3 Sleeping Habits That Are Ruining Your Sleep (and How to Overcome Them)

3 Sleeping Habits That Are Ruining Your Sleep (and How to Overcome Them)

sleeping habitsSleep

We humans are notoriously bad at getting enough sleep. Theories abound as to why this is, but maybe the best answer is rather simple: too many of us underestimate the importance of good sleeping habits.

As we’ll discover from the research below, this turns out to be more than just a theory.

There are still countless others who would like to improve the quality of their sleep and don’t know how. These folks don’t understand why their sleep is bad. They’ve “tried everything” and are still unable to cultivate and sustain healthy sleeping habits.

But sleeping well is more than knowing what to do. It’s just as important to know what not to do. As you’ll soon find out, most of us have some rather atrocious sleeping behaviors.

Before getting into the three sleeping habits that are ruining your slumber, it is essential to discuss the basics of sleep science. If some of this info looks familiar, that’s because it’s everywhere.

We’ll also provide some insights into the latest research.

Let’s get to it then!

The Importance of Sleep (Again…)

“Sleep is the Swiss army knife of health. When sleep is deficient, there is sickness and disease. And when sleep is abundant, there is vitality and health.”  ~ Matthew Walker (source)

Okay, so for many of you, the following will sound like a broken record. But here we go again: the vital functions of getting enough rest:

– Elimination of brain toxins (Which help prevents dementia…)

– Energy conservation (Staving off exhaustion…)

– Enhances personal performance

– Modulation of the immune response (So you’re not sick all the time…)

– Normal cognition (Being able to actually think…)

– Promotes vigilance and proper response times (You actually feel alive when you’re awake…thus enabling you to respond faster than a slug.)

– Supports mental health

– Promotes physical health

Um, those sound pretty important.

Lack of sleep is also implicated in several severe medical conditions including anxiety, depression, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure (hypertension) obesity, and others.

A 2018 study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that just one night of poor sleep resulted in the buildup of beta-amyloid in the brain. Beta-amyloid accumulation in the brain is thought to be one of the primary causes of Alzheimer’s Disease.

The Research Is In: Bad Sleepers Are Everywhere

“You know lack of sleep can make you grumpy and foggy. You may not know what it can do to your sex life, memory, healthy, looks, and even ability to lose weight.” ~ Camille Peri, WebMD (source)

In an 11,006-person survey commissioned by Royal Philips, adults from 12 countries (Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, the Netherlands, Singapore, South Korea, and the U.S) were asked about their “attitudes, perceptions, and behaviors) about sleep.

The major finding? Just 50 percent of adults worldwide cite a lack of sufficient rest as having a “major impact on their overall health and wellbeing.” Put another way, half of adults don’t know/think that sleep is a vital component to personal health.

Some other rather embarrassing interesting findings from the study:

– On average, adults sleep less than 7 hours per night.

– 63 percent sleep longer on weekends to “catch up on sleep.”

– 40 percent state that their sleep has gotten worse over the last five years.

– 69 percent try to improve their sleep by watching television

– …57 percent tried a set bedtime/wake-up schedule. (Notice that this is 12 percent lower than those who think watching the tube is better for inducing sleep.)

– 80 percent want to improve the quality of their sleep…

– … 60 percent of those have never asked their doctor for advice.

– Just 14 percent have sought health from a sleep specialist

75 percent of adults list at least one medical condition that impacts their sleep. Insomnia (37% of survey respondents) is the most common, followed by:

– Snoring: 29%

– Shift work sleep disorder: 22%

– Chronic pain: 14%

– Sleep apnea: 14%

Restless leg syndrome: 9%

– Narcolepsy: 3%

– Other (unlisted): 9%

So, let’s get this straight. 80 percent of us want to rest better – and 69 percent of us think that turning the T.V. on will help.

Oh, boy. We’ve got some work to do.

Three Sleeping Habits Ruining Your Sleep

“If you suffer from consistently poor sleep, implementing standard sleep hygiene tips … likely won’t be enough.” ~ Nick Wignall, Psychologist and Sleep Specialist (source)

It isn’t possible to “hack” your way to a night of better sleep. You can try darker curtains, noise machines, less light, lower room temperature, and the like – but if you have consistently bad habits, any improvement in sleep quality is unlikely to last.

It is absolutely crucial to nip any poor pre-bedtime behaviors in the bud, which includes the following:

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