Alaska Sleep Education Center

Common Bad Habits That Ruin Your Sleep

Posted by Lewis Robinson on Dec 27, 2021 1:22:00 AM

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Even though good sleep is an essential component of good health, there are still many adults who regularly get poor sleep. Not only do they get poor sleep on a recurring basis, but they may also be unaware of how to improve the situation. While some may think that getting good sleep is nearly impossible for them, the reality is that there are many lifestyle factors that are impacting their ability to sleep well, that they could easily make changes to. If you are looking to better understand what could be preventing you from sleeping well and how to get better sleep overall, here are some things to think about. 


Understanding Sleep

If you want to understand what will improve your sleep, then you need to make sure that you understand how sleep works in the first place. Doing research on a wide variety of things, including D Gary Young can be a good place to start. Additionally, making yourself more aware of things like sleep cycles and the different processes that your body goes through while you sleep can better enable you to make good choices for your health and your sleep quality. 


How Technology Impacts Your Sleep

After you have taken the time to do some research about the basics of sleep, it can be a good idea to look more deeply into how certain things impact your sleep overall. One thing that can have a significant effect on your sleep quality is technology, and in particular phones, tablets and TVs.

While many may think that scrolling through their phone, playing a game on a tablet or watching their favorite show on TV are all good ways to unwind before bed, the reality is that using any kind of technology within the last couple of hours before you go to bed can cause issues when you try to go to sleep later on. 

What many don't realize is that these kinds of devices emit a blue light that signals to your brain that it is time to stay awake. When this happens, your body begins to release hormones that encourage wakefulness, rather than rest. In the short term, this could mean more tossing and turning at night. However, over longer periods of time, this can cause more severe issues, like insomnia. 

To avoid having issues due to technology, it can be a good idea to avoid screen time as much as possible before bed. Even though it might not be possible to limit your time on your phone or tablet completely, cutting down on the time you spend on it can make a significant difference for your sleep quality. 


How Diet Impacts Your Sleep

Along with technology, the diet that you eat can have a big impact on your sleep quality, too. This can be true not only of the foods that you consume, but of the beverages that you drink, as well. When it comes to your diet, foods that are high in sugar and refined carbs can end up keeping you alert when you should be sleeping, and tired when it is time to be awake.

This is because these foods can cause your blood sugar to spike and crash. When your blood sugar is spiking and crashing, that means that your energy levels are likely doing the same thing. Not only can this cause you to be tired at the wrong times during the day, but it can also disrupt your sleep cycles, too. 

To avoid having sleep issues due to your diet, it can be beneficial to make sure that you are limiting foods that are high in sugar and carbs, especially before bedtime. Not only that, but it is also a good idea to make sure that you are including plenty of nutrient-rich foods into your diet, like fresh fruits and vegetables. 

While you are working on improving your diet, you also need to be aware of the beverages that you drink, too. This is especially true when it comes to caffeinated drinks, and to alcoholic ones. While caffeine can be great for getting you up and going in the mornings, it can also keep you wide awake at night, too. Additionally, while it may be possible to fall asleep after drinking alcohol, it can be difficult to stay asleep, as it disrupts sleep cycles. Learning to limit your intake of both of these drinks can go a long way towards supporting better sleep. 


How Other Lifestyle Factors Impact Your Sleep

Along with your technology use and your diet, there are other lifestyle factors that can have a direct impact on your sleep quality. One of them is your activity level. The more physically active you are during the day, the more worn out and tired you will be at night. Not only that, but healthy amounts of physical activity can boost healthy hormone production, which includes the hormones that allow you to get good sleep. 

Another lifestyle factor that affects your sleep quality is the type of environment that you are sleeping in. If you have a bedroom that is overly hot, bright, or loud, it can cause you to have poor sleep. While you may not have total control over every aspect of your sleeping environment, the reality is that if it isn't conducive to good sleep, then you may struggle to get the quality of rest you need on a regular basis. Doing things like trying room-darkening curtains and turning your thermostat down before bed can be helpful options for improving your sleeping environment. 


Tips for Getting Better Quality Sleep

Even though it may seem difficult to get good sleep, there are some simple things you can do to help improve your sleep quality in a meaningful way. In addition to watching the kinds of things that you eat, it can also be a good idea to watch the timing of your meals, as well. Learning to avoid eating too much in the hour before bed can help your digestive system calm down, and can make it easier for your body to go into a relaxed state. Along with that, starting a relaxing nighttime ritual like practicing deep breathing exercises or taking a hot bath can also be good options for getting ready for bed. 


Some Last Thoughts

Despite the fact that good sleep is so important, there are many who aren't getting the sleep that they need. Even though it may seem difficult to get good sleep at times, the reality is that there are things you can do to start taking care of yourself and getting the quality of sleep that you deserve.

f you start to notice a negative pattern that could be corrected by your own choices, make changes after a week and see how your next week goes. If there is a vast improvement to your sleep, you may be able to correct the behavior yourself and avoid having an unnecessary sleep study.

A sleep study may still be the best choice though the type of sleep study varies by a patient’s symptoms. Healthcare providers will monitor your sleep either in a lab or at your home using portable home sleep apnea testing equipment.

If you live in Alaska and are ready to take back your sleep, contact The Alaska Sleep Clinic and receive a free 10-minute phone consultation with a sleep educator who can help you determine if a sleep study is right for you.

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Topics: alaska sleep clinic, sleep habits, sleep hygiene

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