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It’s no secret that we are getting less and less sleep. In fact, a 2016 report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that one in three Americans does not get enough sleep on a regular basis. Which means, if the relationship you have with your snooze button is more intimate than the one you have with your partner, there’s a good chance your nightly routine is interfering with your sleep.
INSIDER talked to all kinds of health and wellness experts to find out what’s causing your morning fatigue, and what you can do at night to help you wake up ready to go.
You’re making your stomach angry.
If you suffer from any digestion issues, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), registered dietitian, Vanessa Rissetto told INSIDER that eating high-fat foods, spicy foods, and citrus foods before bed can be an irritant.
You’ll likely feel better in the morning if you eat more mild foods earlier in the evening.
You’re drinking too many beverages before bed.
Whether you’re guzzling a soda or sipping on a cup of hot tea, there’s no doubt that drinking liquids before bed can interrupt your sleep time. The most obvious culprit is caffeine. But Rissetto said drinking carbonated beverages like seltzer water can also irritate the bladder and keep you up at night with trips to the bathroom.
Drinking alcohol in the evening or close to when you go to bed also gets in the way of a restful night of sleep. “That’s because drinking affects your ability to enter into REM sleep, which is where you get your most restful sleep and ultimately can keep you awake,” she explained.
You’re taking medications or over-the-counter products that make you tired.
Certain products or medications taken at night can impact how much energy you have in the morning. Dr. Janette Nesheiwat told INSIDER that some medicines, such as antihistamines and pain relievers can make you feel drowsy the next day.
You’re using the bed for anything other than sleep or sex.
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We’re all guilty of using our bed for something other than sleeping or having sex. But what you may not know is that camping out in your bed to work or watch TV at night can impact how you feel the next day.
“When we use the bed for anything other than sleep or sex, we associate that activity with the bed rather than sleep,” said Martin Reed, a certified clinical sleep health practitioner (CCSH) and the founder of Insomnia Coach. For example, he told INSIDER that if we watch TV in bed or work in bed, we train our minds that the bed is a place to watch TV and get work done.
“We want the bed to be a strong trigger for sleep, and to do that, we need to reserve the bed for sleep and nothing else,” he added.
You’re not winding down before bed.
If you go to bed without decompressing from the day, you’re not alone. In fact, Reed said it’s understandable, especially after a hard day when all you want to do is go to bed. But, if your mind is still racing a mile a minute, Reed said getting into bed isn’t a good idea since an active mind will make it harder to fall asleep.
Instead, he recommended that you take some time to relax before going to bed. “Make sure you have written down everything you need to do the next day so your mind has one less thing to worry about,” he said.
Similarly, Reed said if you have any worries that you think might keep you up at night, try writing them down, too. “By the time you get into bed, you want your mind to be calm and ready to relax,” he added
You’re taking the phone to bed.
Before cell phones, no one took a phone to bed. But now, some of us can’t even dream of calling it a night without answering work emails or scrolling through your favorite social media site.
But the problem, said Reed, is that the light emitted by your phone and the incoming text and notifications (and the urge to check and respond to them) can make it hard to sleep.
“If your phone is within reach, it can also be tempting to check the time during the night – and this can increase sleep-related worry and anxiety,” he explained. Keep the phone out of the bedroom, or keep it on the other side of the room (with the sound off).
You’re not sticking to an evening routine that includes something enjoyable.
Regardless of how busy, frustrating, or exhausting your day is, taking the time to do something you enjoy before going to bed can help set the tone for the next day. Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D., told INSIDER that it can be something as simple as soaking in a nice Epsom salt bath (1 to 2 cups in a cup of hot water), which helps to calm and relax you. The bottom line is this: find one thing you can do each night that helps you relax and enjoy your time before bed.
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