Tuesday, September 6, 2011

4 Surprising Habits That Are Ruining Your Sleep

If you’re having trouble falling asleep, you’re in good company. An estimated 65% of Americans said they encounter sleep problems a few nights each week, according to a recent study by the National Sleep Foundation. Sleeping too little is linked with an increased risk for obesity and depression. But before you reach for a sleep aid from the nearest pharmacy, it’s worth reexamining your nighttime routine. Some of your favorite evening rituals could be responsible for that tossing and turning.



Facebooking into the Wee Hours

The brightness of your computer screen stimulates the brain. Plus, it's difficult for your mind to stop fretting about your digital to-do list, even once you've logged off—and that high-tech lifestyle could be making your sick. Avoid late-night surfing and shut down your computer. Give yourself time to wind down without any electronics.







Counting Sheep

When you just can't fall asleep, it's useless to stay in bed. If you've been trying to fall asleep for more than 30 minutes, the National Sleep Foundation suggests doing something mundane, like balancing a checkbook, reading or watching TV. An activity that demands marginal brainpower will lull your mind. Before you know it, you'll be crawling back into bed genuinely tired.




Bringing Books to Bed

Reading before bed is a bad habit for many. Problem is, your body has likely adapted to that routine—it won't go to sleep until you've logged a couple chapters. Retreat to a comfy couch or window nook instead for your literary fix. The bed should be off limits for anything other than sleep or sex.








Exercising Late at Night
Daytime
workouts will keep you invigorated for hours. That's why you don't want to exercise within three hours of hitting the sack. Intense physical activity raises your body temperature andpumps your energy level—both interrupt a calm transition into sleep.




See more habits that could be ruining your sleep.


More from Marie Claire

Reprinted with Permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.
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