April 1, 2014 at 12:48 PM ET
You’ve run yourself down and desperately need a night of quality Zzzs. But when you hit the pillow, your mind is racing, you’re tossing and turning, and you wake up feeling sluggish all over again.
We may not like to admit it, but having trouble sleeping may be a result of what we do – or don’t do – during the day and before bed.
Dr. Carol Ash, the director for Sleep Medicine at Meridian Health, reveals the top five sleep mistakes and how you can fix them, so you wake up feeling rested, revitalized and ready for the day.
1. Eating too much protein before bed
Avoid eating calorie-dense food, especially protein, right before bed. Protein takes longer to digest, making your body work hard while you’re trying to sleep. “I recommend that people have dinner for breakfast,” says Dr. Ash. A larger meal in the morning will you give you the energy you need for the day and allow your body to focus on sleeping at night.
2. Taking a hot shower before bed
Your body’s core temperature should drop around bedtime to signal it’s time to sleep. If you take a hot shower right before bed, you’re silencing that signal. Don’t want to give up that steamy shower? Take it at least 1.5 to 2 hours before sleeping.
3. Bad posture during the day
Improved posture sets the stage for good sleep. Stand up straight during the day, and sleep on your back to minimize muscle aches and pains. Use a foam roller five minutes before bed. Place it between your shoulder blades and lie on it to stretch your back muscles. This will increase flexibility and reinforce a better posture.
4. Thinking exercise interferes with sleep
The National Sleep Foundation 2013 poll showed exercise any time of day will improve the quality of your sleep.
5. Tossing and turning thinking at least I am getting sleep
This only increases anxiety, making it even harder to fall asleep. Get out of bed and only return when you’re tired. This stops the brain from associating the bedroom with worry.