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These 3 common habits are ruining your sleep

Sleep, it's an incredibly important part of any wellness routine, not to mention a basic human need, and yet so many make the same mistakes and then wonder why they feel tired, or not rested after sleep, even if it's a solid eight hours!

Read on to know the 3 common mistakes you might be making, and what to do about them!

1. Working, studying or watching tv from your bed

It can be tempting, especially when it's cold outside and your bed looks so inviting and you're looking forward to that work-from-home day, to work, study or watch TV from your bed. If you're working remotely your boundaries are even more important, and separating your work from your bed, or your bedroom (if you can) is a must! The physical distance that you get from "going" to work, even if it's

at the dining table will help you to ensure that your bedroom/bed is a haven for rest and rest alone.

When you work from your bed you begin to train your brain to associate the space with work and being "switched on" so when you later go to bed for sleep your brain will think it's time to be "switched on" rather than relaxed.

It's also not great for your posture and will only add to your back pain.

If possible keep your bed/bedroom as a space for intimacy, relaxation, leisure time (like reading for pleasure) and sex.

2. Not going outside all-day

If you're someone who happens to live in a climate where the winters can be long, cold and dark, it can be tempting to stay inside all day. But when you do this, you're not only robbing yourself of physical exercise, but you're also robbing yourself of the health benefits and sleep benefits that getting outside provides. Your circadian rhythm is largely set and regulated by light exposure, so when you make sure to see some natural light throughout the day your body will keep working smoothly, whereas inside and especially in dimly lit places, this can throw your rhythm off kilter. You might think that internal lighting can provide enough light to help your circadian rhythm, but when you consider that sunlight has up to 10,000 lux and indoor lights are only around 100-200 lux, you start to see why getting outside is so important.

That being said, do ensure that in the evening you lower the lights and avoid harsh overhead lighting so your body and mind can wind down.

3. Napping... the wrong way

Naps, who doesn't love them? But did you know that you can nap the wrong way and through doing so, mess up your sleep? Much like our hunger drive, your sleep drive is a finite thing, and so when you take random naps throughout the day you're eating into the "sleep" you have available, similar in a way to when you snack throughout the day and then realise you're not hungry for dinner at the end of the day. So when it finally is time for you to go to bed, you'll have less desire to sleep.

Not all naps are bad, but the ones to avoid are

  • evening naps

  • long naps

  • inconsistent napping (i.e. some days in the morning, some in the afternoon)

To get napping right, and provide a boost to your energy without eating into your restorative nighttime sleep, try and aim for power naps at a set time, say 2 pm (you don't have to nap every day), keep the naps short, to around 20-30 minutes.

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