Riddle me this – what’s something that we’ve been doing every single day for our whole lives, and yet can still get wrong sometimes? Sleeping. That’s right, sleeping is something that we can still do wrong no matter how old we are. As adults with adult responsibilities, sleep may not rank very high on our priority list, but it should. Poor quality sleep can affect our physical and mental health in many ways. Let’s look at some of the common sleep mistakes you didn’t know you were making and how you can fix them.
Using Your Phone in Bed
Let’s face it, this is a very common sleep mistake that all of us have done before (or still do). Last bit of scrolling on Instagram, late-night gossip sessions with your girlfriends or the latest episode of your favourite show – sometimes it’s hard to resist the absolute comfort of lying in bed and using your phone. However, the blue light that it emits can have an adverse effect on your sleep. It affects your circadian rhythm, making you feel more awake, resulting in you taking longer to fall asleep and having a sleep that isn’t restful.
As far as possible, avoid the use of any electronic devices that give off blue light, such as your phone, tablet or even TVs, right before you sleep to ensure that both your body and mind are ready for sleep.
Not Having a Night-time Ritual
Well, if you are not using your phone in bed anymore, what should you do? Getting into bed and knocking out in seconds are for the lucky ones. For those not-so-lucky ones, you can design a simple night-time ritual for yourself. It could be as elaborate as setting up scented candles and meditating with a sheet mask or as simple as doing your regular skincare routine before writing in your journal.
Your night-time routine should help you wind down properly at the end of your day and prepare your body and mind for rest. Clearing your mind of the day’s stress and anxiety before you sleep greatly improves the quality of your sleep and waking experience.
Check out our tips on designing your ideal night-time ritual.
Wearing Uncomfortable Clothes to Bed
The 20-year-old school T-shirt, your boyfriend’s oversized T-shirt that has seen better days – all nightwear that we believe don’t give you the necessary comfort you need for quality sleep. Your skin and body deserve better.
Invest in good quality sleepwear that suit your skin, body and the climate that you’re sleeping in. Warm, tropical weather calls for fabrics such as modal and cotton that wick moisture and heat from your body and regulate your body temperature through the night, allowing you to sleep in maximum comfort.
Inconsistent Sleep Patterns
Bedtimes are back and more important than ever. Going to bed at different times every day disrupts your body’s natural body clock, preventing you from having healthy and restful sleep.
Plan your day’s activities well and pick a bedtime that you can stick to. This allows for ample rest and restoration. Starting your night-time routine at the same time every day helps your body recognise that it’s time for rest.
Sleeping In (too much) on Weekends
Staying up during weekdays due to school or work and making up for lost sleep on weekends by sleeping in – sound familiar? It’s a habit that many of us have, but it might not be as restorative as you think. While you might be evening things out in terms of the number of hours of sleep, your body will still be losing out on quality rest during the week, when it needs it the most. Sleeping in too much on your days off (e.g. waking up in the afternoon) can cause more harm than good as it disrupts your sleep rhythm, making starting your week again that much harder.
Sleeping and waking up at roughly the same time gives your body a pattern to get used to, allowing it to be ready for rest and wakefulness.
Guilty of some, or even all of the common sleep mistakes above? Don’t be too hard on yourself. Take deliberate and consistent actions to introduce good sleep habits into your daily routines and you should be on the right track to getting a restful and restorative night of sleep. If you fall off the wagon, just pick yourself and start again – there’s no shame in starting over.