6, 2021 12:15:00 AM

Man getting in his daily workout.

Sleep can often feel out of your control. You might find yourself lying awake in the small hours of the night or falling asleep at your desk in the middle of the afternoon — or even both. This can be frustrating, as you want to be awake during the day and then get quality rest during the time that you set aside for sleep, not the other way around.

Fortunately, by addressing your behavior during your waking hours, you can encourage better sleep at night. If you’re struggling to get quality sleep each night, here are a few “do’s” and “don’ts” to keep in mind during the daylight hours.

Things To Avoid During the Day for Better Sleep

When it comes to bad habits and sleep, we may have no idea if the two are connected. Let’s dig into some of the most common bad habits you should probably let go of if you want to get some good “Z’s.”

Caffeine Intake in the Afternoon or Later

Caffeine is a wonderful tool if you need a pick-me-up after your alarm goes off — and sure, a second cuppa might make sense later in the morning. After all, the wonder drug is amazingly effective at blocking your adenosine levels and helping you stay awake. However, if you continue to drink caffeine throughout the rest of the day, you may want to adjust your habits a little bit.

In particular, if you’re drinking caffeine in the afternoons and evenings, it’s wise to cut that part out of your daily activities. It typically takes the body roughly 4 to 6 hours to metabolize half of the caffeine you consume. So drinking caffeine in the afternoon or evening means you’ll still have a significant quantity of the stuff in your system at bedtime which is no good.

Exercise Later in the Day

Exercising is a wonderful activity. It keeps your body in a prime physical condition and can release endorphins that promote mental health as well. However, for many people, if you exercise too close to bedtime, it can also wake you up. While not universal, for some individuals, exercising within a few hours of going to sleep can have repercussions on the quality of their sleep.

Stay in Low-Light Settings

Your 24-hour daily lifecycle is heavily influenced by something commonly referred to as your body’s circadian rhythm. This functions based on the cyclical amount of light and dark exposure that you get daily. This creates a sort of internal “biological clock” that helps you stay both awake during the day and asleep at night.

Naturally, if you spend most of your days in a dim or dreary setting, it can tamper with your circadian rhythm. This can make it difficult for your body to know when it should be resting and when it should be awake.

Blue Light in the Evening

Some studies have linked poor-quality sleep to exposure to blue light before bed. Blue light created by electronic devices is particularly effective at suppressing the secretion of melatonin. This is a hormone that helps you maintain your circadian rhythm.

In other words, by watching television or spending time on your phone before bed, you can throw off your body’s internal clock. This can make it difficult for your brain to know when it’s time to stay asleep.

Focusing on the Negative

Pessimism isn’t just nasty. It can ruin your sleep. Obsessing over too much negative thinking throughout your day can impact your mind for more than just the time that you’re actively thinking about something. Subconscious and perpetual negativity can also make it difficult to calm your brain down and sleep at night.

Things to Do During the Day for Better Sleep

While there are many ways that you can negatively impact your sleep, there are a plethora of positive activities that can help to ameliorate and improve your nighttime rest, as well.

Exercise Earlier in the Day

Exercise may harm your sleep if it’s too close to your bedtime. Generally, though, the act of exercising earlier in the day is very good for your sleep. It wakes up your body during the daylight hours and tires it out in preparation for future sleep.

Additionally, if you can conduct your exercise outdoors (i.e. go for a walk outside, ride your bike, or join a pick-up sports league) it can help you tap into some scientifically-backed sleep benefits that come along with consistent time spent in Mother Nature.

Stick to a Routine

Consistency can be a lifeline in your daily life. In particular, morning schedules can help you get ready for the day and bedtime schedules can pave the way for good rest at night.

Maintaining healthy routines throughout your day can do wonders in helping you stick to a sleep cycle. This helps you naturally sync up with your circadian rhythm, too.

Find Caffeine Substitutes

It may be difficult to cut out caffeine. Fortunately, if you’re willing to try to restrict your caffeine intake to the morning and early afternoon, there are plenty of substitutes to consider in its place.

For instance, you can purchase some high-quality decaf coffee beans to provide a nice placebo effect to your normal caffeinated java. If you do so, just look for Swiss water processed beans, as the taste will be immensely superior to normal decaf coffee.

Other options include a nice cup of herbal tea or even CBD oil. These are calming tools that can help to set the stage for a relaxing night of sleep.

Unplug and Relax Before Bed

Finally, it’s important to make an effort to truly unplug from your electronics. Start by putting your phone on do not disturb mode and switching off the television at a reasonable hour.

Then, look for things to help you get into a relaxed state before bed, such as:

  • Meditating or praying.
  • Creating a “to do” list for tomorrow.
  • Going through a muscle relaxation script.
  • Reading a good book.
  • Listening to a quality ASMR artist.
  • Focusing on your gratitude.
  • Writing in a journal.
  • Taking a bath.

Whatever the specific activity, by unplugging and focusing on the present, you can create a peaceful, relaxed atmosphere that is ideal for a good night’s sleep.

Adjusting Your Daytime to Improve Your Nighttime

Sleeping isn’t an activity that can only be addressed at night. There are many things that you do during the day that can also have a significant impact on the quality of your sleep.

Some of these things are negative, such as drinking a cup of coffee after dinner or checking your phone right before you turn out the lights. Other things are powerfully positive, such as taking a bath or drinking a cup of herbal tea before you go to sleep.

Whatever the particular activity, making an effort to address what you’re doing during the daytime is always a good idea. It’s one of the best ways to ensure that you’re getting the highest quality sleep possible every time your head hits the pillow.

If you’re tossing and turning at night instead of getting a good night’s sleep, then you should consider some sleep resources. They can help you get into a sleep schedule, create a sleep-friendly environment, and even follow a day-time schedule for better night-time slumber.

If you believe you have difficulty sleeping due to physical aches and pains, have PTSD or other similar mental health conditions, it is best to personally consult a medical or psychological health professional. This article will only provide general information and should not be used for self-diagnosis and self-treatment.

Alaska Sleep Clinic is the most comprehensive sleep center in Alaska and the only one with a psychiatrist on-staff specializing in sleep, Dr.Angela Randazzo. Call ASC today @ 907-770-9104.


Topics: sleep habits, sleep hygiene

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