You’ve had a jam-packed day, and finally you’ve made it to the finale—sleep! With great anticipation you climb into bed, turn out the lights, and pull the covers up around your chin. And then you wait…and wait…and wait. But for some reason, sleep eludes you. You’re certainly tired enough and it is your bedtime. So what gives?

Many times we are guilty of sabotaging our own sleep—without ever realizing that we’re setting ourselves up for a restless night. There are habitual things that we do, or don’t do, which stack the odds in favor of sleep difficulty. While there are many pre-bedtime no-no’s, I want to focus on some of the biggest trouble makers.

Drinking caffeinated beverages closer than six hours from your bedtime you can really hamper your ability to fall asleep. So if you plan on hitting the hay at 11pm, then no caffeine after 6 pm. Also along dietary lines, if you eat dinner too close to bedtime, this can disrupt your sleeping behavior. It is best if your final meal of the day takes place a good three hours before bedtime.

Exercising after dinner has the potential to really mess with your sleep cycle because it raises your body temperature along with your heart rate. Both of these are the opposite effects that your body needs to help it to settle down.

Finally, working or sitting in a brightly lit room right up until the time for bed will hinder your body’s melatonin production which is one of the hormones responsible for your sleepiness. One hour before bed, lower the lights in your environment, and shut your laptop.

Creating an environment for better sleep often takes some modifications in your habits. But the rewards far outweigh the alterations!

Hear Lisa’s interview on Faith Radio Mornings below:

Lisa Morrone

Image: Flickr