5 Things You Should Never Do Before Bed

Better Body Programme in London - The Better Body Guru


5 Things You Should Never Do Before Bed

Your bed is for sleeping, and sleeping only!

We all know that, right?

How many of us have spent what feels like hours tossing and turning, getting pretty much no sleep at all? It’s so frustrating! We’ve been rushed off our feet all day, squashed into a packed tube carriage, honoring our plans with friends and making family time! So it’s understandable when we find it hard to switch off and relax at night!


Our daily routine can dramatically impact the quality of your sleep - so what can we do to improve our routine and thus improve our sleep? What’s known as good ‘sleep hygiene’ is important to help you nod off effortlessly, and bad habits can impact your sleep just as prominently, ruining what should be a good night’s sleep!

In order to bag that excellent night’s sleep, waking up early, refreshed and ready to take on the world, here are a few things you should never do in bed.

1) Late night snacks…

It’s never a good idea to eat large meals, or heavy snacks before bed time.  Lighter options, or foods which contain naturally occurring tryptophan, are a good idea if you’re really hungry. Tryptophan, if you were wondering, is an amino acid which aids serotonin production, and serotonin is thought to encourage healthy sleep and is known to improve your mood. Tryptophan filled foods include nuts, seeds, tofu, cheese, red meat, chicken, turkey, fish, oats, beans, lentils, and eggs. However, the best night’s sleep would happen without late night snacks of any kind - your bed should be a place of relaxation and peace, used only for sleeping.

2) Continue working…

Finishing off that piece of work at home from the comfort of your own bed is very appealing to lots of us, but how much are you compromising the sanctity of your sleeping space? Continuing your work at home is perhaps inevitable, but if you must do so, take it out of the bedroom! Being in work mode when you should be in sleep mode (or at least winding down before finally going to sleep mode) means that your brain is still mega active and not at all ready to relax enough to let sleep come naturally. Also you start associating your bedroom as your workspace, and as a result the mind stays active whilst your in it. By strictly refusing any work (or food for that matter) to enter your bedroom, you train your brain to recognise that this space means it’s time to slow down and prepare mentally for a full and refreshing sleep - which may significantly help you fall asleep more easily.

3) Having an Argument with Someone

No one enjoys getting into arguments, but just before sleeping, an argument will severely affect your ability to nod off and you’ll stay up mulling over what was said, over and over again. I think we can all agree this does nothing for our sanity or our sleep!

The bedroom should be a place of sanctuary - your very own space in the world where you feel calm and relaxed. Once you do eventually fall asleep you may have already lost 1 or 2 hours of precious sleep time, which can make it hard to get through the next day - hello cranky, irritable self!

If you sense an argument brewing, try and deflate the energy by suggesting to speak at another time, perhaps when you and the person you’re in discussion with are more awake or at an earlier time of the day.

4) Have your pets around when you’re sleeping

Everyone loves a good cuddle with your dogs or cats, but they don’t always understand the concept of quiet time! It may be lovely and comforting sharing your bed with your fluffy companion, but it’s not always guaranteed you’ll get a good night’s sleep with them there. Especially if they are of a larger breed, your pets movements can disrupt you throughout the night because you’ll probably notice every time they scratch or roll over or even make a noise! Not to mention their hogging the covers when you roll over too!

5) Watch TV

You may be one of the lucky few of us who can fall asleep just about anywhere and in any position. For many of us though, myself included, need to be lying down and in as close to total darkness as possible - a very traditional sleeping arrangement.  

While it might be nice to put on a long film with the lights low and all cosy in bed, the light from your screen can actually affect your brain’s ability to wind down. This light can affect your circadian rhythms, which can trick your brain into thinking it’s time to be awake when actually it’s trying to go to sleep. Factors such as lightness and darkness can impact your circadian rhythms - when it’s dark outside, your eyes send a signal to the brain to release melatonin, which makes your body tired. This also explains why your sleepiness tends to coincide with daytime and nighttime.

The same goes for tablets and phones, which are also screens! Even with the new night mode available on most smartphones, it’s still a light. You should aim to keep your bedroom as dark as possible for the best quality of sleep.

Having poor sleep can have a massive influence on your productivity and happiness in the day. Proper sleep really is essential for a healthy lifestyle. As with your fitness, being consistent is the key, and if you can keep practicing good ‘sleep hygiene’ as much as possible you will actively feel the benefits during your day.

One of the most frustrating things is, even having followed these guidelines, still not being able to get to sleep. Ironically the more you get annoyed at yourself for not being able to drift off, the less you are able to get to sleep! As with most difficulties in life, a positive mindset can help encourage and enhance your quality of sleep, so be patient with yourself.

Bring in each of these suggestions slowly until they become habitual - relish in the joy of sleeping deeply and waking up refreshed each day. Happy sleeping everyone!

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