It’s the little things that count — especially when it comes to the habits that are cutting into your sleep. Tweak them, and you can wake up more refreshed tomorrow. “All the little bit betters can add up to more satisfying sleep,” W. Chris Winter, MD, author of The Sleep Solution, told Fox News. Here are six sleep mistakes that are wrecking your rest and how to fix them:
1. You have no planned downtime.
With a go-go-go schedule all day, by the time you can settle down, you need to go to bed. “People revolt against that and will stay up and watch TV to the detriment of their sleep,” Winter said. Carve out time for yourself at least a few days a week. Think about if there’s anything you can eliminate on your to-do list or delegate to a partner.
2. You’re using LED lighting.
Of course, this is eco-friendly — so continue to use it. However, it comes with a side effect: The brightness it emits can rob you of sleep in a similar way staring at your cellphone does before bed, Winter said. Dim these or turn them off while you wind down before bed.
3. You’re anxious about it.
After one missed night of sleep, you’ll be OK, family medicine physician Grant Fowler, MD, at UTHealth in Houston, told Fox News. “We all have bad nights. If you don’t sleep well, adrenaline will power you through the next day,” he said. Why this is important: Worry about not falling asleep and what you have to accomplish the next day can be a driving force keeping you awake. Telling yourself that it’s no big deal can help you relax enough to eventually snooze.
4. You’re not sticking to a routine.
When you wake up, go to bed, eat, and exercise at different times of the day, your body doesn’t know what to expect from you, Winter said. Try to maintain a similar routine — even on the weekends. “This helps sleep and your body work better in general,” he said.
5. You’re watching sports before bed.
“It’s amazing how the outcome of the game will affect the sleep of so many sports fans — even when they have no rooting interest,” Winter said. While you’re probably not willing to cut back, simply knowing it can affect you in this way helps.
6. You’re taking certain medications.
Some blood pressure or pain meds, insulin and antidepressants come with shut-eye-robbing side effects. If you notice you’re not sleeping well after starting a new medication, talk to your doctor who may consider switching you to a different drug.