Drifting off to sleep can be difficult for many people up and down the country, so to give you the best chance of experiencing a restful night's sleep, we've compiled a list of three things to avoid doing before bed.
You're probably already aware of most of the negative effects that smoking can have on your body, but did you know that it can impact your sleep too? Many people like to smoke cigarettes to relax, but nicotine is actually a stimulant that can worsen any existing insomnia, particularly if you light up shortly before you go to bed. Symptoms of nicotine withdrawal can also cause frequent smokers to wake up much earlier than they would like to in the morning. If you're a heavy smoker and you're having difficulty getting a full night's sleep, it's a good idea to talk to your doctor and ask for advice about quitting. Not only should you avoid smoking traditional cigarettes, but chewing tobacco, cigars and e-cigarettes can also keep you up at night.
Alcohol might help you feel relaxed in the evenings, so it's not unusual for people to assume that it will help them sleep better. Alcohol might make you feel drowsy, but as your body starts to begin to metabolise the alcohol during sleep, your restorative REM sleep cycle is significantly reduced. An interrupted REM sleep cycle can make it more likely that you will wake up feeling tired and have trouble concentrating the next day. Alcohol is also a diuretic substance, so you might find yourself needing to get up and go to the bathroom during the night. It's ok to have a couple of drinks at dinnertime, but it's best to avoid consuming alcohol before you head to bed.
Several studies have indicated that using electronic devices such as smartphones, e-readers or televisions in or before bed can make it more difficult for you to drift off and have a restorative night's sleep. It's a good idea to avoid using any technology that emits light for at least an hour before you want to go to bed. The blue light emitted by televisions, tablets, smartphones and computers can limit the production of melatonin in your body, which is the hormone that makes us feel sleepy.