March 14, 2013

desperate for a good night sleep? - 6 things you should avoid before bedtime


Even if you've drunk gallons of camomile tea, shut the curtains and turned off the lights, there's still plenty of reasons why you might not be falling into the land of nod.

Here are six of the biggest sleep faux pas that keep millions of Brits awake at night...

Too many tablets

If you've got a cold or, even worse, the flu, you may be struggling to switch off because of a runny nose and chesty cough. It's natural to reach for the pills and pop a couple of tablets, but this could actually make things worse.

Pseudoephedrine, which is present in most decongestant tablets, has been known to cause insomnia, so stick to remedies specifically designed for the night time.

Cut your soak short

A long hot bath can definitely make you feel more relaxed, but climbing straight out of the water and into bed really isn't a good idea.

Naturally your body temperature dips at night making you feel more relaxed. A hot bath makes your temperature rise, but it's the actual cooling down process that relaxes you.

The steeper the drop, the deeper you'll sleep, so quickly diving under the covers won't give your body the correct cool-down. Take a bath at least an hour before bed time for the best results.

Don't use your laptop in the dark

Tapping away on your computer before bed may sound like a great way to rest, but research has shown that the 'blue-light' emitted from gadgets suppresses our melatonin levels and throws off our body clocks.

Switch your gadgets off an hour before bed or dim the screen as much as possible after 8pm.

Carb cramps

Eating big starchy meals before bedtime puts strain on your digestive system and can leave you feeling bloated. Research has shown that a full tum can stimulate brain waves that result in nightmares, so steer clear of big meals two hours before bedtime.

Avoid arguments

Even if you're bursting to get something off your chest, arguing about it before bedtime will just keep you awake. Stress and over stimulation before bed won't allow your brain to relax, so you'll stay in a state of 'sleeplessness'.

The same goes for sending angry texts or making difficult phone calls - save the stress until the morning.

Don't search for missing items

You've just got comfortable but now you've remembered that annoying missing sock that you forgot to look for earlier.

Getting up and searching for it could settle your mind, but if you can't find it it will only drive you to distraction. Unless it's urgent stay away from puzzles and conundrums until the morning.