4 Bad Sleep Habits That Are Holding You Back

May 4, 2016

11:00 am

You can sleep when you’re dead.

This is a terrible life motto for budding entrepreneurs. A lack of proper rest at night not only lessens your brain power, but it also severely impacts your overall health. You can experience issues with your cardiovascular, endocrine and immune systems without a good night’s rest.

While many entrepreneurs are night owls and early risers, not everyone can manage the same schedule. Training yourself to wind down early like Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos will help you get a refreshing 7-8 hour sleep on a regular basis. But if you have trouble setting these parameters for yourself, kickstart your new sleeping routine by eliminating these bad sleep habits.

Gadgets in Bed

You always check your email one more time before you fall asleep. And while this seems harmless, it typically leads to web browsing that ends somewhere around 2am. Even when you grab your iPad to read a book, you’ll find yourself playing games, perusing Facebook and complete work chores. Here’s the deal – your brain likes the routine. Stay focused around bed time so you can get the rest you rightly deserve.

Another possible reason of your insomnia is the blue light emanating from your phone. This unnatural lightning reduces the amount of melatonin – the natural sleep hormone – your body produces, thus making it harder for you to fall asleep.

No Routine Before Bed

You can’t just switch from work mode to sleep mode. Without a comprehensive routine before your head hits the pillow, you’ll end up tossing and turning with work thoughts rushing through your head. Set aside one hour to completely unplug from your day. Read an interesting book, listen to classical music or do some light stretching to help your brain relax.

Taking a hot shower will also help you fall asleep faster. A study conducted in the sleep laboratory of the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience confirmed that increasing your body temperature by 0.4°C facilitates easier sleep. Your room, on the contrary, should be kept cool and well aired if you like to fall asleep faster.

Too Much Caffeine

When you need to wake up in the morning, a jolt of caffeine can go a long way in helping you make it through the day. Unfortunately, most people falsely assume they are immune to the effects right before bed.

However, the average half-life of coffee in your system is between 4-6 hours. Drinking an extra cup or two in the late afternoon may negatively impact your ability to fall asleep afterwards. Keep all those lattes and mochas reserved for the morning hours so you can fall asleep quickly and quietly.

Wasting Weekends

While the weekend is a great time for schedule-less fun, waking up at random times in the night will not do you any good. Yet, most of us prefer to burn the midnight oil and use the lack of deadlines as a time to cut loose and stay up late.

However, having an irregular sleeping schedule seriously messes with your circadian rhythms (the 24-hour cycle linked to brain activity, cell regeneration and hormone production).  The key to great sleep lies in your body’s natural ability to regulate hormones at a certain time of day. Don’t let the excitement of the weekend throw off your entire sleep schedule. You could end up regretting it on Monday morning.

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Dianna is a former ESL teacher and World Teach volunteer, currently living in France. She's slightly addicted to apps and viral media trends and helps different companies with product localization and content strategies. You can tweet her at @dilabrien

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