Bad Bed Habits

Sleep 9-9-14

What were you doing in bed last night before you fell asleep? Watching TV? Surfing the web? Worrying about work? These are nightly rituals that many of us are guilty of. They seem harmless, right? But it turns out that they may be making it harder—not easier—for you to fall asleep.


The problem is that these activities wake you up, instead of making you drowsy. And if you are in the habit of doing stimulating activities in bed, then your mind may associate your bed with being awake. To solve the problem, you have to retrain your mind to associate your bed with sleep. Here are 6 tips that may help.


Tip 1: Avoid engaging in behavior that is too stimulating while you’re in bed.

Avoid eating, working, studying, watching TV, surfing the web, or talking on the phone in bed. In general, avoid doing anything in bed that might wake you up or make you feel alert. Stick to behavior that is soothing, not stimulating.


Tip 2: Limit the time you spend awake in bed.

Aim to turn the lights out no more than 30 minutes after you get into bed. And try to avoid staying in bed more than 30 minutes after you wake up in the morning. That way, your mind is more likely to associate your bed with sleeping than with being awake.


Tip 3: Try to keep a regular sleep schedule.

Try to get up at the same time every morning and go to bed at the same time every night. If you nap, do so before 3:00 p.m. and limit your nap to no more than 45 minutes. This can help prepare your body to sleep at the same time every evening.


Tip 4: Go to bed when you are ready to sleep.

If you are sticking to a regular sleep schedule, then you should be sleepy at about the same time each night. But if you don’t feel tired, don’t go to bed at that time. Wait until you feel drowsy before heading to bed.


Tip 5: Do something relaxing if you have trouble falling asleep.

Give yourself about 30 minutes to fall asleep. If you haven’t fallen asleep in that time, get up and do something relaxing. You could take a warm bath, read, or listen to music. When you start to feel sleepy, head back to bed.


Tip 6: Work on managing your stress.

Stress can stimulate you and wake you up. Managing stress throughout the day can help you feel calm and relaxed before you go to bed in the evening.


These tips can help your mind associate your bed with sleep. And that may help you avoid tossing and turning at night.