10 Common Mistakes That Could Be Ruining Your Sleep

Sushmita Sengupta  |  Updated: March 18, 2017 23:54 IST

10 Common Mistakes That Could Be Ruining Your Sleep
  • Sleep is influenced by different neurotransmitters in the brain
  • Certain foods, medicines & habits can change the balance of these signals
  • Here are some common mistakes that can prevent you from getting sleep
So, you're exhausted after a long day’s work and can’t wait to hit the bed and tuck yourself in your cozy blankets. But before you do, think going through your social media notifications wouldn’t harm? Think again. Feel like grabbing a cup of coffee as you lie awake thinking about the scheduled meetings in the coming week? Think again. Wondering if you should finish the series of your long pending TV program? THINK AGAIN. These regular habits and mistakes could be ruining your sleep and eventually causing greater damage to your body. 

Sleep and wakefulness are influenced by different neurotransmitter signals in the brain. Certain foods, medicines and habits can change the balance of these signals that affects whether you feel alert or drowsy and also how well you are able to sleep. Here is a list of common mistakes which are probably preventing you from getting good sleep. 

1. Catching up with other activities while in bed

Love watching TV or reading magazines in bed? Add to it some midnight munchies and cuddling your pet, and it becomes such amazing way to relax. Only if your brain agreed with you on that. Indulging in other activities prevents your brain from recognizing your bed as a place to sleep. If you must catch up with these activities, go into some other room, and come back, thereby signaling your brain that the bed is where you need to sleep.
2.  Consuming too much coffee and tea

Yes, coffee and tea are great ways to start your morning but it is a strict no–no after dinner. Caffeine blocks the action of a natural brain chemical called adenosine that signals your brain to feel tired and induces drowsiness, thereby keeping your brain active when it should be powering down. 

(Also read:Know Your Coffee: Cappuccino, Latte and 15 Different Kinds)

3. Night caps

Many insomniacs try to solve the problem with alcohol, the so-called ‘night cap’ While alcohol does help induce light sleep, it also robs people of the deep and more restorative stages of sleep. Alcohol keeps them in the light stages of sleep, from which they can be easily awakened which explains the headache and your bleary eyed avatar the day after.

(Also read:7 Foods That May Leave You Sleep Deprived)
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4. Heavy smoking

Chain smokers or people who smoke often tend to have very light sleep and reduced amounts of Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep.They also have a tendency to wake up after every 3 or 4 hours due to nicotine withdrawal.
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5. Inconsistent sleep schedule

Your body is accustomed to a certain system which when disturbed makes it difficult to adjust to the new system. Instead of adjusting the time you sleep every night and confusing your brain, pick a time to sleep every night. This helps your brain figure out when to wind up and facilitates good sleep. 

(Also Read:Sleep Deprived? 8 Signs You Shouldn't Ignore at All​)
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6. Staring at a screen before sleeping

Have a habit using your smartphone and social media before you go off to sleep? Stop now. The brightness of the screen and your engagement on the phone, delays your brain from powering down. The bright screen blocks the production of the chemical melatonin that helps you fall asleep and overstimulates your brains when it should ready itself to calm down.
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7. Hitting the bed when you aren’t sleepy 

There could be days when no matter how hard you try, but you are unable to sleep. Laying awake in bed for hours is not going to help you fall asleep either. And if your mind is racing with anxious thoughts, it is only going to take longer. Your brain would begin to associate your bed with activities that are not linked to sleeping. And no, staring at the clock when you can't sleep will not help either. It will only make sleeping more difficult as it’ll make you more anxious about the lack of sleep. In such a situation, it is better to get out of the bed and relax yourself, until you are sleepy enough to go back to bed.

(Also read: 7 Tips to Help You Sleep Fast)
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8. Sleeping On Your Stomach

Sleeping on your stomach can put a lot of strain on your neck, back, and joints which can cause pain often making you wake up in the middle of the night.

(Also read: This is Why Sleeping On Your Left Side is Important for Your Health​)

9.  Over-eating

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Over stuffing or eating too close to your bed time can increase the risk of heartburn and indigestion, making it harder to fall asleep. Experts warn against bed time munchies as well.

(Also read: What to Eat to Sleep Better)
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Comments10.Skipping regular exercise

People who exercise regularly are 65 percent less likely to feel sleepy throughout the day as they are able to fall asleep faster and sleep for longer than those who don't exercise at all. However, it is important that you exercise at the right time, and not sweat it out extensively in the evenings.


About Sushmita SenguptaSharing a strong penchant for food, Sushmita loves all things good, cheesy and greasy. Her other favourite pastime activities other than discussing food includes, reading, watching movies and binge-watching TV shows.

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Tags:  SleepHealth