Call 911! My sleep has been stolen!
How would you feel if something precious, irreplaceable and cherished was stolen right from under you – terrible, right? Think about when you lose a treasured night’s sleep – or when it’s stolen. You wake up grumpy, sad and have trouble getting through your day. On the flipside, when you can’t fall asleep you become frustrated and stressed.
Sleep thieves prowl around us constantly. And, sadly, we let them.
Think about your after-dinner coffee, the strong light from your phone or the overdue car payment – these things and worries are stealing your sleep. Similar to protecting your car and home with security, your sleep also needs security protection. With 8 simple fixes to your routine, you can protect your sleep for better days ahead.
1. Your snoring partner – A loud-sleeping, blanket-stealing partner will undeniably disrupt sleep, but your bedmate may also be guilty of subtler offenses. Teeth grinding, frequent bathroom trips or even excess body heat can also be shrewd sleep thieves. Help yourself and your partner with these 3 tips:
• Try side-sleeping instead to keep nasal passages open
• Maintain a healthy weight (excess weight is a known cause of snoring)
• Consult a doctor if you’re concerned about underlying medical issues
Related: Snoring is more than an annoyance
2. Your furry, cuddly friend – Is Biscuit kicking and licking your face through the night? A 2014 sleep study found that people who slept with their pets took longer to fall asleep, were more likely to wake up tired and often complained of being woken up by a dog barking or animal making noises. If you sleep with your pets, try a few nights without them and see how you feel in the morning. Related: Pets in the bed
3. Money Worries – Are you waking in the middle of the night, freaking out about bills and money stresses? Money is one of the top issues that couples argue about and sleep is lost over. No one enjoys dreaming about high insurance premiums and tuition bills – right? Try scheduling a time to work on finances such as in the morning or after dinner. Related: Reduce stress and sleep better
4. Caffeine – Drinking coffee might be a great way to round off your evening meal or perk you up in the late afternoon, but it may disrupt your sleep later when you’re set to retire for the night. Consuming caffeine 3 and even 6 hours before bed can reduce total sleep time by more than 1 hour each night. Try cutting off your caffeine intake at 3:00 pm and avoid energy drinks in the evenings. Swap out caffeine for tea after dinner. Related: How does caffeine affect our health?
5. Work – Ever feel that work never ends? If endlessly checking emails in bed has become your routine, it’s time to take back your personal life. Try checking work emails once or twice after dinner and then witching your phone to sleep mode at least an hour before going to bed. If after-hours responses have become the norm, it might be time for a heart-to-heart with your boss regarding after hours communication protocol. Related: Sleep your way to the top
6. Alcohol – We’ve all experienced how alcohol can be a trickster, making you believe you have the greatest moves on the dance floor. The same can happen with sleep. Passing out after a night of drinking tricks you into believing you’re getting a better, deeper sleep, but you often find yourself feeling as if you hardly slept at all. Going to sleep after a night of drinking disrupts normal sleep processes and can cause other side effects too. Try drinking a glass of water for every alcoholic drink throughout the evening and keeping a glass of water bedside as well. Related: Drinking and how it affects sleep
7. Junk food – If you’re a late-night snacker, you may have a higher body mass index and eat 12% more calories than daytime snackers. Instead reaching for a bedtime snack high in saturated fat like greasy potato chips and ice cream, try a hot, steamy bowl of oatmeal, nuts or milk before hitting the hay. Related: How midnight snacking disrupts sleep
8. Your smartphone – Your brain needs time to relax and adjust for sleep. The blue light blazing from our phones wrecks our sleep especially when we enter REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. We dare you to shut off your phone, use a real alarm clock or charge your phone across the phone overnight. Related: Electronics in bed
Ready to get more sleep? Check out additional ways to keep sleep tightly locked close to you: