Most of us have heard it before, that having a nightly routine and a set bedtime can help us get to sleep easier and wake up easier. However, many times life seems to get in the way of having such a regular sleep schedule. Which is why we are going to go over the 8 common distractions that keep us from sleep.
Not only will we go through these common diversions but also give you the know-how to recognize them and also help create solutions. Keep reading to make sure these 8 distractions from sleep aren’t allowed in your bedroom.
1) Watching Television Before Bed:
Many of us love to watch TV at night. Whether it is putting on a good movie after dinner, or binge watching your favorite show, television can be a major distraction from going to sleep. Because watching TV does not require us to get out of bed or move our bodies, it is often seen as a good activity to wind down before heading off to sleep.
However, TV is so stimulating to our brains that even when we are dog tired, a good show can keep us awake for hours past when we would have normally fallen asleep. With the a combination of blue light, sounds, and great storytelling it is not uncommon to think you are going to watch a 30 minute show, and then find yourself exhausted the next morning after binge watching an entire season.
If you are wanting to get to bed on time we recommend skipping TV all together. Or setting a timer that will automatically shut off your TV after a certain amount of time passes. This is a great way to help you restrict how much you are watching without relying on willpower to turn off the TV yourself.
2) Reading A Good Book:
Similar to TV watching, good storytelling in a book can be a common distraction from sleep. If you are an avid reader, then you know this all too well. You finish a chapter, and you just have to keep reading to know what happens next. This often leads to late nights engulfed in the story written before you instead of getting the sleep you need. While this can be exhilarating and very enjoyable, it can also easily throw off your sleep schedule.
If you have a book by an author you know tends to write books that you just can’t put down, then we recommend holding off on reading until you have hours to yourself before you need to be in bed. Then give yourself time to have dinner and do a different activity before bed. This way you have time to distance your mind from your book by doing other things before bed. It still requires self control though, which does take practice.
Ever wonder if reading before bed is good or bad for you? If so, check out our post: Should You Be Reading Before Bed?
3) Smartphones & Tablets:
While there is a never ending list of vices on your smartphone from social media to online shopping or game apps to work emails, smartphones and tablets are endlessly distracting. There is an entire universe of things to do and distract yourself with on these smart devices. Making them something we recommend keeping out of the bedroom altogether.
These devices can really ruin your sleep because there is an endless amount of distractions. If you get tired of scrolling Instagram, you can always check your email. Or start looking for a new outfit, perhaps Amazon is back in stock with that one travel backpack you wanted. Or maybe you just want to watch a YouTube video reviewing that mattress you have had your eye on. (We have plenty of those videos by the way.)
This truly distracting and endless array of media should be taken very seriously. We suggest either setting a timer on your phone to remind you to turn it off. Or better yet either keep it out of your room or place it in a locked box that has a timer that keeps out of mind and sight.
It is time to kick tech out of the bedroom! Check out our post: The Bedroom Technology & Electronics Purge
4) Your Social Life
Even a relaxed dinner party with friends or family could potentially delay your sleep. Whether you are having such a great time that you loose track of time, or you have a glass of wine too many. Your social life can not only get in the way of your typical nightly routine before bed. It could also push off your bedtime for several hours.
If this becomes more regular than your sleep schedule will indefinitely become more irregular. While occasional events like weddings, date nights, etc. won’t throw off your sleep schedule too much these aren’t really the concern. Putting your sporadic social life over your regular routine creates an erratic pattern that will leave you more tired.
We suggest allowing yourself to enjoy girls night out or an after work happy hour, but to be aware of when it is time to leave. Starting the night out with telling your friends when you will be leaving will allow you to be more aware of the time. As well as set a precedence that you aren’t going to be coaxed into staying out.
5) Drinking Alcohol
Often times our social lives can also increase our alcohol intake. Even a simple glass of wine before bed can lower your overall sleep quality. If you have many drinks throughout the night, then you are saying goodbye to a great night of quality rest. Often a night of fun and drinking leads to staying out much later than you would normally.
We do not check our watches and head back early from eventful evenings like these. Which not only means you are going to be getting back home late, but the excessive alcohol you have been drinking will also ruin any sleep you do manage to get. While you may feel like to pass out into a deep and restful sleep, sleep quality is greatly decreased when you have alcohol in your system. In order to get your best sleep possible, skipping or limiting the alcohol is best.
Learn more about how alcohol affects your sleep in our post: Our Guide To Why Alcohol and Sleep Don’t Mix
6) Anxiety & Worrying
Stress, anxiety, worries, and fears can all make it very difficult to get to sleep at night. While you may have specific triggers, like an important meeting, interview, date, or what have you the following day. Sometimes anxiety can hit on a regular day of the week, for no apparent reason.
When it comes getting a great night’s sleep, anxiety is slightly harder to triumph over putting down a good book. Find ways to cope when anxiety is getting to you is going to be the best way to improve your life, including getting to sleep at night.
We highly recommend getting a weighted blanket as a tool to help cope. We also suggest relaxing exercises to add to your before bed ritual. Some forms of yoga, meditation or even journaling are proven ways to help lower stress and relax you before bed.
7) Mental To-Do Lists
When life gets busy, so do our minds. It can be difficult to get to sleep when you have a mental to-do list that is miles long. When we are busy we don’t always stop to write down all of the many things we need to get done either, which leaves our brains frantically holding onto our to-do lists. This can leave your brain going over all those things repeatedly so that you do not forget.
If this happens to you, we highly recommend keeping a notepad by your bedside that you can write down all of the things on your mind out onto paper. (Paper is better than your phone, as there is less to tempt you into getting distracted.) Write out your entire to do list, if something new comes up, jot it down. This will allow you to have the information, and give your brain a break from holding onto it. Allowing you to retain the information for when you need it and giving your mind the chance to relax and drift off to sleep.
8) Your Work Life
Unfortunately, sometimes work does not simply shut off on weekdays at 5pm. Many jobs get in the way of getting the sleep you need. Whether it is because you are up late working the night shift, or getting an emergency last minute call that has you getting out of bed and back to work. Even a simple work email on your phone can accidentally have you thinking about work, or sending out emails instead of going to sleep on time.
This is a tough one as many of us cannot simply switch careers or change your job. However, it is good to take note of how your work life is affecting your sleep and health. By doing this you may be able to see where some changes can be made in order to stay healthy and get the sleep you need.
If you are working the night shift, then we highly recommend reading: The Best Sleep Schedule For Night Shift
8 Common Distractions From Sleep – Final Thoughts:
These are just a handful of rather common things that could be potentially distracting you from the sleep you need. We hope that walking through them and listing out some potential solutions helps you to get back to sleep. Most of the time, it is small things getting in the way of our much needed rest. By eliminating the distractions, it becomes much easier to fall asleep naturally, as well as increase your overall quality of sleep.
Looking to get a new mattress? Check out our mattress reviews! We make in depth honest reviews on mattresses to help you determine what mattress is the right pick for you and your family.