We all know that not getting enough quality sleep can cause several physical and mental health problems. There are various ill effects of poor sleep and unstable sleeping patterns like weakening immunity and a decrease in the brain's functions. Poor sleeping patterns also lead to chronic health problems such as diabetes, hypertension, and depression among others. Adversely, lack of sleep also affects mood and memory. Dr Meghana Dikshit, an author and brain and performance expert, shared her insights with us regarding unhealthy sleeping habits that one must change to live a happier and healthier life.
Top 8 Sleeping Habits You Need To Change In Your Lifestyle
1. Eating A Heavy Meal Before Bed
Our body slows down after sunset in order to prepare itself for sleep. Since all other functions slow down, the brain receives the maximum nourishment during sleep. Brain cells regenerate and heal during this time. When we eat a heavy meal, the blood supply that is supposed to go to the brain for its repair gets channelised to our stomach for digestion. This causes our metabolism to slow down, leading to digestive distress at night. In addition to it, digestive distress can cause stomach acids to enter the oesophagus, leading to heartburn, indigestion, and hyperacidity.
2. Not Having An Unwinding Routine
Our brain and body need a transition period of relaxation between our work and sleep. Our mind needs to switch off from a problem-solving beta brain wave state to a relaxed alpha brain wave state. Not allocating dedicated time and space to unwind can cause delayed or unrestful sleep. By creating an unwinding routine you are training your brain to follow the cues for sleep.
3.Not Having A Daily Sleep Schedule
Our body has a biological clock which is also called the Circadian rhythm. Circadian rhythms are physical, mental, and behavioural changes that follow a 24-hour cycle. When there is chronic misalignment between our lifestyle and this rhythm, our body goes into stress mode. This mode can eventually lead to many illnesses including insomnia.
4. Intake Of Caffeine In The Hours After Lunch
The body starts dropping cortisol levels as the day passes and we are nearing night. As we expend energy, adenosine is released in our body to create homeostasis in our sleep-wake regulation, inducing sleep. Caffeine is the most widely used psychoactive compound and an adenosine receptor antagonist. Wakefulness is promoted by blocking adenosine A2A receptors (A2ARs) in the brain. That's why having caffeine after 2 pm can cause disturbance in a good night's sleep.
5. Sleeping With Digital Indulgence
Social media, TV, or video games are designed to keep you engaged and your brain in a state of arousal. The content on these platforms is stimulating you, invoking various emotions in you which will ultimately procrastinate your sleep time.
6. Working Out Before Bed Time
Exercising generally leaves you dehydrated and releases stress hormones in your body to repair the wear and tear. Stress hormones can increase heartbeat and disrupt sleep, causing you to be alert. Thus it is best to avoid the gym or workout sessions before bedtime.
7. Working In Bed
Our brain is a learning machine, it gets trained very quickly in getting into certain habits. When you work in bed, it can mentally anchor you to be more productive in bed. It becomes harder for your brain to shut off at night if you spend more time in bed awake. It can be mentally difficult to disconnect when you're trying to fall asleep.
8. Having An Uncomfortable Sleep Environment
Environmental conditions, such as temperature, noise, light, bed comfort, and electronic distractions, play a significant role in the ability to get proper sleep. The brain is very sensitive to inputs from the environment, and any sort of disturbance can cause hypervigilance and a state of alertness.
You can try to change these sleeping habits to have a good night's sleep.
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